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Bideford-Lundy WLO report 25 September

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Maggie Gamble It was an early start from Bideford and the Oldenburg was soon quite full of people intent either on staying over on Lundy for a few days or just enjoying a late summer day trip to the island. The day started overcast but with only a gentle breeze and a sea state of 2, I was very hopeful of some cetacean sightings.

The outbound crossing was very quiet, with just an occasional Gannet, a few Guillemot and a couple of Razorbill resting on the water. A distant fishing boat hauling in its nets had an attendant small flock of mainly Herring Gull.

Jenny's cove (Maggie Gamble)

Reaching Lundy, I made my way along the lower east side path listening to the deceptively plaintive sounds of the female Grey Seals with pups below. Then cutting up towards the halfway wall and crossing the island towards Jenny’s cove to admire the impressive granite stacks there which frame the view to the west.

Lundy dry stone wall (Maggie Gamble)

The boundary walls of Lundy are beautifully constructed with granite cobbles, now covered with lichen and they must provide a marvellous habitat for various invertebrates. There were no Puffins to be seen around the cove; by this time of the year all the auks have left their breeding sites and moved offshore for the winter.

There were still plenty of Swallows around, feeding up before heading south once more and a flock of Linnets moved busily around in their distinctive bouncing manner. A Kestrel passed overhead and on the ground were the occasional Fox Moth caterpillar and Red Admiral butterflies enjoyed the unexpected sunshine.

Fox moth caterpillar (Maggie Gamble)

A leisurely mug of tea and a piece of fruit cake in the Marisco Tavern is always a great end to a day on Lundy before heading back down to the jetty to board the Oldenburg for the return trip.

The journey to Bideford was very smooth with a bit of drizzle but in these calm conditions the little Harbour Porpoise was visible and spotted by various people all around the Oldenburg decks during most of the crossing - sometimes singly or in two and threes. Frustratingly I managed to miss almost all of them! In my defence their small triangular dorsal fin only just shows above the sea surface and they can be very difficult to see. There were also several more groups of Guillemot resting on the sea surface.

Re-entering the River Torridge we passed by the historic wharfs of Appledore as the light started to fade and as we neared Bideford the Little Egret roost in the trees on the river bank could still be seen.

As ever, many thanks to the Landmark Trust and the Captain and crew of the wonderful ‘Oldenburg’ for their help and assistance.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals

Harbour Porpoise 8

Grey Seal 7



Manx Shearwater

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull




Wildlife seen on Lundy

Soay sheep, Swallow, Wren, Rock Pipit. Meadow Pipit, Raven, Robin, House Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Stonechat, Linnet, Raven and Kestrel. Red Admiral butterfly and Fox Moth caterpillar.

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