MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy Saturday 4 October 2014

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Annette Dutton

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals:
Grey Seal 9

Seabirds:
Shag
Gannet
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Oystercatcher
Herring Gull

Terrestrial birds:
Stonechat
Wheatear
Swallow
Kestrel
Meadow Pipit
House Martin
Chaffinch
House Sparrow

I wasn't sure whether or not the Oldenburg was going to sail as stormy weather had been forecast but it had calmed down sufficiently for Jerry to make the decision to sail. I boarded the Oldenburg prepared for a rough passage, popping up to the Bridge to say hello to Jerry and collect my jacket before departing.

We rolled and lurched along the coast but it wasn't as bad as I expected although I expect many of the passengers would not  agree with me. It was challenging moving around the decks and difficult to spot anything on the sea although I did manage to see several Gannet along the way and a lone Herring Gull which followed us for a while.

Grey Seal Annette Dutton 01
Grey Seal (Annette Dutton)

I didn't see any more seabirds on the crossing then as we arrived at Lundy Island I saw the usual string of Shag along the top of Mouse Island and a couple of Grey Seals in Devils Hole plus another Grey Seal in the landing bay.

I wandered up to the village via the road then past St Helena's Church and continued along the main path towards Quarter wall. There were still Swallows and House Martins flying overhead as I walked along and groups of House Sparrows whirled over the bracken.

It was sunny and clear so I could see the North Devon coastline all the way up to Foreland Point and the Welsh coast opposite. I took the path towards the ruins of the old Cottages and Hospital and looking down below I could see a couple of Gannet feeding. I then I wandered along the lower path to the Quarry pool and the Timekeepers hut with the old Tramway and Heligoland bird trap beyond.

Quarrymans cottage Lundy Annette Dutton
Quarryman's Cottage, Lundy (Anntte Dutton)

I retraced my steps and carried along the main path until the Halfway wall then I went across to Jenny's Cove which was strangely quiet as I had not been there since the nesting sea birds had left.

I continued along the track back towards the Old Light and back to the Village where I returned to the Landing Stage to board the Oldenburg for the journey back to Ilfracombe.

The return journey was a lot calmer and the sea conditions were reported over the tannoy by Jerry as moderate.  Again, I saw very little until we approached Bull Point and where there was a group of over 20 Gannet feeding but no unfortunately I couldn't find a Harbour Porpoise.

We arrived back in Ilfracombe and I thanked Jerry and the crew of the Oldenburg for their help and assistance.

This is my last report for my first year as WLO and I look forward to another year of sightings in 2015. It has been a great experience and I've enjoyed exploring Lundy Island and meeting lots of people on my journeys.