Ilfracombe-Lundy WLO report 3 September
Leaving Ilfracombe was lovely, really quick embarking and nicely overcast but still warm in early September. The usual group of Herring Gulls were resting on the shore opposite and we could already see Lundy as despite being overcast it was extremely clear.
We were followed by a Fulmar, absolutely beautiful and really close so everyone could see its face. We got the occasional Herring Gull too to start with. Then the Gannets started to come into view and fantastically a Harbour Porpoise was spotted by a passenger on the other side of the ship. There are plenty of auks, Guillemots and Razorbills, on the water rafting in groups. Then this huge, dark, ominous thing flew right up next to us, I'm checking it repeatedly and I think it's a Bonxie and get it confirmed with other birders on board.
Halfway through we had about 5 Common Dolphins swimming with intent one was a mother with her calf from this year. They put on a nice show and following their path they were traveling to a feeding area that was covered with Gannet, Manx Shearwater, auks and gulls.
We got a few show-offs giving us a nice display, at the three-quarter point I saw another Harbour Porpoise swimming in front of the boat.
As we neared the island, we could see the tide was really high, I told the passengers what a special intertidal habitat Lundy has due to tidal range. Then we saw the first seals, feeding in the nooks and crannies right next to the cliffs. Then the usual one in the cover just off the beach. I met the new wardens and introduced myself and met the Lundy ambassador too.
Lundy had some strong easterlies, so I stayed around the south end today. Looking at the plant life, some Thrift and Heather was still on show. I was loving the number of parasol mushrooms. Saw some Wheatears and few other species I still have to sit and identify. I went to the church to see the Swallows nests and the one inside the door had two lovely chicks. I had a look at the lovely marine festival displays whilst I was there.
On the trip back the seals were all hauled out, I counted 32 hauled out on the whole coastline as we sailed past the eastern side. The conditions were slightly more challenging until we got close to the mainland, when we had some nice views of Manx Shearwater, Fulmar, Gannets, auks, and gulls and another couple of Harbour Porpoise.
A huge thank you to Jason, Caroline, Mark and the crew and all the teams at the shore office and on the island.