MARINElife blog: DFDS Seaways “Côte des Flandres” Dover-Calais (19 November 2016)

Adrian Shephard and Mandy Bright, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: Sunny with increasing cloud, wind force SW 5-3

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 8
Gannet Morus bassanus 267
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 125
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 4
Common Gull Larus canus 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 10
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 221
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 40
Unidentified auk sp. 4

Gannet Adrian Shephard 16We met in a car park just outside the port in bright and sunny conditions but with a cold breeze blowing. After enjoying a coffee, we headed aboard and were soon preparing to start our survey. Dover is always a busy port with ships coming and going and we were soon heading through the breakwater and into the Channel which did display many whitecaps.

Seabirds were fairly constant throughout the crossing with Gannet and Herring Gull predominating, often in feeding aggregations. We commented that there were likely porpoises in the area, but the conditions precluded all but a single animal being recorded. An occasional Guillemot was seen flying with determination ahead of the ship and as we approached Calais, we added Cormorant to our tally of species.

GBB Gull Adrian Shephard 06After a brief turn around in Calais, we were back to sea, but conditions had started to deteriorate. The cloud cover was now complete and we experienced light fog and rain as the skies darkened. Good numbers of Great Black-backed Gull and further Gannet were recorded as well as a Common Gull close to Dover itself.

We docked and thanked the captain and bridge team for their support and headed ashore.

Gannet(Adrian Shephard)
Great Black-backed Gull (Adrian Shephard)