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Bideford-Lundy WLO report 11 September

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Judith Tatem

Weather: dry and mainly sunny, sea state 2

When I walked along Bideford Quay to the Lundy office the sun was already shining and the day looked very promising. I was welcomed by the crew and collected my hi-viz vest from the bridge.

The voyage started well with views of roosting Grey Herons and Little Egrets in the river-bank trees. Passing into the estuary there were small groups of Herring and Black-headed Gulls and a couple of Sandwich Terns. Soon after crossing Bideford Bar and heading out to sea Gannets started to appear and a group of a dozen, some of which were diving, drew our attention to three Common Dolphin which briefly appeared. On reaching Lundy we could see the bottling heads of three Grey Seals and some Great Black-backed Gulls on the cliffs. The cruise liner Hebridean Princess was already moored off in the bay, her passengers enjoying a morning visit to the island.

Oldenburg alongside in Landing Bay with Hebridean Princess offshore (Judith Tatem)

I disembarked and walked up to the wooded area below Millcombe House where some bird-watchers were looking for passage migrants. It was great to have good views of a Spotted Flycatcher. I decided to walk along the east coast path past the Quarries, then on to the North West Point of the island to the Lighthouse. I could hear seals calling and see some swimming close in to the cliffs. Watching a pair of seals further out in the bay for some time I realised that they were mating. Walking on in a small wooded area there were good views of a couple Willow Warblers.

North Light (Judith Tatem)

I ate my lunch overlooking the Lighthouse then walked along the west coast back to the village. There was time for a cool drink in the Marisco, before heading down to see if there were any birds in the ringers nets below Millcombe House. I was just in time to join a group of people watching a Chiffchaff being collected. In the Landing Bay two snorkelers were watching, and were being watched, by a seal.

Grey Seal (Judith Tatem)

Leaving Lundy a group of Shags stood on the outer rocks. On the crossing there were regular sightings of Gannet flying over and small rafts of Guillemot on the sea. Not long before we approached the Fairway Buoy a Harbour Porpoise was very briefly seen. The journey into the estuary was very pleasant in the late evening setting sun. The river was very quiet with just the evocative calls of the Curlews as we passed the saltmarshes. After we moored up, I collected my bags and thanked Jason and the crew for another great day before disembarking to walk back along the quay and home.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals:

Harbour Porpoise 1

Common Dolphin 3

Grey Seal 3



Manx Shearwater

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Black-headed Gull




Birds seen on the river:

Grey Heron

Little Egret


Wildlife seen on Lundy:

Soay Sheep, Blackbird, Wheatear, Dunnock, Meadow Pipit, Raven, Robin, House Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Stonechat, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Small White butterfly, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Silver Y

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