MARINElife blog: DFDS Seaways “Côte des Flandres” Dover-Calais (11 March 2017)

Adrian Shephard and Thomas Fisher, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Sea state S: 2-3 with a little mist.

Summary of sightings:

Marine mammals:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 26

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 114
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 3
Common Gull Larus canus 18
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 20
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 10
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 12
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 26
Guillemot Uria aalge 9
Razorbill Alca torda 3
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 3
Cormornt Phalacrocorax carbo 6
Auk sp. 5
Gull sp. 1

Harbour Porpoise Adrian Shephard 07We headed for Dover with the prospect of calm seas but with a little mist hanging in the air. We were soon aboard Cote Des Flandres and received a very warm welcome at reception and were soon on the bridge ready to depart.

The sea state was good and after a flurry of gulls in Dover Harbour, we were soon scanning the sea for the signs of marine mammals and we didn't have to wait long to be rewarded. A series of Harbour Porpoise were recorded in singles and duos gently surfacing before a couple of more exuberant duos were seen.

Cormorant Adrian Shephard 05Seabirds were at relatively low numbers, often resting on the waters surface in the absence of any wind.  The usual mix of Gannet, Kittiwake and occasion Lesser and Great Black-backed Gull making an appearance.

With Calais in sight, a few additional birds were added to the list as three Great Skua took flight and passed in front of the ship followed by a few Cormorant in front of the port entrance.

After a brief stop in Calais and a welcome coffee from the bridge team, we were back to sea and again recording Harbour Porpoise with a total of 13 recorded in each direction.

Delft Seaways Adrian Shephard 02With the survey nearing completion and Dover in sight, we watched Delft Seaways depart for Dunkirk and then had a flurry of Common Gull sightings before docking and heading ashore.

Our thanks to all those at DFDS Seaways and especially the crew of the Cote Des Flandres.

Harbour Porpoise (Adrian Shephard)
Cormorant (Adrian Shephard)
Delft Seaways (Adrian Shephard)