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Bideford-Lundy WLO report 9 October

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Judith Tatem

Weather: Dry, mainly light cloud. Sea state 2, Wind force 1 – 3.


When I walked along Bideford Quay to the Lundy office the river was covered in fog with just the odd light showing from East-the-Water. I was welcomed by the crew and collected my Hi-Viz vest from the bridge.


As the voyage started the fog was just beginning to clear, so we were able to see the Little Egrets in the river-bank trees. Passing Appledore and into the estuary there were small groups of Herring and Black-headed Gulls. The visibility for most of the crossing was hazy but winds were light and the sea was calm. There were occasional sightings of flying Gannets and small groups of Guillemot sitting on the water and some passengers managed brief views of dolphin but were unable to identify them. On reaching Lundy, we could see the bottling heads of four Grey Seals and a couple of Shags and a Greater Black-backed Gull stood menacingly on the cliffs.

Grey Seal pup (Judith Tatem)

I disembarked and stopped to see two Grey Seal pups lying on the slipway by the Jetty. The sound of the seals calling followed me all the way up to the Marisco where I stopped for a coffee. Deciding to spend the day around the south part of the island I headed towards the Castle. On the way three small groups of arriving Starlings swooped past and a pair of Peregrine Falcon were flying around the South Lighthouse. Later on, lots of Swallows, on their southward migration, were flying past. In the month since my previous visit the island had taken on a definite autumnal feeling, with the browning of the bracken and appearance of large Parasol Mushrooms along the western coast. Three Wheatear flew around the path. Stopping in the wooded valley below Millcombe House, the bird-ringers were hard at work, and I was able to watch them ringing their collection of Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest. A Spotted Flycatcher flipped about in the trees nearby.

Wheatear (Judith Tatem)

Whilst waiting to board we were entertained by a young Grey Seal swimming on the right of the jetty. The haze of the morning crossing had cleared during the day giving us much clearer views. Leaving Lundy, a group of Grey Seals lay on the rocks.

Grey Seal (Judith Tatem)

On the crossing there was a Sooty Shearwater and a few sightings of Gannet flying over, along with small rafts of Guillemot on the sea and the odd Herring Gull. Later on in the journey, we had a very brief view of a Harbour Porpoise. The journey into the estuary after sunset was very pleasant with spectacular pink colours spreading across the sky. 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

Dolphin sp. 2

Grey Seal 10


Seabirds:

Gannet

Sooty Shearwater

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Black-headed Gull

Guillemot

Shag


Birds seen on the river:

Little Egret


Wildlife seen on Lundy:

Blackbird, Wheatear, Dunnock, Meadow Pipit, Raven, Peregrine Falcon, Robin, House Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Stonechat, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Blackcap, Kestrel, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Swallow, Sheep, Cattle, Horses, Red Admiral

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