MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 24 August 2019

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Nicola Simpson

Summary of sightings

Marine mammals:
Grey seal 10

Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Manx Shearwater

I arrived at Ilfracombe harbour at 9.15am, ready to check in and board the Oldenburg for our journey to Lundy. It was a beautiful bank holiday weekend and the ship was fully booked with passengers.

We boarded and set off at around 10am, the weather was glorious and very warm out on deck. Heading out into the channel I made my way around the decks greeting people, whilst keeping an eye out for any sightings.

Gannet Peter Howlett 29
Gannet (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

We saw plenty of gulls as we left the harbour and as we headed out into the channel. A little further out we spotted Gannet and Manx Shearwater. A passenger reported sightings of a couple of dolphin a good distance from the boat, she was unsure of the species due to the distance. I spoke to many passengers and families who were looking forward to their visit to Lundy and spotting wildlife once on the island. As we arrived into Lundy seabird numbers started to increase once again and we saw many gulls.

We disembarked onto Lundy with the weather still glorious and headed up into the village for a cold drink before having a walk. I had a lovely walk around the island stopping and chatting to passengers I had met on our outward journey.

Grey Seal Rick Morris 07a
Grey Seals (Library photo: Rick Morris)

As I headed back down to board the ship myself and a couple of passengers spotted a couple of Grey Seal popping their heads out of the water. Further along the walk back to the harbour a juvenile Manx Shearwater was spotted by the side of the cliff looking disorientated. A member of the Lundy team quickly and expertly gathered him up and took him down to a safe spot for the day to be looked after and released later that evening.

As we waited to re-board the boat for our return journey I chatted to several passengers and volunteers from the Cornwall Seal group. We spotted around six Grey Seal lying in the rocks in the harbour, with a couple more in the water. I pointed these out to passengers I knew were keen to see some seals. We then boarded the boat for another glorious return journey. On the return journey we spotted Kittiwake, Gannet and Fulmar.

I disembarked thanking the Captain and his crew for the wonderful day and their assistance.