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WLO report Ilfracombe-Lundy 17 June

This was my first Lundy Wildlife Officer (WLO) trip of this year after my planned trip on the 3rd of this month was cancelled due to easterly winds!

I popped into the shore office to get my ticket and have a quick chat to Jacqui before joining others waiting to get on the boat. I could see our survey team up ahead, then someone tapped me on the shoulder, it was Mandy, one of Lundy’s Ambassadors and who was on last year’s Lundy adventures workshop, then once onboard Captain Paul welcomed us onto the bridge.

After a catch up with Kevin and Elisabeth (survey team) I put on the WLO blue and white Hi-Viz vest and equipped myself with my binoculars, camera, and leaflets, I headed out onto the decks to speak to the passengers and explain why I was there. It was great to have a very receptive and engaging number of passengers willing to learn more about MARINElife and the work we do.

Manx Shearwater (Rick Morris)

It was a full boat with around 260 passengers, and with those on the outer deck keen to get searching for wildlife, we slipped our mooring and made our way to Lundy in very calm seas. Gulls and a Fulmar were seen initially and then a brief sighting of 2 Harbour Porpoise as we passed Bull Point lighthouse. Bird numbers and species increased as we made our way to the island, with sightings of Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Gannet, and many hundreds of Manx Shearwater.

Around the halfway point a passenger came up to me to say she had seen 2 fins on the starboard side, I showed her some images of Harbour Porpoise and she confirmed that these were what she had seen, then shortly after another porpoise popped up that I managed to see.

Nearing the island, I pointed out some Grey Seal hauled out on Mouse Island to those passengers nearby and once tied off at the Landing Jetty, I disembarked and was welcomed by Island warden Rosie before making my way up top.

Lundy Cabbage (Rick Morris)

I had a slow walk up, spotting some Lundy Cabbage before stopping in Millcombe to see what birds were there, unfortunately as it was a boat day and with lots of people wandering around, the wildlife was a little elusive here as was the case for the rest of my walk-about!

I popped into the tavern briefly to say hi to a few familiar faces before heading up to the ‘Battery’ to see the establishing colony of Puffin there, here I sat for some time observing these comical little birds whilst eating my lunch.

Puffins (Rick Morris)

Walking back down for the return home I stopped in Millcombe Valley once again to see if the birds were going to be obliging, sadly they were not. Back at the Landing Bay, I boarded the ‘Oldenburg’ for the return home under the watchful eye of a young female Grey Seal.

Sightings were similar on the return, with Manx Shearwater in good numbers, although fewer than on the way out. Gannet were seen in ones and twos and Guillemot peppered the sea on the way home.

Back at Ilfracombe I expressed my gratitude to Paul and the crew and disembarked to make my way home. On behalf of MARINElife, I thank the crew of the Oldenburg, the island staff, and volunteers.

Rick Morris MARINElife Wildlife Officer

Weather: mostly sunny with a few clouds, wind force 1-2, sea state 1-3

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals: Harbour Porpoise 5 (2 from Passengers) Grey Seal 8 (on and around Mouse Island)

Seabirds: Fulmar Gannet Manx Shearwater Herring Gull Great Black-backed Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Guillemot Razorbill Puffin Shag Kittiwake Oystercatcher Wildlife seen on Lundy: Highland Cattle Soay sheep Lundy pony Greylag Goose Rock Pipit Skylark Meadow Pipit Raven Robin Blackbird Dunnock House Sparrow Carrion Crow Goldfinch Starling Linnet Stonechat Redstart

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