This month’s Wildlife Officer Trip to Lundy Island began in Ilfracombe, arriving at the harbour it was interesting to see many passengers dressed in Victorian costumes and like most people my curiosity got the better of me! It turned out that they were all from a cricket club and were going to Lundy to have a big picnic and to play cricket in the campsite, all this to celebrate a special birthday for one of their party.
As MS Oldenburg left Ilfracombe we soon had sightings of Gannett within a kilometre of the harbour. As the ship made its way towards Lundy there were good numbers of Manx Shearwater, Guillemot and Razorbill. Also seen were Fulmar, Kittiwake, Herring Gull and Lesser Black Backed Gull.
An hour in to the journey we caught sight of two Harbour Porpoise from the port side and these were our only cetaceans during the crossing.
As the Oldenburg approached the Lundy landing bay the first of nine Grey Seal was seen in the area of Rat Island. Taking the short route to the shepherds hut, I stopped for lunch and an hour of sea watching. Sadly nothing to report here, however the surrounding area was a haven for Butterflies, Bees and insects.
As the time to return to the jetty was getting closer, I made my way to the back of Rat Island to watch the Grey Seals in the small bay. Here nine animals were located and some were making booming noises not too dissimilar to the coast guards now retired fog horns! As I boarded the ship my eyes were immediately drawn to a large brown bird rafting in the bay, the bird was a Common scoter, a welcome first tick for my overall Lundy bird list. Common Scoter are really not that common as there are only 38 breeding pairs of these birds in the UK, most being in Scotland!
During the return sailing two separate sightings of Common Dolphin made many passengers on the port side extremely happy.
The same birds that were seen earlier were again observed. As we arrived in Ilfracombe harbour, I thanked the crew for another successful day on behalf of MARINElife and I look forward to my next Lundy Wildlife Officer trip in August and also the joint Bottlenose Dolphin and Balearic Shearwater survey with the RSPB three days later. Details are available of this project from the link below.