Ilfracombe or Bideford-Lundy

Sightings Archives: June 2019

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 15 June 2019

Posted 21 June 2019

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Christine Roberts

Summary of sightings:

Common Dolphin 2

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

After collecting my ticket from the Shore office I met fellow MARINElife volunteer Hazel, who was to be conducting a  MARINElife survey from the bridge of the ship during our sailing. We boarded the ship and were welcomed by the crew. While Hazel prepared for her survey, I collected my MARINElife Hi-Vis vest and headed out to meet fellow passengers.

Guillemot Peter Howlett 21
Guilemot (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Although there were some changeable weather conditions on our outward journey, the visibility was good and we were soon enjoying views of a variety of seabirds. Initially, Herring Gull, Lesser and Great Black-backed Gull then later good sightings of Gannet and Guillemot both in flight and resting on the water. Closer to Lundy we began to see good numbers of Manx Shearwater on the wing and a couple of Puffin. As we reached Lundy, a large Grey Seal was hauled out on the rocks near the landing stage and as we waited to disembark, we spotted several moon jellyfish in the clear shallow waters by the ship.

After a brisk walk up the hill, I headed up to Jenny's Cove. A superb sight, particularly at this time of year. The cliffs were alive with constant activity of Puffins outside their burrows, nesting Fulmars and large numbers of Guillemot huddled on the ledges. On the water were good numbers of Puffin and Guillemot with some Razorbills among them.

Common Dolphin Peter Howlett 37
Common Dolphin (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Heading back to the village, there was time for a cup of tea in the Marisco Tavern and a quick beachcomb before boarding the ship for our return journey. Sunshine and light winds blessed our return sailing.  Seabird sightings were reasonably quiet with Guillemot, Puffin and Gannets seen but as we neared Ilfracombe, 2 Common Dolphin were seen close by on the port side of the ship. A super end to the trip!

We thanked the crew for their assistance and disembarked.

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 1 June 2019

Posted 03 June 2019

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Judith Tatem

Weather: Sunny, warm and dry, wind light SW, sea state slight

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise 3
Common Dolphin 3
Grey seal 2

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

Wildlife seen on Lundy
Soay sheep
Lundy pony
Highland cattle
House Martin
Meadow Pipit
House Sparrow
Pied Wagtail
Red Admiral
Common Blue
Small Heath

This was my second trip to Lundy this year and I was really looking forward to seeing how the season had moved on. Once again It was a warm and sunny morning and I joined a very happy group of people on Ilfracombe pier. By 9.30am we were boarding and I went to introduce myself to the Captain, Jason 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 outer arm of the pier, watched by a group of Herring Gulls, to walk around the decks talking about the wildlife that could be seen at sea and on Lundy.  I also explained about MARINElife and their environmental role.

The early part of the journey was quiet on the wildlife front with just the occasional groups of gulls and distant views of Fulmar and Gannet. About half way out we started to see groups of Guillemot floating on the sea and were entranced by flocks of thirty or more Manx Shearwater skimming over the waves. Nearer to Lundy two Harbour Porpoise approached the boat and dived, followed almost immediately by three Common Dolphin coming alongside and staying around to have a short ride at the stern. Just before we arrived on Lundy a Harbour Porpoise was seen in the distance towards the Hartland coast.

Lundy west coast Judith Tatem 01
Lundy west coast (Judith Tatem)

Arriving on Lundy I decided to head to see the Puffins. On the way from the landing jetty a large Grey Seal bottled in the cove. I passed several plants of the Lundy Cabbage and saw a couple of Common Blue butterflies when passing the garden of Millcombe house. Six weeks after my previous visit to Jenny's Cove there were far more Puffins visible over a wider area of the cliff. Lunch was very stretched out whilst I enjoyed the views and sounds of the sea bird colony and the Atlantic waves below.

On my way back across the island via the Old Light House Wheatears bobbed and Small Heath Butterflies flew amongst the short grasses. On the granite walls Navelwort climbed out of the joints. Down once more on the jetty I found my fellow passengers being entertained by a young Grey seal.

We departed shortly after 4.00pm.  There were far fewer bird sightings on the way back, however the glorious early evening sun highlighted the North Devon coast.  A lovely end to another Lundy trip.  Shortly before arriving in Ilfracombe I went up to the bridge to thank them for their kindness and hospitality.

Navelwort Judith Tatem
Navelwort (Judith Tatem)