Bideford-Lundy WLO report 16 July
Summary of sightings:
Grey Seal 22
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Birds seen on the river
Wildlife seen on Lundy
Soay Sheep, Lundy Ponies, Highland Cattle, Blackbird, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Raven, Robin, House Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Stonechat, Starling, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Small White, Grayling, Meadow Brown
Weather: sunny and hot, sea state 1, wind force 1-2
I walked along Bideford Quay to the Lundy office to collect my ticket. On board the Oldenburg I was welcomed by Captain Jason and the crew, also on board were my two fellow MARINElife volunteers, Rick and Graham, who were doing the monthly survey.
The first birds that we passed were a small group of Little Egret, now back from their breeding areas, and roosting in their usual river bank tree. There was large group of Herring Gull and a few Great Black-backed Gull around the covered Shipyard and Fish Quay at Appledore.
On the crossing small numbers of Manx Shearwater, Guillemot, Razorbill and Fulmar were seen and a larger group of mixed gulls could be seen further offshore. On reaching Lundy a group of Shag were standing on Mouse Island and a couple of Oystercatcher in the landing bay.
The three of us decided to walk straight over to Jenny’s Cove. The day was already really hot so it wasn’t a surprise to see the Highland Cattle standing knee-deep in the pond. On reaching the cove, we discovered that since my visit only a week ago all of the Puffins had left their cliff burrows. Those remaining in the area were now rafting on the sea below. Whilst sitting having our lunch a Grayling butterfly sat on a nearby rock.
Afterwards we walked back through the village and on to the Castle and joined the end of a sea watch. A couple of Gannet had been seen during the watch but sadly no cetaceans.
The Oldenburg was doing a round-the-island cruise, so we headed back down to join her. It was my first round-the-island trip, so it was really interesting to see the dramatic cliffs and caves of the Atlantic-facing western side from the sea, the seabird colonies standing out where the birds had painted the cliffs white with their guano. Nearing The Battery and Jenny’s Cove we slowed down to see the rafting Puffin flying in and out from further out to sea. After rounding the northerly point of the island there were good views of bottling seals along the eastern coast.
Leaving Lundy, the Shags and Oystercatchers were still around. The crossing back was quiet, with just small numbers of the same species as seen on the outward passage. After we moored up, I collected my bags and thanked Jason and the crew before disembarking, and saying goodbye to the survey team.
MARINElife/Lundy WLO Judith Tatem