MARINElife blog: DFDS ‘Malo Seaways’ Dover-Calais (25 October 2015)

Peter Jones and Joshua Stafford, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Sea state 2 throughout with good visibility and glare at times

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals:
Harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena 10

Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Common Gull Larus canus 4
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 19
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 69
Gannet Morus bassanus 54
Great Black-backed GullLarus marinus 26
Guillemot Uria aalge 19
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 12
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 2Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 7
Gull sp. 3


Harbour Porpoise Peter Howlett 15

We met up mid morning at Dover and soon boarded the ferry to Calais. We were invited onto the bridge shortly after departing and started our survey in calm conditions.

We initially recorded several gulls close to the port, then our first Harbour Porpoise was seen surfacing several times barely 15 minutes into the survey. Shortly after this sighting, a member of the crew alerted us to another Harbour Porpoise very close to the ship. This time a very brief sighting.


Harbour Porpoise sightings continued throughout the outward journey with six animals seen in total, most of which were typically brief views.


Med Gull Rob Petley-Jones 02

We continued to pick up the commoner gull species, plus several Gannet, including a couple looking very smart in juvenile plumage. Guillemot and Kittiwake were also seen in small numbers. Highlights of the outward crossing were a tight group of six ghostly-white Mediterranean Gull and an Arctic Skua. Towards Calais, a flock of 19 Common Scoter, mostly males, passed close by.


After a quick turnaround in Calais we started the return leg. Harbour Porpoise sightings continued with another four animals recorded. Herring Gull dominated the return journey, with a small number of Guillemot, Kittiwake, Gannet and a single Mediterranean Gull.


Herring Hull Rob Petley-Jones 02We concluded our survey on arrival in Dover and thanked the Captain and his staff for their hospitality.


Harbour Porpoise (Peter Howlett)
Mediterranean Gull (Rob Petley-Jones)
Herring Gull (Rob Petley-Jones)