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Ilfracombe-Lundy WLO report 31st July

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Rick Morris

Weather - overcast with occasional showers, wind force 3, sea state 3

This was a bit of a milestone for MARINElife - the first wildlife officer trip since the start of the pandemic (unfortunately it'll be a while longer yet before surveys get going again). Arriving in Ilfracombe Harbour, I was warmly greeted by Kate from the shore office who kindly let me leave some leaflets before giving me my ticket. It's now 20 months since the last WLO trip on the Oldenburg and it was very noticeable how many of the crew were new but great to see some familiar friendly faces too, a case echoed on the island.

Oldenburg alongside in Landing Bay (Rick Morris)

Once onboard Jason - the captain - welcomed me onto the bridge for a catch up and update on Covid rules whist on the boat. Donning my MARINElife hi-viz vest and equipped with binoculars, camera, and leaflets, I headed out onto the decks (with mask on) to speak to the passengers and explain why I was there. It was great to have a very receptive and engaging number of passengers willing to learn more about MARINElife and the work we do.

Fulmar (Rick Morris)

It was good to see that the majority of those on the outer deck were actively searching for wildlife, sadly it was quiet with just 1 Harbour Porpoise as we passed Bull Point lighthouse and 2 Common Dolphin (seen by the bridge crew) around the halfway point. Nearing the island, I pointed out a Grey Seal to those nearby and another 2 in the Landing Bay. Seabird sightings were also quiet with just 1 Gannet shortly leaving Ilfracombe followed by low numbers of Kittiwake, Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill, and gull species.

Light aircraft landing on Lundy (Rick Morris)

Once tied off at the Landing Jetty, I disembarked and was welcomed by island warden Dean and we arranged to have a catch up once at the top. It was showery on the island, so as the auk colonies had left, I decided not to walk up to Jenny’s Cove. Instead, I opted for a walk along the East side in the hope of seeing the Sika Deer. Unfortunately this was not to be but I did encounter the Highland Cattle, Lundy Ponies and a Raven - which I failed to get a photo of due to a light aircraft coming into land on the grass runway.

Grey Seals (Rick Morris)

Back at the Landing Bay, I boarded the ‘Oldenburg’ for the return home, many of the Grey Seal were now hauled out on Mouse Island giving good views to the passengers waiting to board. Again, it was quiet on the return, although Manx Shearwater were in good numbers with c200 seen in total. Back at Ilfracombe I thanked Jason and the crew and disembarked to make my way home. On behalf of MARINElife, I thank the crew on the Oldenburg, the island staff, and volunteers and especially the Lundy administration for allowing us back on board.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals:

Common Dolphin 2

Harbour Porpoise 1

Grey Seal 3




Manx Shearwater

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull






Wildlife seen on Lundy:

Highland Cattle, Soay sheep, Lundy pony, Rock Pipit. Meadow Pipit, Raven. Robin, House Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Stonechat, Starli

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