MARINElife WLO report Ilfracombe-Lundy 21 October
We left Ilfracombe harbour in a moderate sea with a bit of a swell. It was somewhat overcast on departure, but the sun came through and stayed with us for the day. Unfortunately, the moderate sea state was not conducive to spotting the little Harbour porpoise which can often be seen along the coast from Ilfracombe.
Heading out from Ilfracombe I made my way around the decks to chat wildlife with the other passengers, most of them were staying over for a few days. Also, on board was one of the Lundy Ambassadors who was going to lead a walk from the landing stage around part of the island. It was a quiet crossing with scattered seabirds to be seen including a few Gannets, Fulmars, and immature gulls.
On arrival at Lundy two Grey Seals were swimming near the harbour. The tide was high so their favoured haul out rocks on rat island were unavailable to them. I headed up to the Marisco Tavern for a cup of tea but stopped to admire a superbly camouflaged well grown pup at top the beach below the path.
After a lazy couple of hours, I returned early towards the jetty to have another look at the Grey Seal pup from the path. Scanning the beach more carefully I realised there were in fact two snoozing pups. The first one (as evidenced by her tracks) had just been fed by its mother and she was resting further down the beach on her way back to the sea. The other snoozing pup looked to be a little older and was starting to lose some of its white coat. Indeed, it looked fat enough to burst and I thought it might be on the point of weaning. These pups only get twenty-one days of concentrated feeding before they are abandoned to fend for themselves. Down by the jetty as the tide receded five other seals had hauled out for a vital rest on their favourite spot.
The return to Ilfracombe was equally quiet with a few Gannets and occasional auk seen. The Manx Shearwater which breeds on Lundy will be on their way to their wintering grounds in the South Atlantic, predominantly off Brazil and Argentina.
As ever, huge thanks to the crew of the ‘Oldenburg’ and the shore office for their help and assistance on board.
MARINElife/Lundy WLO Maggie Gamble
Summary of sightings:
Grey Seal 7 plus 2 pups
Lesser Black-backed Gul