Ilfracombe-Lundy WLO report 10 September
Summary of sightings:
Grey Seal 12
Great Black-backed Gull
Wildlife seen on Lundy:
Blackbird, Raven, Robin, House Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Stonechat, Starling, Rock Pipit, Wren, Kestrel, Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Red Admiral, Painted Lady. Holly Blue. Small Copper, Pale Tussock caterpillar, Crystal Jellyfish
Weather: dry and sunny, sea state 2-3
It was a bright and increasingly sunny morning when I arrived on Ilfracombe pier. I collected my ticket and was soon boarding the Oldenburg, where I was warmly greeted by Captain Jason and other members of the crew. Having collected my hi-viz vest, I headed out onto the deck to talk to my fellow passengers. The harbour was quiet except for a group of Herring and Great Black-backed Gull on the rocks opposite.
Soon after leaving the harbour a Gannet and an Arctic Skua flew past. We continued to see lone Gannets throughout the voyage. There were also several pairs or small groups of Guillemot floating on the water. We were welcomed to Lundy by a group of Shag watching from the outer rocks. On approaching to the jetty, a dozen Grey Seal could be seen basking on the rocks, or swimming nearby. These included a young pup. A few Crystal Jellyfish floated alongside the jetty.
After disembarking and stopping briefly to see another Grey Seal pup asleep on the main beach, I walked up to the wooded area around Milcombe House. I had decided to spend some time looking for passage migrant birds. The bird ringers, having also arrived on the Oldenburg, were already hurriedly putting outposts and setting out their nets. On the ivy covering the garden wall lots of Red Admirals were feeding.
Having seen several Robin, Chaffinch and a couple of Spotted Flycatcher, it was time to wander up to the flag-post to have my lunch. As well as the great view, a pair of Raven flew past, a Kestrel hovered nearby and from below I could hear the cries of the seal pups. After lunch, walking towards the village I found a brilliantly coloured Pale Tussock caterpillar. Back in the landing bay the incoming tide now covered the rocks; only the pup higher up the beach now remained.
On the journey home we passed several large groups of Guillemot flying or sitting on the sea. A few lone Gannet flew past, and sadly we also saw three dead Gannet floating on the water. A couple of passengers reported seeing a group of birds diving with dolphins below them, but it had been too far distant to identify the species or a number.
On reaching Ilfracombe, I returned my jacket, thanked the crew for a good day, and headed home.
MARINElife/Lundy WLO Judith Tatem