Ilfracombe or Bideford-Lundy

Sightings Archives: October 2018

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 20 October 2018

Posted 28 October 2018

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Annette Dutton
Weather: Sunny and Dry, Sea State slight, light breeze

Summary of sightings:
Marine Mammals
Grey seal 6
Harbour Porpoise 3
Common Dolphin 4/5

Seabirds
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Greater Black-backed Gull
Guillemot
Kittiwake
Gannet
Razorbill
Cormorant
Shag

Wildlife seen on Lundy
Lundy pony
Meadow Pipit
Goldfinch
House Martin

This was my last trip to Lundy as WLO for 2018 and the weather was glorious, so I was looking forward to a lovely sunny day on the island. As it was half term, there were several families waiting to board in addition to the usual selection of passengers. As I was waiting I spotted something in the water, it was 2 Harbour Porpoise which looked like a mother and calf feeding just outside the harbour and I hoped it was a good sign of things to come.

Once onboard, I popped up to the bridge and had a quick chat to Jason, the Captain then went back onto the upper deck to talk to the passengers. There was a bit of a swell as we left the harbour and as we passed Capstone I spotted a single Porpoise but only briefly.

There were few seabirds about then as we got closer to Lundy I noticed a splash further out to sea on the starboard side and saw a small group of 4/5 Common Dolphin and although they were quite away off, some of the passengers could make them out. I began to see a few more seabirds, mainly Gull species before we turned to approach the Landing Bay.

There were a couple of Grey Seal on the rocks plus one swimming around which delighted the children on board.

Hamners Cottage Annette Dutton

Hamners Cottage (Annette Dutton)

I left the Oldenburg and walked up to the village, taking the road to walk over towards Hanmers Cottage but I could see someone had beaten me to my favourite bench, so I carried on to the village to pick up some water from the shop and by the time I walked back, the bench was free.

I sat for some time enjoying the warm sunshine and the view, I could hear the Seals on the rocks below and I noticed a pair jostling in the water, there was another one swimming along. I could see several Gannet and other seabirds in the tidal race, but I couldn't see any cetaceans below them.

South Light & Oldenburg Annette Dutton

South Light and Oldenburg (Annette Dutton)

I wandered over to the Castle to see if I could see anything but the seabirds had gone so I sat for a while leaning against the Castle wall then made my way down to the landing bay where the passengers in the queue were watching a large male seal swimming nearby.

Grey Seal Annette Dutton 16

Grey Seal (Annette Dutton)

The return journey was disappointing as there were few seabirds and I saw no cetaceans and we arrived at Ilfracombe Harbour on the high tide. I returned to the bridge to say goodbye to Jason and to the crew as I left the ship.

It had been a lovely day and a fitting end to the 2018 season of volunteering as a Lundy Wildlife Officer and I look forward to doing it all over again in 2019.

Annette Dutton; MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 07 October 2018

Posted 16 October 2018

Annette Dutton, Wildlife Officer for MARINElife 
Weather: Sunny and Dry, Sea State slight, light breeze

Summary of sightings:
Marine Mammals
Grey seal 8
Harbour Porpoise 3

Seabirds
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Greater Black-backed Gull
Guillemot
Kittiwake
Gannet
Cormorant
Shag

Wildlife seen on Lundy
Lundy pony
Soay sheep
Highland Cattle
Wheatear
Kestrel
House Martin

Saturday's sailing had been cancelled due to bad weather, so I went over on Sunday with the staying passengers who were eager to get there plus several day trippers. It was quiet on the harbour as there were only 98 passengers going over. I took up position on the top deck after saying hello to Paul, the Captain and collecting my Hi-Viz jacket.

The sea was calm as we left the harbour to proceed along the coast, as we passed Lee Bay I noticed a Gannet feeding with a Porpoise below then a passenger came over and said she had seen a Porpoise on the starboard side. Then as we approached Bull Point I could see several Gannet and spotted another Porpoise below but it was only a fleeting glimpse.

Gannet Adrian Shephard 14

Gannet (Adrian Shephard)

Moving into the channel I noticed a juvenile Guillemot and a juvenile Kittiwake but no other seabirds except the odd Gannet. As we arrived at the Island I could see several Grey Seal hauled out on the rocks of Mouse Island and a few Shag along the top. As we got closer, I could make out a couple of pups amongst the seals too. We moored up and I got a lift to the top in the Land Rover then after a visit to the shop, I started to walk up the main track. I was followed by a group of Goldfinch as I wandered along then I turned left at half way wall to go to Jenny's Cove.

It was very quiet and peaceful as I sat and ate my lunch thinking how different it was compared to the spring and summer months when the ledges are full of nesting seabirds and busy with people. I sat alone enjoying the peace then started to walk back along the coast track towards Battery Point.

Old Battery Annette Dutton

Old Battery (Annette Dutton)

As I wandered along, I saw a Kestrel land on the top of a rock so stopped to take some photos then as I passed the Old Battery I saw 2 Kestrel flying above, possibly juveniles.

Kestrel Annette Dutton

Kestrel (Annette Dutton)

Looking down to the Battery, I could see the newly restored cannon which I plan to visit on my next trip.

I walked back to the village and down to the landing bay where there was a dead seal pup floating on the tide line, I went to inform Sian the Assistant Warden who had arrived in the Land Rover but she was already aware. The pup was probably a casualty from the bad weather the previous day.

The sail back to Ilfracombe was very quiet and I saw nothing until we passed Morte Point when I saw a Gannet flying west then another Gannet as we passed Lee Bay but no Porpoise this time. We arrived at Ilfracombe, moored up and I said thank you and goodbye to Paul, our Captain, and the crew for their support.

Annette Dutton; MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer