|MS Oldenburg along side the Lundy Jetty|
Saturday the 30th of August 2014.
MARINElife Wildlife Officer - Lundy Island day trip.
Arriving in Bideford at 08:15am my first port of call was the Landmark office to collect my ticket for boarding MS Oldenburg. The ship was full with 256 passengers and 8 crew, upon making my way up to the bridge; I readied myself for the sailing while chatting to Jerry the ship's Captain. I the processed to start my tour around the upper and lower decks introducing myself to the passengers as quickly as I could as information from the bridge proposed that the weather out on the open sea was force 5!
Whilst Oldenburg navigated the estuary towards the open sea, I had the opportunity to point out notable birds such as Oystercatcher, Redshank, Little Egret, Curlew, Grey Heron and Black tailed Godwit. Once out of the estuary the sea livened up and we were soon enjoying (or not enjoying) the sea breeze and spray and the ships motion that goes with force 5 weather conditions. This resulted in a great many of the passengers feeling rather sick. A very brief sighting of a Harbour Porpoise off the port side was sadly the only cetacean seen. Birds of note were a few Manx Shearwater gliding effortlessly over the water and a group of diving Gannet were seen as the ship passed Hartland Point.
Upon disembarking the Oldenburg many of the day trippers stopped on the jetty to watch an inquisitive large Grey Seal showing off. I briefly stopped to say hello to Derek the Island's manager and also to Chloe the assistant warden to find out about recent bird sightings. Following this I began to make my way to the higher levels. My planned route kept me on the east side where I settled myself in to what I call a shepherds shelter to have lunch and to begin a sea watch. More Grey seal were spotted further up at the northern rocks and also 2 below near the beach area. Scanning the sea produced many Gannet and Shag along with the usual Gull species. Unfortuntatley no cetaceans were seen! After a two hour watch I went over to the west side passing Saint Helen's church and did the same for anther two hours with the same species recorded.
The return journey aboard the Oldenburg gave a distant view of 21 Grey Seal that were basking on Mouse Rock.
The crossing back to Bideford was a much calmer affair which gave another brief sighting of a Harbour Porpoise; again the same sea birds were seen along the way.
As we arrived back in Bideford there was a huge crowd gathered on the quay, not to welcome us back, but to wave goodbye to the "Kathleen and May" an old three masted sailing ship that has been used in filming a new Johnny Depp film! She left on the high tide bound for her home port of Liverpool shortly after we disembarked Oldenburg. It must have been an awesome sight back in the days of sail as Bideford was a busy port and many tail ships would have graced this estuary.
|The Kathleen and May|
Species seen this trip were, Harbour Porpoise, Grey seal, Manx Shearwater, Black Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Kittiwake, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Fulmar, Cormarant, Shag, Gannet, Tree Sparrow, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, Starling, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Wood Pigeon, House Martin, Sand Martin, Swallow, Linnet, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Oystercatcher, Skylark, Whitethroat, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Mallard, Pied Wagtail, redshank, Grey Heron, Curlew and Black Tailed Godwit.