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Ilfracombe-Lundy WLO report 2 October

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Maggie Gamble It was a wet drive down to Ilfracombe and the weekend forecast hadn’t been favourable, so the Oldenburg was quiet with some day trippers and others who were staying on the island for a few days. The day stayed overcast and damp, so it was definitely a day for waterproofs.

The outbound crossing was very quiet for marine life, with just an occasional Gannet, a few rafting Guillemot, and a single Manx Shearwater which gave close views to starboard. While walking around with a handful of damp MARINElife leaflets I had an interesting chat with a university researcher who is part of a long-term study on Lundy Island House Sparrows, which are geographically and therefore genetically isolated.

Fox moth caterpillar (Maggie Gamble)

Reaching Lundy, I joined Mandy, a Lundy Island Ambassador who was leading a guided walk around the south end of the Island. The walk was focused on the archaeology and history of Lundy which has been a site of human habitation since the stone age. It’s always good to learn something new, especially in a familiar location like Lundy. Lundy is a beautiful place in any weather, and we still enjoyed the marvellous views. On the ground was a single fox moth caterpillar, its long hairs spangled with raindrops.

After the walk we retired to the Marisco Tavern for some hot food before heading back down to the jetty to board the Oldenburg for the return trip. The tide was in and covering the grey seals favoured haul out sites on Rat Island. Instead, they seemed content to swim around close inshore giving excellent views as we queued to board.

Grey Seal (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

The return trip was similarly quiet, so unfortunately it was a cetacean free day trip this week with just the leaflet pictures to illustrate what we might have seen. The previous Saturday had been sunny and the Swallows on passage were very noticeably feeding around the island. However, chatting to one of the passengers returning after a stay on the island he described how large numbers of young Swallows had been grounded by the heavy rain earlier in the week. Hopefully they managed to feed up enough to successfully continue the next leg of their migration.

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

Summary of sightings

Marine Mammals

Grey Seal 6



Manx Shearwater

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull



Wildlife seen on Lundy

Swallow, Wren, Rock Pipit, Raven, Carrion Crow, Linnet, Raven and Fox Moth caterpillar.

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