Saturday the 18th of June 2016 - MARINElife Wildlife Officer Trip to Lundy Island.

This months trip began in Ilfracombe, the morning started cloudy but as we made our way towards Lundy the weather brightened up and soon the sun was shining.

The crew of MS Oldenburg were soon welcoming the many passengers on board. This voyage to Lundy had additional people that were going to the island for a four day MARINELife experience. Two of the party were the organiser Rick Morris and MARINELife’s Patron Maya Plass. 

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

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.

As the Oldenburg approached the Lundy landing bay the first of three Grey Seal was seen bobbing effortlessly. My afternoon was spent at Jenny’s Cove scanning the nesting birds, here there was good numbers of Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwake.

Before the crossing back to Ilfracombe Rat Island provided a further Grey Seal.

  During the return sailing six rafting Puffin were seen off the port side, much to many peoples delight.   

We arrived in Ilfracombe harbour where the day’s trip concluded, I thanked Jason 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.
3rd - 5th of June 2016 - Birding & Wildlife Weekend in East Riding, Yorkshire.

Just after sunrise on Friday morning I was up early to collect my two birding buddies Steve and Gary from Nuneaton and we were soon on our way to Yorkshire. Stopping off for breakfast at North Cave nature reserve we all sat with coats, gloves and hats on as the weather was very cold and windy on the 3rd day of June! After some time scanning the lake where there was nothing of great note to record, we carried on towards Yorkshire.

As our base for the weekend was the Brockton B & B in Bridlington we spent the day around the Flamborough area which included some sea watching at North Landing Cliffs. Here birds of note were Eider Duck, Shag, Gannet, Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar, lots of Gull species and Skylarks were singing over the fields.
Passing Gannet
 The afternoon was spent at Flamborough Head in extremely cold and windy conditions, looking out to sea all of the birds seen at North Landing were rafting or flying past above the choppy sea. An addition to our list for the day was a great many Puffin a favourite sea bird for many people. Armed with telescopes we got fantastic views and seven Grey Seals were counted amongst all the birds. Before we left, a single Common Scoter was observed looking distictly larger than the surrounding Guillemots!

Before checking in the our B & B the last stop for the day was Bridington harbour and the bay. Here Turnstone enjoyed the pickings as the reseeding tide uncovered seaweed and this in turn brought insects to eat. Looking out in to the bay many gulls were seen along with a Great Crested Grebe, however the best bird for the day was left until last as Gary picked us out a Black Throated Diver. Dinner was traditional seaside Fish and Chips before we finished birding for the day.

Saturday morning began with a visit to an area just outside Bridlington where Gary and I saw five Bee-eaters last year. As lightening does'nt strike twice, we enjoyed an hour looking at the woodland birds which included Goldcrest, Garden Warbler and a female Blackcap.

Part of our planned weekend was to be going out to photograph diving Gannets under Bempton Cliffs, sadly as with last year, the ship was cancelled due to bad weather! The day was spent at the RSPB reserve of Bempton Cliffs, the weather did not improve as the whole area was covered in low cloud which did not clear until around four that afternoon. This reserve really is one of the RSPB's must visit sites, the cliffs are very high and its inhabitants of Puffin, Guillemot, Fulmar, Razorbill and Gannet are a fabulous sight to see (weather permitting of course).

On Sunday morning we travelled a little further north to Filey Brigg to explore this area of outstanding beauty, the weather was sunny and as the morning went on the temperture soon started to rise and made for a very pleasant morning. Eider Duck, Puffin, Guillemot, Gannet, Sandwich Tern and Grey Seals all made an appearance as we walked to top and then down to the end of the rocks and back.

Filey Brigg

Lunch was at Filey Dams Nature reserve, a brief stop here before going back to Bempton Cliffs for the rest of the afternoon. There was not a great deal to see here, however Tree Sparrows were viewed at close distance as were Dunnock.

Arriving at Bempton Cliffs gave us a totally different experience, as the sun shone all afternoon which made for further photo opportunities as the light was so much better that the day before.

As we viewed the cliffs from the many platforms we met Kevin Groocock who is also from Rugby and used to come on our local RSPB Group trips before moving to the Bempton area. Kevin now enjoys his Sundays working as an RSPB volunteer.

Pair of Puffin

The weekend came to an end with us all returning on Sunday evening and we are looking forward to our next trip in August, this time to North Devon for four days of birds and wildlife which will include a day trip to Lundy Island.