MARINElife Survey Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 7 October 2017

James McCarthy; Research Surveyor for MARINElife

Summary of sightings:
Seabirds:
Guillemot Uria aalge 17
Gannet Morus bassanus 2
Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus 1
Razorbill Alca torda      4
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 5
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 2

Terrestrial Birds:
Swallow Hirundo rustica 4
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 3

The Oldenburg left a rainy Ilfracombe at 10am sharp and turned the corner into some windy conditions with a surface chop. 2 hours and just a single Gannet, Kittiwake and Storm Petrel seen as we crept into the lee of Lundy.

Storm Petrel Peter Howlett 04

Storm Petrel (Peter Howlett)

The conditions certainly impacted sightings with Captain Jason and the crew worked hard and waves touching the bridge windows - many of the passengers took shelter below decks.

The homeward trip was a record run with waves, wind and tide pushing the boat over 16 knots!  Continued surface chop made cetacean searching hard and we failed to even see a porpoise.

Birds were also tricky to spot with 2 Arctic Skua being the highlight and the dearth of life made us wonder if there was just a simple lack of fish in the area or the migration was taking place elsewhere.

Razorbill John Little 01

Razorbill (John Little)

Thanks as always to the captain and crew and the Landmark Trust and looking forward to returning again next year.

James McCarthy; Research Surveyor for MARINElife