MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Bideford-Lundy 13 September 2014

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Peter Jones

Summary of sightings:

Cetaceans
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 3+
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Seabirds
Manx Shearwater
Fulmar
Gannet
Shag
Great Black-backed Gull
Sandwich Tern

Lundy Island birds
Kestrel
Peregrine
Skylark
Sand Martin
Swallow
House Martin
Meadow Pipit
Rock Pipit
Yellow Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
White Wagtail
Robin
Whinchat
Wheatear
Blackcap
Willow Warbler
Goldcrest
Spotted Flycatcher
Raven
House Sparrow
Chaffinch
Linnet
Goldfinch

River Torridge estuary birds
Curlew
Oystercatcher
Common Sandpiper
Mediterranean Gull
Kingfisher
Swallow

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 Rick Morris 01a
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.