MARINElife Survey Report: 'MS Oldenburg' Ilfracombe-Lundy 12 October 2019

Alan Sumnall and Nicola Simpson Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: wind S-SW 2-4, overcast, visibility mainly very good

Summary of sightings

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 9
Guillemot Uria aalge 23
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 1
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 7
Razorbill Alca torda 1
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 1
Swallow Hirundo rustica 2

We were welcomed on board in Ilfracombe by the friendly crew, then headed up to the bridge to meet the Captain who showed us to our survey location. We set off from Ilfracombe at around 10:00, the weather was dry, but overcast.

Seabird sightings began shortly after we set off with a scattering of Gannet, then Razorbill, Guillemot, Manx Shearwater and finally a couple of Cormorant and a Shag made an appearance as we approached Lundy Island. The MARINElife Wildlife Officer on board spotted a couple of Common Dolphin along the way which managed to avoid getting recorded on the survey. We arrived at Lundy Island around midday and were greeted with sightings of Grey seal in the harbour, including a pup making his way across the beach into the water.

Guillemot Peter Howlett 21
Guillemot (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

We spent several hours walking around the island, taking in the sights of the stunning coastline. Whilst on the island we spotted a variety of birds, including Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit and Wheatear.

We returned to the MS Oldenburg for our return journey and set off just before 16:00. The weather on the way back was overcast, but sea conditions were excellent. A variety of birds were spotted on our return, including Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Gannet and Guillemot. A couple of Swallow also flew alongside us mid-way.  We made excellent time and arrived back in to Ilfracombe at around 17:30 and disembarked the MS Oldenburg.

Once again our thanks go to the Captain and very helpful and friendly staff and crew of the MS Oldenburg who made this a very enjoyable crossing.