Bideford-Lundy survey report 23 October
Alan Sumnall and Nicola Simpson Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)
Weather: clear throughout the survey, although overcast and windy at times
We were welcomed on board in Bideford 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 Bideford at around 07:30 and had to wait for approx. ½ hour for enough light to undertake the survey. The visibility was good, but it was windy.
Seabird sightings began shortly after we set off with numerous Black-headed Gull and Guillemot. We also saw good numbers of Gannet and had two brief glimpses of Harbour Porpoise. We arrived at Lundy Island just before 10:00 and counted an impressive number of Black-headed Gulls and Cormorants. We were also treated to the sight of over 15 Grey Seals in Landing Bay.
We spent the day walking around Lundy Island, taking in the sights of the stunning coastline and enjoying the autumnal weather. As well as observing several more Grey Seals along the coast (including pups) we also spotted a variety of birds, including Rock Pipit, Peregrine Falcon, Starlings and Gannets plunge-diving offshore.
We returned to the MS Oldenburg for our return journey and set off just before 17.00. Initially there was quite a swell, but it calmed down after ½ hour and we saw a Common Dolphin and two more Harbour Porpoise. Seabirds were again numerous with Guillemots stealing the show. Light levels dropped as we approached the mainland, and recorded our last seabird, a Gannet, just after 18:00 before arriving at Bideford around 19.00.
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.
Summary of sightings:
Common Dolphin 1
Harbour Porpoise 5
Grey Seal 18
Herring Gull 1
Great Black-Backed Gull 9
Black-Headed Gull 185