Ilfracombe-Lundy WLO report 14 May
Summary of sightings:
Grey Seal Seabirds:
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
I arrived at Ilfracombe harbour to collect my tickets and met up with Steven and Rachel who formed the survey team for the day. We boarded and were greeted by Jason, Rob and the rest of the crew who were confident of a nice crossing and hopeful for some cetacean encounters as there had been sightings earlier in the week.
As the Oldenburg headed out into the channel, I made my way around the decks to introduce myself. There were a lot of passengers interested in seeing the Puffins and hoping to see some dolphins.
On the outward journey we picked up Manx Shearwater flying across the surface, as well as Guillemot and Razorbill resting. Herring Gull, Fulmar and Kittiwake also made an appearance as we approached Lundy.
As the Oldenburg moored up, there were two Grey Seal hauled out on the rocks of Rat Island and the distinct “peep” of Oystercatcher could be heard. I spent the afternoon on the beach listening out for Oystercatcher and observing the seals, enjoying almost 1 hour watching a young male Grey Seal haul out to rest.
On the return journey we passed more rafts of Guillemot and Razorbill, and had a close fly-by from a Gannet. However, the highlight of the journey was a brief, but very close, encounter with a Minke Whale! Two slow rolls showed the distinctive dorsal fin and gave many of the passengers a very good sighting.
A big thank you to Jason and Rob and the rest of the Oldenburg crew for a wonderful crossing.