MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Bideford-Lundy 20 July 2019

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Judith Tatem

Weather
Outward: mainly overcast at first, becoming sunny, wind NW 5/6, sea state moderate
Return: sunny, warm and dry, wind NW 2/3, sea state slight.

Summary of sightings

Marine Mammals
Grey seal 2

Seabirds
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Gannet
Guillemot
Razorbill
Shag
Kittiwake
Manx Shearwater
Oystercatcher

River/Estuary
Mediterranean Gull
Black-headed Gull
Little Egret
Woodpigeon
Carrion Crow
Mallard
Stock Dove
Buzzard
Curlew
Shelduck
Redshank

Wildlife seen on Lundy
Soay sheep
Lundy pony
Highland cattle
Peregrine Falcon
Swallow
Skylark
Meadow Pipit
Rock Pipit
Goldfinch
Chaffinch
Wheatear
Starling
House Sparrow
Blackbird
Stonechat
Carrion Crow
Raven
Linnet
Oystercatcher
Woodpigeon
Meadow Brown
Red Admiral
Painted Lady

This was my second trip to Lundy from Bideford this year.  It was rather an overcast morning, however, hints of sun were beginning to show as I joined a happy group of people on the quayside.  By 8.30 we were boarding and I went to introduce myself to Captain Jason and crew on the bridge.  Donning my blue and white MARINElife hi-viz jacket I headed back out on to the deck.  Soon we were slipping under the Torridge bridge and passing the Copse I saw Little Egret sitting in the trees.  Near Appledore Herring, Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls were seen.

Manx Shearwater Rob Petley Jones 01a
Manx Shearwater (Library photo: Rob Petley-Jones)

I walked around the decks talking about the wildlife that could be seen at sea and on Lundy and also explained about MARINElife and their environmental role.  We crossed the Bar which was rather choppy and headed into the wind and out to Lundy.  Small groups of Guillemot and the odd Gannet started to appear.  Manx Shearwater, first in small groups, then after half way in groups of forty plus floated on the water or flew past.

Arriving on Lundy I headed part of the way up the hill and took the quiet path along east side, thereby enjoying the sunshine but missing the wind which was still blowing strongly.  Nearing V.C. Quarry a female Peregrine Falcon flew quickly past me.  Shortly afterwards I discovered the remains of a Manx Shearwater which had presumably been a very recent snack. I was interested to find one of the webbed feet which gave an idea of just how small the birds are.

Lundy Judith Tatem 03
Gannets' Bay, Lundy (Judith Tatem)

At various points along the track which took me along to Gannets' Bay, I could see groups of Grey Seals on the rocks or swimming around below.  A count of over sixty was reached before I left the east coast path.  I then headed to the village for a coffee, before returning to the landing jetty.

The boat departed at 5.30, watched from the bay by two Grey Seals.  The return journey was much calmer and bird sightings were once again dominated by Manx Shearwater.

Approaching Bideford there were several groups of Curlew on the marshes.  Once the Oldenburg was moored up at the quay, I went up to the bridge to thank Captain and crew for their kindness and hospitality.