MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy Saturday 22 April 2017

MARINElife/Lundy WLO: Annette Dutton

Weather: Sunny and dry, wind NW, sea state slight

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise 1
Common Dolphin 1

Seabirds
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Greater Black-backed Gull
Shag
Oystercatcher
Guillemot
Kittiwake
Gannet
Cormorant
Fulmar
Manx Shearwater

Wildlife seen on Lundy
Soay Sheep
Meadow Pipit
Rock Pipit
Skylark
Swallow
Wheatear
House Martin

I walked down to Ilfracombe harbour looking forward to the crossing to Lundy as the weather was set to be sunny with little wind. I boarded the Oldenburg and went up to the Bridge to get my hi-viz jacket and to say hello to Jason, the Captain, before returning to the top deck to talk to the passengers.

As we left the harbour and cruised towards Lundy I saw a couple of Gannet and a Fulmar then no further sightings until we reached the open sea when someone shouted 'dolphin' and I spotted it in time to see that it was a Harbour Porpoise.

Closer to Lundy, two Swallows flew over the Oldenburg and more seabirds such as Manx Shearwater, Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar, Kittiwake appeared and we also saw a Barrel Jellyfish.

Lundy Annette Dutton 09
Old Light and gorse (Annette Dutton)

As we landed at the island I saw several Shag on the top of Mouse Island and a couple of Oystercatchers flying about the rocks.

I decided not to go to Jenny's cove on this visit so I made my way up towards the village and took the path past Hanmers holiday cottage to sit on the nearby bench for lunch. I could see a Grey Seal below in Devil's Kitchen and also saw Swallows, House Martins and a Meadow Pipit.

Walking over to Castle Keep it was very warm and I sat down again in the sun to scan the sea for cetaceans but only saw a Grey Seal swimming along. There were many Wheatear, Swallows and Skylark flying around and I carried on along the coastal path to Shutter Point passing Seals Cave where I saw another Seal and when I arrived at Shutter Point I had another look for cetaceans but only saw a Grey Seal, a Gannet and a couple of Shag.

Walking back towards St Helen's Church the smell of the gorse was lovely and the bells started to peal as there were groups of bell-ringers on the island.

I arrived back in the village and wandered down to the landing stage to board the Oldenburg for the return journey. Shortly after leaving I began to see small groups of Manx Shearwater, Guillemot and Razorbills and a very brief glimpse of a Common Dolphin swimming towards Lundy. I also saw lots of Barrel Jellyfish as we cruised along.

common dolphin Peter Howlett 24
Common Dolphin (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

The sightings of seabirds continued until we reached the coast then I spotted a Gannet by Bull Point and two Swallows flew over as we passed Lee Bay.

We arrived back in Ilfracombe and I returned to the Bridge to say thank you and goodbye to Jason and Vernon.