MARINElife Survey Report: 'MS Oldenburg' Bideford-Lundy 17 August 2019

Judith Tatem, Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather
Westbound: Cloudy brightening into sun, wind strong, sea state5-6, with large swell
Eastbound: Sunny then clouding over, wind moderate, sea state 4-5, with moderate swell

Summary of sightings

Seabirds:
Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 3
Gannet  Morus bassanus 5
Guillemot Uria aalge 14
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 58
Black-headed Gull  Chroicocephalus ridibundus 7
Greater black-backed gull Larus marinus 5
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica 1
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 16
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 13

Estuary birds
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 2
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 12
Curlew Numenius arquata 15
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 5

It was a mild, windy day with the sun just starting to break through as we left the quay.  A mixed group of Little Egret and a Grey Heron sat on their usual tree in the Copse and a Mute Swan was on the edge of the marshes. Passing Appledore and heading out into the estuary small groups of mixed gulls flew around. Beyond the estuary bird sightings were few and consisted mainly of Guillemot with the odd Gannet and Manx Shearwater.

Manx Shearwater Mike Bailey 01a
Manx Shearwater (Library photo: Mike Bailey)

It was a beautiful day on Lundy. I walked up to the Marisco Tavern for a cup of coffee then around to the Castle for a view over the Lundy races. Shortly after noon I headed back down to the beach behind the information hut where I spent the afternoon happily rock pooling. It was interesting to note the number of very small edible crabs that were hiding under the boulders. On arriving back to the jetty, I noted that once again a Grey Seal was entertaining the waiting queue.

Puffin Peter Howlett 01a
Puffin (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

The passage back was quiet for bird sightings, although a lone Puffin did add to my list. Just before passing under the Torridge bridge a group of fifteen Curlew sat on the bank watching us go by before taking off with their plaintive calls.

My thanks go to the Captain and crew of the Oldenburg for their support and allowing MARINElife on board to continue this survey.