MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 30 May 2015

MARINElife/Lundy Wildlife Officer: Steve McAusland

Weather:  Wind: Light westerly, good visibility.

Summary of species seen:

Cetaceans
Common Dolphin 7
Grey Seal 3

Seabirds
Manx Shearwater
Herring Gull
Kittiwake
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Fulmar
Guillemot
Razorbill
Puffin
Shag
Gannet

Terrestrial birds
Swift
Meadow Pipit
Wheatear
Starling
Raven
Carrion Crow
Jackdaw
House Sparrow
Wood Pigeon
Feral Pigeon
Swallow
Linnet
Blackbird
Dunnock
Oystercatcher
Skylark
Goldfinch
Mallard
Graylag Goose
Robin
Pied Wagtail

This month's Wildlife Officer Trip to Lundy Island began, once again, in Ilfracombe, the sun was shining and the recent high winds had dropped to a westerly breeze.

Gannet Steve McAusland 03
Gannet (Steve McAusland)

As I boarded the MS Oldenburg I made my way up to the bridge to meet Jerry the Captain and Brian the first mate. After a brief chat before the ship left its berth, I started my tour around the upper and lower decks introducing myself to as many passengers I could.

Leaving Ilfracombe we soon had many views of Herring Gull, Fulmar and as the ship passed Morte Point, three Gannet came in very close to the port side. After exactly one hour at sea we were treated to four Common Dolphin off the same side. Other birds of note were Manx Shearwater, Razorbill and Guillemot. During the voyage I met one couple who, since their last Lundy trip, now support MARINElife. Also on board was a fellow MARINElife member and surveyor with his family, we were soon locked in conversation as we exchanged our survey experiences.

As the Oldenburg approached the Lundy landing bay the first of three Grey Seal was seen. The walk up to the top of the island gave up a Spotted Flycatcher and a few Goldcrest. During lunch at Jenny's Cove I spotted ten Puffin amongst the many Razorbill and Guillemot. As I made my way back for the return voyage, birds seen included Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Wheatear.

Kittiwake Steve McAusland 01
Kittiwake (Steve McAusland)

The crossing back from Lundy provided a further two Grey Seal and three more Common Dolphin sightings. On the bird front the same birds seen earlier were again noted. Once docked back in Ilfracombe I thanked Jerry and his crew for another successful day on behalf of MARINElife and I look forward to my next WLO trip in June.