MARINElife Survey Report: MS Oldenburg Ilfracombe-Lundy 12 May 2018

Alan Sumnall and Nicola Simpson Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: The weather was clear throughout the survey, around 50% cloud, with sunshine at times. Slightly windy conditions created more challenging surveying conditions on the outward journey.

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 54
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 11
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 4
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 11
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 12
Razorbill Alca torda 13
Guillemot Uria aalge 63

We were welcomed on board in Ilfracombe by the friendly crew, then headed up to the bridge to meet the Captain who showed us to our survey location. We set off from Ilfracombe at around 10:00, the weather was clear, although a little windy.

Lundy Alan Sumnall 01
Approaching Lundy (Alan Sumnall)

Seabird sightings began shortly after we set off with numerous Fulmar, Razorbill and Guillemot spotted flying and on the water. As we continued on towards Lundy we also observed Herring Gull and Shag. We arrived at Lundy Island around midday and were greeted with sightings of Grey Seal in the harbour.

We spent several hours walking around Lundy Island, taking in the sights of the stunning coastline and enjoying the glorious weather. As well as observing several more Grey Seal along the coast we also spotted a variety of birds, including Puffin, Wheatear and Whimbrel. We were also lucky to be visiting when the endemic Lundy Cabbage was in flower, and got to see one of the associated endemic insects - the Lundy Cabbage Flea Beetle!

Great Skua Peter Howlett 26
Great Skua (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

We returned to the MS Oldenburg for our return journey and set off at around 16:30. The weather on the way back was once again clear, with a little wind, and sea conditions were excellent. A variety of birds were spotted on our return, including Great Black-backed Gull, Manx Shearwater, Kittiwake and Great Skua. We arrived back in to Ilfracombe at around 18:30 and disembarked the MS Oldenburg.

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