Saturday the 21st of June 2014.
Today’s Wildlife Officer Trip to Lundy Island began this time in Ilfracombe, where I met up with Ali and Maggie from MARINElife who were conducting this months, monthly Lundy survey. After chatting before boarding we agreed to meet up to explore the Island after all of the outward survey and Wildlife Officer Duties were completed.
Once on-board the MS Oldenburg I made my way up on to the bridge to meet Jerry the ship’s captain and after collecting the essential items for the trip (MARINElife information leaflets, binoculars and my camera) I proceeded to start my tour around the upper and lower decks introducing myself to as many passengers I could. This interaction really is a great way to learn from people with local knowledge and to also meet passengers that have never been to Lundy before and to offer I.D. assistance and suggestions (when asked) of places to go while on the Island.
The weather was hot and the sea state was calm with minimum wind waves.
The outward passage gave me an opportunity to point out two Harbour Porpoise off the port side. Birds of note were Manx Shearwater and Guillemot rafting upon the water, a few Gannet and the occasional passing gull and Fulmar. An observation from my last trip that left two hours earlier and from Bideford, was that there were fewer birds in flight and many were rafting which maybe suggests that they were feeding earlier and by this time it was time to rest?
As the Oldenburg approached Lundy we all had sight of Common Dolphins on each side of the ship which to everyone’s delight had the passengers standing up to help each other locate these graceful animals. As the ship slowly approached the jetty a single Grey Seal popped up on the starboard side as if to greet the passengers, many then took time for a photograph or two.
As we docked everyone disembarked and began to make
their way up to the higher levels to explore the Island. Upon meeting Ali from
the survey team we took a route towards halfway wall and had our packed lunch
overlooking Jenny’s cove. Here we met assistant warden Chloe who was helping
many of the visitors with locating the many Puffins. During lunch we also
caught up with Maggie from the survey team who quickly had us scanning the sea
due to splashing and diving sea birds about a mile and a half off the Island.
The opinion was that we looking at, at least 12 Bottlenose Dolphins due to
their colouring and movements.
|Common Dolphin - Adult & Juvenile|
As we walked back we spotted many birds along the way and our conversation was of course about our wildlife experiences.
The crossing back from Lundy provided further Common Dolphin sightings and a single Harbour Porpoise, which one of the passengers kindly pointed out, sea bird sightings were very much the same as the outward crossing. From chatting to Ali once back in Ilfracombe harbour the survey produced a lot more Dolphin numbers than I managed on the decks.