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