MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 21 April 2018

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Steve McAusland

Weather: Sunny, sea state 2, northwesterly breeze.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Grey Seal 3

Seabirds
Manx Shearwater
Fulmar
Gannet
Shag
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Kittiwake
Guillemot
Razorbill

Terrestrial birds
Merlin
Sparrowhawk
Common Tern
Stonechat
Tree Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Wheatear
Starling
Raven
Carrion Crow
Jackdaw
House Sparrow
Wood Pigeon
Feral Pigeon
Swallow
Linnet
Blackbird
Dunnock
House Martin
Swallow
Skylark
Goldfinch
Mallard
Pied Wagtail
Chiffchaff
Willow Warbler
Whimbrel
Oystercatcher

This was my first Wildlife Officer Trip to Lundy Island for 2018, it began in Ilfracombe, the sun was shining and there was already a large number of passengers waiting on the quayside all eager to board MS Oldenburg for their visit to Lundy.

As I boarded the ship I made my way up on to the bridge to meet Jason the ship's Captain. After a brief chat and before the ship left its berth, I began to start my tour around the upper and lower decks introducing myself to as many passengers I could.

Herring Gull Steve McAusland 01
Herring Gull (Library photo: Steve McAusland)

Leaving Ilfracombe, we soon had many views of Herring gull, Fulmar and as the ship steamed towards Lundy the species of birds increased with Gannet, Razorbill, Guillemot and the amazing Manx Shearwaters!

As the Oldenburg approached the Lundy landing bay my first Whimbrel of the year was seen with two Oystercatchers on the rocks. As I left the ship I had a brief chat with Dean Jones the Lundy Warden to ask about what has been seen recently, he told me that a Minke Whale was seen the day before, this completely changed my plans of going to see the Puffins in Jenny's Cove to scanning the sea on both the eastern side and then the western side of the island. Sadly, no sighting to report of this majestic whale.

Grey Seal Steve McAusland 06a
Grey Seal (Library photo: Steve McAusland)

As I made my way back for the return voyage, notable birds seen included Merlin, Sparrowhawk, Stonechat, Tree Pipit, Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Wheatear.

The crossing back from Lundy provided further sightings of the same sea birds, sadly we did not record any cetaceans on either crossing so I hope my next trip proves more fruitful.

Before disembarkation I thanked Jason the Captain and Derek Green (Lundy's Manager, who was onboard) and the crew for another successful day on behalf of MARINElife and I look forward to my next WLO trip.