MARINElife Survey Report: Lundy Ferry ‘Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 14 April 2018

Kevin Waterfall and Chris Roberts, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: Outward: sunny, good visibility with glare at times, wind southerly force 2-3. Return: sunny, but more cloud cover, good visibility with glare at times, wind south-easterly force 3.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Grey seal  Halichoerus grypus 1

Seabirds
Great Northern Diver  Gavia immer 1
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 48
Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 6
Gannet Morus bassanus 5
Shag  Phalacrocorax aristotelis 12
Common Gull Larus canus 6
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 63
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 2
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 16
Commic Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 34
Razorbill Alca torda 11
Auk sp. 2
Gull sp. 25

The drive down to Ilfracombe was shrouded in thick fog, wondering what this may mean for our survey, we were very thankful when this cleared as we neared our destination. We arrived in Ilfracombe in glorious sunshine.

After boarding the Oldenburg, we were welcomed by the Captain (Paul) and his crew, who showed us where to find the necessary information to complete our survey. We departed Ilfracombe promptly at 10am and now blessed with sunshine and calm seas, we were hopeful of spotting some interesting wildlife.

Kittiwake Peter Howlett 18
Kittiwake (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Initially on the outward leg of our survey we saw very little. However, as we got closer to the island we were treated to increasing views of Guillemot, Razorbills, Kittiwake and Fulmars and a Great Northern Diver, then a Grey Seal on rocks outside the harbour.

Time ashore was delightful with Lundy Island resonating to a mass of birdsong.  Marine surveyor Kevin walked up to Jenny's cove and saw a total 52 Puffins. There were reports of over 100 birds already on the island from previous days' records.

Manx Shearwater Mike Bailey 01a
Manx Shearwater (Library photo: Mike Bailey)

Although sailing home into the wind and slightly choppier seas, the return trip was much more productive and we recorded a much greater number of sightings. These included Manx Shearwaters, Kittiwakes and Razorbills in some numbers. The Captain also reported seeing a Barrel jellyfish.

Once again our thanks go to the staff and crew of the Oldenburg who made this a very enjoyable crossing.