MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy Saturday 9 May 2015

MARINElife/Lundy WLO: Annette Dutton

Weather: Sunny, wind WSW-W, sea state 3-5

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise 3
Grey Seal 2
Unidentified Dolphin species 2 - probable Bottlenose

Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Greater Black-backed Gull
Black Guillemot
Manx Shearwater

Terrestrial Birds seen at sea
Sand Martin
House Martin

Wildlife seen on Lundy:
Peregrine Falcon
Meadow Pipit
Rock Pipit
Carrion Crow
Wood Pigeon
Sand Martin
House Martin
Pied Wagtail
House Sparrow
Soay Sheep
Feral Goat
Lundy Pony
Highland Cattle
Sika Deer

The morning started off dull and windy but as I arrived at Ilfracombe harbour it was beginning to brighten up. Rick Morris MARINElife's Wildlife Officer coordinator was joining me along with several Lundy Island staff who were returning to Lundy from their holidays.

We boarded the Oldenburg and popped up to the bridge to say hello to Jerry and the others and to collect our Hi-Viz jackets. The sea was looking rough but it was sunny as we left Ilfracombe and following the tannoy announcements I started my tour of the ship, introducing myself to the passengers and telling them about MARINElife and what we hoped to see on the crossing and on the Island.

Black Guillemot Rick Morris 02
Black Guillemot (Rick Morris)

Despite the lumpy conditions I spotted a Harbour Porpoise not long after we left Ilfracombe and one of the passengers saw another shortly afterwards. Swallows and martins flew overhead as we passed Morte Point then, as we headed towards Lundy, we picked up plenty of Manx Shearwater along with various gulls, Guillemot and a lone Shag. Rick spotted 2 dolphin fins in the distance towards Hartland Point which were probably Bottlenose because of their size. A Goldfinch flying past as we neared Lundy surprising the passengers who saw it.

As we approached the Landing Stage there was the usual array of Shag along the top of Mouse Island and a Grey Seal bobbing about near the rocks.

We alighted and walked up to the village stopping to look at a Barrel Jellyfish and the gulls on the rocks when we spotted an auk on the water below which was immediately identified as a Black Guillemot, a rare visitor to Lundy.

Rick went over to the south of the island and I carried on up to the village. I walked past the Old Light to the west side, there were many Swallows and martins flying above and the sound of Skylark. The sky was clear and the wind had dropped so I sat on the rocks overlooking the Battery to have lunch. As I carried on towards Jenny's Cove I met up with Rick and we soon spotted a couple of Puffin amongst the many auks and other seabirds on the cliffs.

Soay Sheep Annette Dutton 2015-02
Soay Sheep (Annette Dutton)

Crossing the island we returned along the main track where we saw Soay sheep, Lundy Ponies and Sika deer.

The return journey was enjoyable as the swell had dropped and it was now sunny and warm. We had sightings of Razorbill, Manx Shearwater and Gannet but unfortunately we didn't see the Harbour Porpoise again.

We arrived back in Ilfracombe and returned to the bridge to collect our belongings and to say goodbye to Jerry and thank him and the crew of the MS Oldenburg for their help and assistance.