MARINElife Survey Report: 'MS Oldenburg' Bideford-Lundy 13 September 2014

Nick Adams and Kevin Bainbridge Research surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: SE2-3 increasing E4 then decreasing to 2, high cloud with the occasional break and a swell of up to 1.5m

Marine Mammals:
Common Dolphin  Delphinus delphis 16

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 5
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 30
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 9
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 3
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1
Guillemot Uria aalge 10
Teal Anas crecca 1

Yellow Wagtail 1
Pied Wagtail
White Wagtail 1
Grey Wagtail 1
Whinchat 2
Wheatear 6
Meadow Pipit
Rock Pipit
Chiffchaff 1
Willow Warbler 1
Blackcap 1
Spotted Flycatcher 3
House Sparrow
Carrion Crow
Snipe 1
Lapwing 2
Peregrine 4
Mallard 3
Sand Martin
House martin
Feral pigeon
Herring Gull
Great black-backed Gull
Lesser black-backed Gull

Torridge Estuary:
Mediterranean Gull 1
Black-headed Gull
Herring Gull
Great black-backed Gull
Common Sandpiper 4
Curlew c.250
Oystercatcher c.400
Redshank c.50
Kingfisher 3
Little Egret 20

We meet the very friendly crew of the MS Oldenburg on arrival and we were soon on the ship awaiting cast off. The Captain, Jerry Waller, welcomed us onto the bridge and, even though we busied ourselves getting acquainted with the ship's equipment, we managed to see an adult Mediterranean Gull, as well as Kingfisher, Little Egret, Common Sandpiper and high tide roosts of Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatcher.

On the crossing to Lundy we had a brief sighting of a single Common Dolphin. On the seabird front most of the Manx Shearwater have now started their southward migration but we still managed to see a few as well as a couple of Common Tern mixed in with the Herring Gull, Gannet and Guillemot.

Common Dolphin Mike Bailey 01aAs we reached Lundy we bade farewell to the MS Oldenburg for six hours and headed up to the village checking for migrant birds as we went. We were rewarded with views of Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler and a very dapper juvenile Whinchat. We then headed over to the more sheltered west side of the island in the hope of seeing more migrants. Sure enough there was another Spotted Flycatcher and a number of Wheatear. As I scanned the top of a wall for birds I spotted a lot of splashes in the sea behind, it was a pod of c.70 Common Dolphin! This was an excellent spot for lunch and we watched the dolphins for about 15 minutes.

Common Dolphin (Mike Bailey)

After lunch we carried on round the island picking up other nice birds including a Snipe, a couple of Lapwing, a Sparrowhawk and a Yellow Wagtail.

The Oldenburg left promptly at 17.45 and on the way back we picked up similar birds to the outward journey, with the addition of Sandwich Tern and Teal. The star sighting was a pod of at least 15 Common Dolphin that passed right down the side of the ship, going by the screams of 'DOLPHINS!' from the passengers they saw them as well!

Many thanks to Captain Waller and his crew and the staff on Lundy for all their enthusiasm and help.

Nick Adams and Kevin Bainbridge Research surveyors for MARINElife