MARINElife Survey Report: MS Oldenburg Bideford-Lundy 15 April 2017

Hannah Claydon and Hazel Munt, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: Wind NW, sea state 2-4, visibility good

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 37
Gannet  Morus bassanus 2
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 5
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 1
Sanderling Calidris alba 20
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 98
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla 6
Guillemot  Uria aalge 10
Razorbill Alca torda 13
Gull sp.  4

Terrestrial Birds
Swallow Hirundo rustica 1

It was a bright and fresh start to the day, with weather forecast to be fine and dry; ideal for the crossing as well as spending the day on Lundy. Hazel and I first met at the Lundy Island booking office where we joined up with Rick Morris, who was representing MARINElife as the Wildlife Officer for the day. We were then welcomed aboard the MS Oldenburg by Captain Paul and the crew and made our way to the bridge.

This was mine and Hazel's first visit to Lundy Island and the first survey of the season, so we were both optimistic for what we might be able record out at sea.

Kittiwake Peter Howlett 09
Kittiwake (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

Having left the harbour at 08:30, the ship was soon greeted by a sea state 4 which made spotting cetaceans a little tricky, however a number of seabirds were observed, including Manx Shearwater, Herring gull, Shag and some rafting Razorbill as we entered the Landing Bay. We were also fortunate to sight a lovely Kittiwake, Gannet and Guillemot. In terms of cetaceans, none were observed during the outward crossing.

The survey across to Lundy took roughly two hours, allowing approximately six hours on the island to enjoy before returning to the jetty and boarding the MS Oldenburg for the homeward bound survey.

Conditions during the return journey were much calmer, which enabled 20 Sanderling to be sighted as well as several Manx Shearwater shearing gracefully in front of the ship. As we neared Bideford harbour, a group of 41 juvenile and 24 adult Herring gulls were sighted. Again no cetaceans were observed from the bridge, however, from the deck Rick reported a sighting of a deceased Harbour Porpoise.

Manx Shearwater Peter Howlett 02
Manx Shearwater (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

Our thanks go to the staff and crew of MS Oldenburg who were very accommodating and made the crossing an enjoyable experience.