We were welcomed on board in Ilfracombe by the friendly crew, then headed up to the bridge to meet the Captain who showed us to our survey location. We set off from Ilfracombe at around 10:00, the weather was dry after the previous day’s heavy rain. Unfortunately, conditions did not allow for surveying up on the bridge for the outward survey, so the journey out to Lundy was enjoyed on the main deck with the passengers (who were helping to spot the various seabirds we saw including Common Scoter, Gannets and Guillemots).
Upon arriving on Lundy, the highlight was seeing a group of 7 Grey Seals resting on the rocky shoreline. The weather was fantastic with Painted Lady, Peacock, and Red Admiral butterflies nectaring in the sunshine. Another welcome sight was Swallows and House Martin, long gone from the mainland, seen feeding before their trip further south. Other birds seen walking around the island included Siskin, Rock Pipit and Peregrine Falcon. Moth caterpillars were also seen along the coastal paths feeding up before pupating for the winter including Ruby Tiger and Fox Moth.
Returning to Landing Bay, there were even more Grey Seal, keeping everyone entertained with their antics, including coming right up to us bobbing up and down effortlessly as they moved through the water. The return trip allowed for surveying on the bridge, setting off from Lundy around 16:00. Although no cetaceans were seen, there were excellent views of feeding Gannets, and groups of Guillemot, both adults and juveniles. The sea conditions were perfect, and we made good time, arriving back to Ilfracombe at around 17:30.
A lovely day in the autumn sun on Lundy with wildlife, and a lovely crossing with seabirds and seals seen throughout. Once again, our thanks go to the Captain and very helpful and friendly staff and crew of the MS Oldenburg who made this a very enjoyable crossing.
Alan Sumnall, Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)
Summary of sightings
Gannet Morus bassanus 8
Guillemot Uria aalge 74
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1