MARINElife Survey Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 16 September 2017

MARINElife/Lundy WLO: Annette Dutton

Weather: Sunny/cloudy, wind NW, sea state 3-4

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise 3
Grey Seal 6 + 1 pup

Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull

Birds on Lundy:
Meadow Pipit
Rock Pipit
House Martin

The weather was a bit cooler than previous trips but it was not as windy as it had been during the week so I was hoping for a good crossing. I arrived at Ilfracombe harbour and boarded the Oldenburg, popping up to the bridge to say hello to Jason the Captain and to collect my Hi-Viz jacket.

I took up position on the upper deck and waited for the boat to depart, I didn't see much as we left the harbour then I spotted 2 Gannets as we passed Lee Bay. I saw little else as we cruised along westwards then I saw a Swallow fly over and another Gannet as we approached Lundy.

Grey Seal Annette Dutton 11
Grey Seal (Annette Dutton)

Arriving at Lundy, I saw a couple of Shag at the end of Rat Island, a Grey Seal on the rocks below and as I walked along the landing stage I spotted another Grey Seal in the Devil's Kitchen.

Rob gave me a lift up to the village in the Land Rover and on the way he stopped to point out a Grey Seal pup on the beach behind some rocks.

From the village I walked over to the North Light where there were still lots of House Martins and Swallows flitting about and I carried on to Battery Point to sit on the rocks for lunch. A Kestrel flew by and I could see a lot of Gannets feeding in the distance towards the top of the Island but there was no sign of any cetaceans.

I retraced my steps and then walked over to my favourite bench by Hanmers cottage where I saw Ravens, Meadow Pipits and more House Martins and Swallows.

Grey Seal Annette Dutton 12
Grey Seal pup (Annette Dutton)

I made my way down towards the landing stage and noticed some of the passengers looking down onto the beach and as I reached them I could see that the Grey Seal pup was still there. It was high tide so no one could get onto the beach which was a relief as people getting too close to the pup could deter the mother from feeding.

I took some photos and carried on down, stopping at Devil's Kitchen to watch 2 Grey Seals that were bobbing about and I also saw a male and female by the rocks near where the pup was on the beach.

The return crossing was very pleasant with sightings of the odd Razorbill and Gannet then as we passed Bull Point there was a larger group of Gannets feeding and I briefly saw 2 Harbour Porpoise below them. As we carried on past Lee Bay I saw a few more Gannets a glimpse of another Harbour Porpoise.

We arrived at Ilfracombe and I said goodbye and thanks to Jason and the crew before leaving the Oldenburg.