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Bideford Lundy survey report 18 June

Summary of sightings


Guillemot Uria aalge 23

Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus 1

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 5

Gannet Morus bassanus 6

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 4

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 1

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 109

Razorbill Alca torda 23

Gull sp.1


Outward journey – due to varying weather, visibility ranged from 14-20km, extensive cloud cover, windspeed between 8-20 knots, sea state ranged from 1-5.

Inbound journey – good visibility again from 10-20km, extensive cloud cover, windspeed between 10-20 knots, sea state ranged from 2-6, but calmed as we approached the mainland

Both journeys had varying amounts of precipitation, ranging from none to intermittent rain.

Our trip started in Bideford, and within about 20 minutes we had handed in our tickets and made our way onto the Oldenburg. Once on board, we were escorted to the bridge by a very helpful crew member and briefly had some introductions with the captain.

Manx Shearwater (Library photo: Rick Morris)

We could already see various seabird species before leaving, this gave us a chance to focus our binoculars and for me to go through the survey sheets before starting, as well as being shown how to find information such as ship course and speed, and latitude and longitude.

Pretty soon after leaving Bideford we could see seabirds, namely lots of Manx Shearwater and a Cormorant. Through the journey we also spotted a Fulmar, a Herring Gull, and several Gannet and Guillemot. The journey took just under two hours to get to the island.

Lundy (Daniel Hendy)

Once we arrived, we made our way off the ferry and started to walk up the road. This was my first visit to Lundy and I was immensely excited to get exploring. We had about four hours on the island and this is the perfect amount of time to get a coffee and follow one of the tracks up to the north of the island.

A highlight for me was visiting Jenny’s Cove to see some Puffin. This is a really great place to stop and take some pictures. Along with Puffin, I also saw Lundy ponies who were so friendly they seemed determined to get in my pictures!

Lundy flag (Daniel Hendy)

This trip to Lundy was a special one for many people as a memorial service was held at 2pm in St Helen’s church for Diana Keast, who was the last surviving private owner of Lundy. Her father, Martin Coles Harman, purchased Lundy in 1925 and it was Diana, with her sister Ruth and sister-in-law Kay, who sold Lundy to the National Trust in 1969. Diana had been President of the Lundy Field Society from 2015 and was 99 when she died in November 2021. The Lundy flag was flown from “The Ugly” in her honour and we could see this as we approached the island.

Grey Seal (Daniel Hendy)

The return journey took around two hours, and although there was some swell at this point, we did see a greater variety of seabirds. The standout sighting of this trip was of a Pomarine Skua, flying low between the waves, but regrettably only visible for a short time.

Unfortunately, we did not see any cetaceans during the survey but were lucky enough for a Grey Seal to put in an appearance whilst waiting for our return journey.

I would like to thank Kevin for helping me with identification of seabirds and answering all my questions. Also, a massive thank you to Captain Jason and the friendly crew of the MS Oldenburg who were very helpful.

Daniel Hendy and Kevin Waterfall, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

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