MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Bideford-Lundy 6 July 2019

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Judith Tatem

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

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Common Dolphin 2
Dolphin sp. 2
Grey seal 1

Seabirds
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Greater Black-backed Gull
Gannet
Guillemot
Razorbill
Shag
Kittiwake
Fulmar
Puffin
Manx Shearwater
Oystercatcher

Wildlife on the river/estuary:
Mediterranean Gull
Black-headed Gull
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Common Sandpiper
Woodpigeon
Carrion Crow
Pied wagtail
Mallard
Stock Dove
Buzzard
Curlew
Shelduck
Redshank

Wildlife on Lundy:
Greay Seal
Soay sheep
Lundy pony
Highland cattle
Sika Deer
Swallow
Skylark
Meadow Pipit
Rock Pipit
Kestrel
Goldfinch
Chaffinch
Wheatear
Starling
House Sparrow
Blackbird
Stonechat
Carrion Crow
Raven
Linnet
Willow Warbler
Pied Wagtail
Whitethroat
Oystercatcher
Woodpigeon
Meadow Brown
Red Admiral
Small Heath
Painted Lady
Common Blue
Silver Y

This was my first trip to Lundy from Bideford this year. It was a warm and sunny morning and I joined a very happy group of people on the quayside. By 8.00am we were boarding and I went to introduce myself to Captain Jason and the crew on the bridge. Donning my blue and white MARINElife hi-viz jacket I headed back out on to the deck. We were soon slipping under the Torridge bridge and passing the Copse there were Little Egret and Grey Heron sitting in the trees. Near Appledore Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls were seen.

I walked around the decks talking about the wildlife that could be seen at sea and on Lundy. Also explaining about the scientific work environmental role of MARINElife.

With the ebbing tide we were soon out of the estuary and passing the Fairway buoy. Small groups of Guillemot and the odd Gannet started to appear. About halfway across two Common Dolphins were seen in the distance. Nearing Lundy the number of Manx Shearwater, Guillemot and Razorbills increased and we were treated to our first sight of the Puffins. A lone Grey Seal watched us go by.

Lundy Judith Tatem 01
Looking south over Lundy from the Castle (Judith Tatem(

Arriving on Lundy I headed up the hill and took the path along the south west coast, stopping to look out over The Race from the Castle.

Further along young Wheatears flew along the path, and the scent the thyme bushes filled the air.

Lunching on the cliff top above Shutter Point there were a group of fourteen Grey Seals on the rocks below. Occasionally the sound of them singing floated up to the top of the cliffs. I then walked to Jenny's Cove and watched the Puffins on the cliffs below. All around the island rather faded Painted Lady butterflies fluttered around. Stopping by the Flagpole Lookout on the way back to the jetty we saw two seals to the north.

Lundy Judith Tatem 02
Thyme and Centuary sp. on Lundy (Judith Tatem)

The boat departed at 6.00pm watched from the rocks by two Oystercatchers.  On the journey back there were similar groups of seabirds including newly fledged young Guillemot at sea with their dads. There were a few very brief sightings of unidentified small cetaceans in the far distance. On two occasions some passengers briefly saw single dolphins closer to the ship but they couldn't be identified.

Approaching Bideford there were three Common Sandpipers on the river's edge. Shortly before arriving at the quay I went up to the bridge to thank Captain and crew for their kindness and hospitality.