Sightings Archives: August 2018

MARINElife blog: DFDS Seaways “Côte des Flandres” Dover-Calais (25 August 2018)

Posted 02 September 2018

Carol Farmer-Wright and Imogen Cavadino, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Outward - partially cloudy, good visibility: west north-west to west south-west wind force 2-5.  Return - good visibility with glare at times: west south-west to westerly wind force 6-4.

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Common Gull Larus canus 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 1
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 10
Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 9
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 5
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 4
Gull sp. Laridae 7
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 25
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 2
Larus sp. Larus sp. 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 2
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 1
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 8

After the long, hot days of summer it was quite a surprise to leave my home for Dover with a hint of air frost. As a Bank Holiday weekend I thought the traffic on the roads would be heavier than usual, this was not to be the case. I met Imogen in Dover and we set off for the port. With plenty of time to spare we were able to go to one of the rest areas to have a cup of coffee prior to driving onto the ship.

Sandwich Tern Peter Howlett 03

Sandwich Tern (Peter Howlett)

We were greeted by Christine at the information desk and were taken to the bridge to begin our survey. Sightings were slow, but migration was in evidence as four Great Skua were seen heading south for the winter. Sandwich Tern were also encountered, they had transitioned into non-breeding plumage and were also heading south for warmer climes. As we approached Calais, Black-headed Gull were seen. They had also lost their dark brown plumage on their heads and were now in non-breeding plumage with a predominately white head and the tell-tale black spot behind the ear.

During our crossing we were advised by the officers that Bottlenose Dolphin had been seen earlier in the week near Boulogne, sadly we were not to see them.

BH Gull Carol FarmerWright 01

Black-headed Gull (Carol Farmer-Wright)

Whilst in Calais we went to the ships cafeteria to have lunch and watched the cars being unloaded.

Soon we were back on the bridge and recording Cormorant, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Gannet and a solitary Fulmar.

Despite favourable seas we did not record any Harbour Porpoise or Seal that tend to frequent Calais harbour.

We left the bridge as we entered Dover harbour and went downstairs to collect our car.

Our thanks go to both captains, their officers and crew for making us feel so welcome and to DFDS Seaways for enabling us to survey on this important route.

Carol Farmer-Wright and Imogen Cavadino; Research Surveyors for MARINElife