MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 31 March 2018

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Rick Morris

Summary of sightings:

Marine mammals:
Grey Seal 1

Seabirds:
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull (juv)
Kittiwake
Fulmar
Guillemot
Razorbill
Puffin
Gannet
Manx Shearwater
Sandwich Tern
Oystercatcher

Leaving home on a rather cold blustery morning I made my way to Tiverton to pick up Annalisa, a MARINElife volunteer, who was also coming on the trip. We continued onward to Ilfracombe under grey skies with rain, still feeling hopeful of some good wildlife sightings. Reaching the harbour, the rain eased off and we made our way to the shore office, where we met MARINElife's patron Maya Plass. She was joining us for the trip as we had arranged a meeting on Lundy with the warden.

After boarding and having a catch up with the crew we made our way onto the outer decks where Maya offered to don the blue and white Hi-Viz and talk to the passengers. This sailing also had a MARINElife survey team on board and we briefly met up with the survey team, Maggie and Mary.

Sandwich Tern Rick Morris 01
Sandwich Tern (Library photo: Rick Morris)

Leaving the comfort of the harbour, the sea state picked up in the bitterly cold NE winds, making it quite difficult for observations. We did see a solitary Sandwich Tern as we passed by Morte Point followed by Fulmar, Herring Gull and Gannet and, leaving the North Devon coast behind, started seeing Manx Shearwater, Guillemot and Razorbill all the way to Lundy.

We arrived at the landing jetty with not one seal in sight - presumable they were all on the west side sheltering from the wind! We made our way up to the village and headed straight for the Marisco Tavern for a welcome hot drink before our planned meeting with Dean - the Lundy warden. This was the first Wildlife Officer trip of 2018 and it was great to see the familiar faces of the islands staff.

Puffin Rick Morris 06
Puffin (Library photo: Rick Morris)

Leaving Lundy behind us for the return home, the sea state dropped slightly enabling a good view of a Puffin that was rafting on the surface around the halfway point. A Grey Seal with his fish dinner which delighted those that saw it was a bonus as we approached the mainland.

We said our farewells and thanks to Jason and his crew back in Ilfracombe and made our way to the Lynn Bay chippy for the best Haddock and chips in the land!

As ever, huge thanks to the crew of the 'Oldenburg' for their help and assistance.