MARINElife/Lundy WLO Peter Jones
Summary of sightings:
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 3+
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1
Great Black-backed Gull
River Torridge estuary
I met the MARINElife Survey team, Nick and Kevin, at Bideford quay and stood with them as we sailed down the River Torridge. The estuary made for an interesting start to the journey as we saw Common Sandpiper, Curlew, Mediterranean Gull and Kingfisher. As we neared the mouth of the estuary they went on to the bridge to start their survey and I introduced myself to the passengers.
Once out of the river had very close views of Fulmar and Gannet. Manx Shearwaters were seen but some distance from the boat and a Sandwich Tern added to the variety. Towards the end of the outward crossing I was fortunate to see a Harbour Porpoise break the surface twice, but sadly only one other passenger saw it.
Common Dolphin (Archive photo: Rick Morris)
On Lundy, I met up with Nick and Kevin and we birdwatched the island seeing a good selection of migrant birds plus a sizeable pod of Common Dolphin off the west side of the island. At the quay prior to the return crossing, a Shag and two Grey Seal showed well.
The return crossing was fairly quiet until I spotted a group of Common Dolphin approaching the ship. I frantically got people's attention, and luckily the dolphins co-operated and passed both sides of the ship before lingering off the stern for a few minutes. By this time everyone on the outer decks had enjoyed excellent views. We headed into port in high spirits after enjoying such breathtaking views.
Huge thanks to the crew of the Oldenburg for their assistance throughout the day.