Ilfracombe-Lundy WLO report 2 April 2022
Weather: Overcast with occasional light rain and sunny periods, with light northerly winds
Rick Morris MARINElife Wildlife Officer
This was the first Wildlife Officer (WLO) trip of 2022 and I was feeling hopeful of some good wildlife sightings as the weather forecast was for light winds. Reaching Ilfracombe Harbour I made my way to the shore office to drop of some of our leaflets, collect my ticket and have a brief catch-up with Jacqui and Kate.
Upon boarding I made my way to the bridge where I was welcomed inside by Jason (Captain). After equipping myself with the blue and white MARINElife Hi-Viz tabard, binoculars, and camera, I proceeded outside to engage with the passengers. It was great to be back on the boat and interacting with those onboard, with many asking about what we do and what we might see!
Leaving the harbour, I could see the sea was calm out in the channel, but the light northerly wind was cold. It was very quiet for wildlife initially with just a few gulls present. Then as we passed by Lee Bay I spotted two Harbour Porpoise then another one by Bull Point and another as we approached Morte Point. Seabird sightings remained quiet across to Lundy with just Fulmar and Herring Gull as we left the Devon coast behind. In mid-channel we started picking up small numbers of Manx Shearwater, Guillemot and Razorbill all the way to Lundy.
We arrived at the landing Jetty, and I was greeted by Rosie (warden) as I disembarked. Here I proceeded to walk to where the Land Rover stops to get a lift to the village as a knee injury makes it a little difficult for me! I decided to have slow walk up to Jenny’s Cove in the hope of seeing some of the Puffin, and I was joined by a family who I had a chat with on the boat. The Puffin didn’t disappoint, although not a large number were present, we did see some on their nesting site together with Guillemot and Razorbill.
Sightings on the island included Soay Sheep, Highland Cattle, Lundy Pony, Sika Deer, and a good variety of birds. I made my way back down to the Landing Jetty via Millcombe valley to see what bird species I could find. At the Jetty 2 Oystercatcher were keeping an eye on us together with a lone Grey Seal.
The return trip to Ilfracombe was again quiet with pairs of Guillemot frequently seen, although Manx Shearwater numbers had increased, with a couple of rafts of around 30 seen.
Back at Ilfracombe and safely berthed in the Harbour, I said my farewells and thanked Jason and his crew for their help. My thanks also extend to Jacqui and Kate in the shore office and to all involved with Lundy.
Summary of sightings:
Marine mammals: Harbour Porpoise 4 Grey Seal 1 Seabirds: Herring Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Great Black-backed Gull Fulmar Guillemot Razorbill Puffin Gannet Manx Shearwater Shag Oystercatcher
Mammals seen on Lundy: Highland Cattle Lundy Pony Sika Deer Soay Sheep
Birds seen on Lundy: