MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 14 October 2017

Steve McAusland; MARINElife Wildlife Officer
Weather: Weather: Outward - partially overcast, good visibility: light south westerly breeze force 2 - 3

Summary of sightings:
Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise 1
Common Dolphin 2
Grey Seal 8

Seabirds
Arctic Skua
Great Skua (Bonxie)
Fulmar
Gannet
Shag
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Guillemot
Kittiwake

Terrestrial Birds
Pied Wagtail
Cormorant
Meadow Pipit

Wildlife seen on Lundy
Hawfinch
Great Northern Diver
Spotted Flycatcher
Swallow
Chaffinch
Goldcrest
Goldfinch
Meadow Pipit
Oystercatcher
Wood Pigeon
Dunnock
Robin
Blackbird
Starling
Magpie
Jackdaw
Carrion Crow
Raven
Linnet

This was my last trip of 2017 as MARINElife Wildlife Officer and I was very much looking forward to being out on the sea aboard MS Oldenburg for the last time this season. I was welcomed on-board by Captain Jason and got ready to enjoy the crossing with the hope of cetaceans and sea birds. Leaving Ilfracombe harbour, I spotted a Harbour Porpoise under the Landmark Theatre.

The crossing produced Gannet, Guillemot, Kittiwake and as we approached the Island many Shag were sighted as usual, plus a very special sighting of an Arctic Skua and Great Northern Diver!As we came towards the Lundy jetty, 3 Grey Seal were providing great amusement to the passengers as they appeared to being playing to their crowd!

GN Diver Steve McAusland

Great Northern Diver (Steve McAusland)

I disembarked and chatted to Dean Jones the Lundy Warden and pointed out the Great Northern Diver which was about 500 metres away. I proceeded to walk up to the wooded area around Milcombe house where I stayed for the time I was on the Island. At this time of year, you never know what might drop in and today was no different as a single Hawfinch was seen along with Water Rail heard in the walled garden area.

Grey Seals Steve McAusland

Grey Seals (Steve McAusland)

It was also good to meet Tim Jones the bird recorder for Lundy who also had a very successful visit.As I walked back to the jetty for the return sailing I chatted to a couple from my home town who were in Devon on holiday. On the return journey, a Great Skua was spotted along with the Arctic Skua seen earlier.

The last trip did produce 2 Common Dolphin which went down really well with the passengers.

Common Dolphin Steve McAusland 03

Common Dolphin (Steve McAusland)

Before leaving the ship, I thanked Jason the Captain and his crew for their hospitality this year and for supporting MARINElife.

Steve McAusland; MARINElife Wildlife Officer