MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 18 June 2016

MARINElife/Lundy WLO: Steve McAusland

Weather: Cloudy but clearing to sunny, westerly breeze, sea state 2

Summary of sightings:

Marine mammals
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
Meadow Pipit
Wheatear
Starling
Carrion Crow
Jackdaw
House Sparrow
Wood Pigeon
Feral Pigeon
Swallow
Linnet
Blackbird
Dunnock
Oystercatcher
Skylark
Goldfinch

This week's Wildlife Officer Trip to Lundy Island began in Ilfracombe, the morning started cloudy but as we made our way towards Lundy the weather brightened up and soon the sun was shining.

The crew of MS Oldenburg welcomed the many passengers on board in their customary cheery manner. This particular voyage also had the people going to the island for the four day MARINElife experience led by Rick Morris and MARINElife Patron Maya Plass.

Gannet Steve McAusland 06
Gannet (Steve McAusland)

After a brief chat on the bridge with Jason, the ship's captain, I began my tour around the upper and lower decks introducing myself to as many interested passengers as possible. As usual the conversations were positive and it's always great to hear other likeminded people's wildlife experiences.

As the ship left Ilfracombe harbour, the first birds of note were Gannet, followed by Fulmar and Manx Shearwater, all were seen within a mile of the harbour. We soon had many Kittiwake, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and a few distant Great Black-backed Gull.

As the Oldenburg approached the Lundy landing bay the first of three Grey Seal was seen bobbing effortlessly. My afternoon was spent at Jenny's Cove scanning the nesting birds, here there were good numbers of Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwake.

Puffin Steve McAusland 01
Puffin (Steve McAusland)

Just before we left Lundy Rat Island provided a further Grey Seal. The return sailing was rather quiet but six rafting Puffin were seen off the port side, much to many peoples delight.

We arrived back in Ilfracombe harbour and I thanked Jason, the captain and his crew, for another successful day on behalf of MARINElife and I look forward to my next Lundy Wildlife Officer trip in July.