27th of June 2015 - Lundy Island Trip

This month's Wildlife Officer Trip to Lundy Island began in Ilfracombe, the sun was shining and the crew of MS Oldenburg were soon welcoming the many passengers on board. This voyage to Lundy had seventeen additional people that were going to the island for a four day MARINElife experience.

After a brief chat on the bridge with Jerry the ship's captain and Brian the first mate, I began my tour around the upper and lower decks introducing myself to as many interested passengers as I could. As usual the conversations were positive and it's always great to hear other likeminded people's wildlife experiences.

Passing Gannet

As the ship left Ilfracombe harbour, the first birds of note were Gannet, followed by Fulmar and Manx Shearwater. All three species were seen within a mile of the harbour. We soon had many Kittiwake, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and a few distant Great Black-backed Gull.

Manx Shearwaters
Whilst touring the aft area, I was put on to two Common Dolphin off the starboard side, the two passengers who spotted them turned out to be Sue and Cheryl who are MARINElife members and fellow surveyors. Close by, birds of note were Razorbill and Guillemot.

Common Dolphin
As I was here a solitary Minke whale was seen from the upper starboard side, we sadly missed it! Passengers that go over to Lundy on a regular basis have often told me that these majestic whales are sometimes spotted. Who knows, maybe next time?

As the Oldenburg approached the Lundy landing bay the first of four Grey Seal was seen bobbing effortlessly. My afternoon was spent checking out the new Antony Gormley statue which is very fitting for Lundy. Here is also a good location for a spot of sea watching while having lunch. Looking down to the sea there were many Razorbill, Guillemot, Gannet and the usual gulls. Raven went over as did  a small flock of Goldfinch. In the surrounding area the beautiful sound of Skylark was heard and I watched many fly very high continuing their song. Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Wheatear were plentiful too.

Skylark
Before the crossing back to Ilfracombe Rat island provided a further three Grey Seal. During the return sailing two separate pairs of Common Dolphin thrilled everyone on board. Watching for birds gave up the same birds that were seen earlier, however a lone Puffin was seen off the port side, much to many peoples delight. A single brief fin of a Porpoise was seen as the ship passed Morte Point on the mainland.

We arrived back in Ilfracombe harbour where the day's trip concluded, I thanked Jerry the captain and his crew for another successful day on behalf of MARINElife and I look forward to my next Lundy Wildlife Officer trip in July.
Anthony Gormley Statue looking out to sea
 

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