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Ilfracombe-Lundy survey 13 April

We arrived promptly at the shore office in Ilfracombe opposite the MS Oldenburg’s mooring. Here we met up with Judith Tatem who was going to be todays MARINElife Wildlife Officer (WLO) for the crossing to Lundy and back.


Upon boarding, we made our way up to the room behind the bridge and made ourselves ready for the survey. We waited for the ‘Oldenburg’ to slip her moorings before gaining Captain Jason’s permission to join him on the bridge.

Harbour Porpoise (Library photo: Rick Morris)

We anticipated some good bird sightings due to the wind, and that cetacean sightings would be a little challenging. That said, we did have 2 Harbour Porpoise 50m off the port side as we rounded Capstone Point.


Seabird sightings were a little slow to start with, but numbers and different species increased as we progressed across the Bristol Channel. Auks and Manx Shearwater were most frequently seen with the odd Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake, and gulls. We also recorded some terrestrial migrants, including Swallow and a White Wagtail.


After disembarking at Lundy, we made our way up to the village, stopping in Millcombe Valley for a good look out for the reported Night Heron and Golden Oriole. We were delighted to get views of the Night Heron flying over us in the Landing Bay as we made our way up, it reappeared a few more times as it came into Millcombe woods then out to sea again. The Golden Oriole also made an appearance in Millcombe, but it was very hard to get a decent image of as it kept hiding amongst the branches.

Night Heron (Rick Morris)

After a welcome cup of coffee in the Marisco Tavern, it was time to make our way back down, but not before another quick look around Millcombe Woods.


We started the return trip under the watchful eyes of a couple of Grey Seal and once our course was set toward Ilfracombe, we began the survey. Just a few minutes into the survey, Peter sighted a Red-throated Diver, the rest of the return was much like the mornings sailing for sightings.


We concluded the survey as we turned into Ilfracombe Harbour. Jason moored the Oldenburg alongside our berth, and we said our thanks and made our way home.

Our sincere thanks to Jason and his crew for the help and support, also to all the shore office staff

Rick Morris and Peter Hopkin, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

(Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)


Weather

Outbound: visibility 5, wind NW to SW force 3-4, sea state 4

Inbound: visibility 4-5, wind SW to W force 3-4, sea state 4


Summary of sightings

Marine Mammals

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2


Seabirds

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo  1

Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 2

Gannet Morus bassanus 5

Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus   2

Guillemot Uria aalge 72

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 10

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 2

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 20

Puffin Fratercula arctica  2

Razorbill Alca torda 40

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 1

Shag Gulosus aristotelis 1

Swallow Hirundo rustica  4

White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba 1

Auk sp. 17

 

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