MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Lundy-Bideford 22 June 2019

Wildlife Officer: Jenny Ball

Weather: Return only - clear, light easterly breeze and slight sea state.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Common Dolphin  2

Seabirds
Fulmar
Gannet
Guillemot
Razorbill
Kittiwake
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Manx Shearwater

I was fortunate enough to have been staying on Lundy for a few days, so I was pleased to be able to chat to returning passengers on the trip back to Bideford.  It had been a warm and sunny, but breezy day, perfect for enjoying the walks and views on the island, and all those I spoke to had had a marvellous day out.

Common Dolphin Peter Howlett 47
Common Dolphin (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

The major excitement of the trip was a good sighting of two cetaceans, surfacing very close to the port side of the Oldenburg.  Although I didn't see them myself, a number of passengers described them quite confidently, so I'm sure they were Common Dolphin.  There were another couple of brief sightings, and we had several children on dolphin-watch for a while, but sadly no further views.  The crew reported that they had seen a large group of perhaps 40-50 dolphins earlier in the week, and apparently the Lundy warden had also seen them feeding in Jenny's Cove.

Manx Shearwater Peter Howlett 02
Manx Shearwater (Library photo Peter Howlett)

We came across a good number of Manx Shearwater, always a pleasure to watch, and I was able to get a couple of passengers to identify them with confidence.  As we neared Bideford, we passed a returning fishing vessel with a flock of mixed gulls swirling around it but as it was getting late we didn't see many other birds as we sailed up the river.

Our thanks, as ever, go to the Oldenburg's captain Jason and his friendly crew for welcoming us on board their ship.