MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report 'MV Balmoral' Milford Haven River Cruise 20th June 2017

Maggie Gamble; MARINElife Wildlife Officer (WLO)
Weather: Very good, sun and light cloud wind SW1

Marine mammals:
None seen

River birds:
Mute swan
Grey Heron

Seabirds:
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Guillemot
Gannet
Fulmar
Shag
Cormorant

Other Wildlife
Moon Jelly fish
Barrel Jellyfish
Compass Jellyfish

We had perfect weather for Balmoral's cruise around Milford Haven and up the Cleddau River.

As she headed up river, we attracted quite a lot of attention from the local sailors who then accompanied us at various times for a closer look at this famous survivor of the White Funnel Fleet. We progressed further upriver than expected and turned at Lawrenny to cruise back down the river and under the "infamous" box girder bridge. In the Haven, there was plenty of interesting shipping to watch as they docked and un-loaded.

Mute Swans-Carol Farmer-Wright

Mute Swan (Carol Farmer-Wright)

At the end of the afternoon, we headed out into the bay for about an hour and had nice views of Skokholm and Skomer, the Pembrokeshire islands famous for their sea bird colonies.

St Ann's Head on the mainland was nearby and this is an excellent vantage point from which to watch Manx Shearwater around dusk as they stream past heading towards their nest burrows on the islands. Coming in like this under cover of darkness, they avoid the worst of the predations by Black-backed Gulls.

GBB Gull Adrian Shephard 04

Great Black-backed Gull (Adrian Shephard)

Heading back into the Haven we approached Pembroke Dock with the sun still shining at the end of a very hot day. Indeed, out on the water, the Balmoral was the best place to be - but then I always think like that.

My thanks to the crew of the Balmoral for all their help and support.

Maggie Gamble; MARINElife Wildlife Officer (WLO)