MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy Saturday 20 April 2019

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Judith Tatem

Weather: Sunny, warm and dry, wind very light SSE, sea state calm.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Grey seal 2

Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Manx Shearwater

Other wildlife
Barrel Jellyfish

Wildlife seen on Lundy
Soay sheep
Lundy pony
Highland cattle
House Martin
Meadow Pipit
House Sparrow

This was my first trip to Lundy this year and I was really looking forward to my first season of volunteering as a Wildlife Officer and regularly visiting the island.

It was a beautifully warm and sunny morning and I joined a very happy group of people on Ilfracombe quay.  By 9.30am we were boarding and I went to introduce myself to the captain and crew on the bridge.  Donning my blue and white MARINElife hi-viz jacket I headed back out on to the deck as we were departing the harbourside watched by a group of Herring Gulls and a pair of Cormorant.

All of the tickets had been sold so the Oldenburg was at full capacity.  I walked around the decks talking about the wildlife that could be seen at sea and on Lundy.  Also explaining about MARINElife and their environmental role.

The early part of the journey was quiet on the wildlife front with just the occasional gull and Fulmar. However, as we approached Lundy small rafts of Guillemot floated past regularly past, there were also more distant views of Razorbills, Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater and various gulls.  About the same time, we found that the boat was sailing through a bloom of spectacular large Barrel Jellyfish.  A first for myself and many of the passengers.  After docking alongside we were able to get good views of a Barrel Jellyfish floating near the jetty.

Barrel Jellyfish Judith Tatem 01
Barrel Jellyfish by landing jetty on Lundy Judith Tatem

I decided to walk to Jenny's cove in search of the Puffins, so headed straight up the hill, stopping only to investigate a tree with a couple of Chiffchaff.  I took the path along the southwest coast and  Immediately the serenade of the Skylarks filled the air and I found a few clumps of Thrift bursting into flower. Along the cliff top on the boulders Wheatear were standing a and flashing their white rumps has they flew ahead.

Lundy Thrift Judith Tatem 01
Thrift on Lundy Judith Tatem

Lunchtime found me along with several others watching a small group of Puffins near a larger group of Guillemot on the cliffs below.  A few Kittiwake were also nesting on nearby rocks. Certainly, a picnic spot to remember.

I walked across the island and picked up the track into the Village and down towards the jetty.  Two seals could be seen bottling in the landing bay.

Just after departure there was a particularly good view of a Shag with it's crest held high.  The sea had a slight swell and slowly people were forced to get their jumpers out of their bags, however rarely can there have been such a warm trip on an Easter weekend.  I saw the same sea birds that I had seen on the way over.

We sailed along the North Devon coast until we arrived at Ilfracombe Harbour and I went up to the bridge to thank the crew for their kindness and hospitality.