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Ilfracombe-Lundy WLO report 28 August 2021

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Rick Morris

Weather: mostly sunny with some cloud, wind force 2-3


I had the company of fellow volunteer Chris, who kindly came to my house and chauffeured me to Ilfracombe for today’s Wildlife Officer trip to Lundy Island. Arriving in Ilfracombe Harbour, we were warmly greeted by Kate from the shore office who gave us our tickets.

Harbour Porpoise (Library photo: Rick Morris)

It wasn’t too long after leaving our mooring in the harbour that the first Harbour Porpoise was seen. This was thanks to a lone Gannet that was circling and then dived in, this is why it’s so important to not neglect the seabirds; especially when they’re feeding! A further 7 Harbour Porpoise were seen before reaching Lundy, mostly off Lee Bay and Bull Point.


Seabird sightings were quiet as far as species goes, but we did see a few Gannet shortly after leaving Ilfracombe and throughout the crossing followed by low numbers of Manx Shearwater, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill, and gull species.

Wheatear (Rick Morris)

Once tied off at the Landing Jetty, we disembarked and were welcomed by Derek Green (General Manager) and Dean (Warden) and proceeded to make our way up to the top. Stopping for a few minutes in Millcombe Valley, we observed Goldfinch, Greenfinch and a Tree Pipit.


It was a lovely sunny day on the island, so we decided to walk along the central path up to Jenny’s Cove just to see what was about. We were not disappointed, although the auks had gone, we observed many Fulmar flying to and fro with one pair still on the nest. There were Rock pipits and Wheatear flying around, but then Chris pointed out a Spotted Flycatcher on one of the rocks which after a minute or so was joined by another.

Spotted Flycatcher (Rick Morris)

After our lunch at Jenny’s, we made our way back to the village to visit the shop for refreshments and then proceeded to walk back to the Landing Bay via Millcombe Valley. Continuing down we saw a couple of Grey Seal ‘bottling’ in the Bay, and one was hauled out on Mouse Island to the delight of those waiting to board the ‘Oldenburg’.

Grey Seal (Rick Morris)

The return crossing was pleasant, but again quiet on the bird front, although the trip was peppered with small groups of Guillemot, mostly in their nonbreeding plumage. We did encounter a raft of c50 Manx Shearwater around mid-channel. Shortly after this I was talking to some children and answering their questions when a small fin popped up. I told my audience to keep looking and we were all rewarded with 2 more Harbour Porpoise.


Back at Ilfracombe Chris and I expressed our gratitude to Jason and the crew and made our way home.


Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals

Harbour Porpoise 10

Grey Seal 2


Seabirds

Fulmar Gannet

Manx Shearwater Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull Black-headed Gull Guillemot

Razorbill

Puffin Shag Kittiwake

Wildlife seen on Lundy: Mammals

Highland Cattle Soay sheep Feral Goat Lundy pony

Birds Rock Pipit Meadow Pipit Tree Pipit Swallow Raven

Robin

House Sparrow Carrion Crow Starling

Linnet Goldfinch Greenfinch

Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Wheatear Butterflies Small White Small Tortoiseshell Small Blue Meadow Brown

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