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Ilfracombe-Lundy WLO report 6 August

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals

Common Dolphin 9

Grey Seal 6


Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull





Manx Shearwater



Wildlife seen on Lundy:

Soay Sheep, Blackbird, Meadow Pipit, Raven, Robin, House Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Stonechat, Starling, Skylark, Peregrine Falcon, Pied Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Painted Lady, Compass Jellyfish, Moon Jellyfish

Weather: dry and sunny, sea state 1/2, wind force 1– 2

It was already a hot, sunny morning when I walked along to Ilfracombe harbour. I collected my ticket and was soon boarding the Oldenburg, where I was warmly greeted by the Captain and 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 large group of Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach in front of water-sports centre building site.

Soon after leaving the harbour the first Gannet flew past. Approaching Morte Point, a group of six Common Dolphin appeared alongside the boat and stayed for a while to the delight of the passengers. Further on several pairs of Razorbill, comprising a parent and a young bird, floated past and a group of fifty or more Manx Shearwater flying past made for a lovely sight. We were welcomed to Lundy by a large group of Shag watching from the outer rocks, while a few Compass and Moon jellyfish floated around the jetty and two large Grey Seals put in a brief appearance. A group of mainly Herring Gull, with a few Lesser Black-backed, floated close to shore, off the landing beach.

Herring Gull (Judith Tatem)

I disembarked and walked up to the wooded area around Milcombe House where I spent some time watching a Chiffchaff. There were also Red Admiral and Gatekeeper butterflies. I had decided to head straight to the Castle to have lunch and do a cetacean watch. On the way out to the castle there was large group of gulls prodding the ant-hills among the long grass. I then noticed a similarly large group flying erratically over the edge of the cliffs – there must have been a very large emergence of flying ants.

Herring Gulls at ant nest (Judith Tatem)

During the hour and a half’s watch, I was joined for periods of time by a few of my fellow passengers. Three seals bottling or floating amongst the rocks below provided the main interest. A pair of Ravens flew past a couple of times and there was a brief view of a Peregrine Falcon.

Afterwards there was just time to visit the Marine Festival exhibition in St Helen’s, and enjoy a go with a virtual reality headset showing divers meeting a couple of the Lundy seals, before heading back to the ship.

Landing Bay (Judith Tatem)

On the journey home we again saw small numbers of Razorbill, Guillemot, Gannet and Fulmar and just after passing Bull Lighthouse three Common Dolphins were seen very briefly.

On reaching Ilfracombe, I returned my jacket, thanked the crew for a good day, and headed home.

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