I walked along Bideford Quay to the Lundy office to collect my ticket and boarded the Oldenburg, where I was welcomed by Captain Jason and the crew. I collected my Hi-Viz vest and headed out on to the deck to chat to the passengers.
In the river the tide was high with all the mud banks covered. The first birds we passed were groups of Black-headed Gull sitting on the small dinghies moored along the river. Little Egret and Grey Heron were roosting in the usual riverbank trees and a large group of Herring Gull and a few Great Black-backed were around the covered shipyard and Fish Quay at Appledore. Soon after crossing the bar, good numbers of Manx Shearwater and Gannet appeared, and continued to do so throughout the crossing. On reaching Lundy we were welcomed into the landing bay by a couple of swimming Grey Seal and one already resting out on the rocks.
With a long day on the island, I had decided to aim for a late picnic lunch at the North Lighthouse. After a coffee in the Marisco, I headed straight across to the west coast. There, in the strong south-westerly winds, I was met by Raven, Peregrine Falcon and Lesser Black-backed Gull swooping along the cliffs. Below the Battery and Jenny’s Cove Puffin and Guillemot were rafting. A large group of Kittiwake were disturbed by a Peregrine Falcon which then rose up over the cliffs to give me a great view just metres above my head.
Arriving at the North Lighthouse I found a sheltered spot to have lunch. Oystercatcher called from the rocks below and further along the bank a Rabbit briefly appeared. Walking back, I went down to the lower, more sheltered, path on the east coast. Grey Seal could be seen and heard in the bays below, while lots of butterflies and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth were seen along the path. Back at the jetty the Grey Seal were still around the rocks.
Sightings of Gannet dominated the return journey, especially the last section before we crossed back into the estuary. At points, twenty or more could be seen at a time. They were scattered all around rather than in one place and some were feeding. Later the crew of the boat commented that they had not seen so many Gannet on a crossing for a very long time. Among the Gannet there was also an Artic Skua.
Back in Bideford it was the cry of the Curlew which greeted our return. After we moored up, I collected my bags and thanked Jason and the crew before disembarking to walk back along the quay and head home.
MARINElife/Lundy WLO Judith Tatem
Weather: overcast at first then becoming bright and sunny, wind force 4-6.
Summary of sightings:
Grey seals 30 (seen during the day)
Seabirds on the crossing
Birds seen on the river
Great Black-backed Gull
Wildlife seen on Lundy
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull