MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report “MS Oldenburg” Ilfracombe – Lundy 14th of October 2017.

This was my last trip of 2017 as MARINElife Wildlife Officer and I was very much looking forward to being out on the sea aboard MS Oldenburg for the last time this season.
I was welcomed onboard by Captain Jason and got ready to enjoy the crossing with the hope of cetaceans and sea birds. Leaving Ilfracombe harbour, I spotted a Porpoise under in front of the Landmark Theatre. The crossing produced Gannet, Guillemot, Kittiwake and as we approached the Island many Shag were sighted as usual, plus a very special sighting of an Arctic Skua and Great Northern Diver! As we came towards the Lundy jetty 3 Grey Seals were providing great amusement to the passengers as they appeared to being playing to their crowd!
Grey Seals

I disembarked and chatted to Dean Jones the Lundy Warden and pointed out the Great Northern Diver which was about 500 metres away. I proceeded to walk up to the wooded area around Milcombe house where I stayed for the time I was on the Island. At this time of year, you never know what might drop in and today was no different as a single Hawfinch was seen along with Water Rail heard in the walled garden area. It was also good to meet Tim Jones the bird recorder for Lundy who also had a very successful visit.

 A very distant record of the Great Northern Diver
As I walked back to the jetty for the return sailing I chatted to a couple from my home town who were in Devon on holiday. On the return journey a Great Skua was spotted along with the Arctic Skua seen earlier. The last trip did produce 2 Common Dolphin which went down really well with the passengers.
Before leaving the ship, I thanked Jason the Captain and his crew for their hospitality this year and for supporting MARINElife.

Sunday was spent at Fremington Pill and then an afternoon at Skern (Northern Burrows).

Birds of note at the Pill was Glossy Ibis, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Little Egret, Oystercatcher and Redshank.

Glossy Ibis
Skern offered great views of Brent Geese, Golden Plover, Ring Plover, Linnet, Wheatear and Little Egret. As usual we enjoyed a Sunday picnic with superb views of Appledore and the estuary.

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