Carol Farmer-Wright and Michael Bamford, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)
Out: Sea state 3, wind Southwest Force 3
Return: Sea state 3, wind West-Southwest, Force 3-4
Summary of Sightings
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 31
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 33
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 5
Common Gull Larus canus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 85
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 40
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 13
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 7
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 46
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 3
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 13
Feral/Rock pigeon 1
Swift Apus apus 2
This was a rather uneventful trip despite the intense activity in the English Channel the previous day - the 70th anniversary of D Day. The only evidence was a solitary Polish Naval Training ship 'Wodnik'.
Polish warship 'Wodnik' (Photo: Mike Bamford)
The weather was kind with benign sea states which suggested we might be able to see a few Harbour Porpoises or other cetaceans.
After boarding with the other cars we were taken to the crew's mess and from there to the bridge, which we joined, by kind permission of the captain, as we left harbour.
After a flurry of Herring Gull activity at the harbour mouth, and an early Grey Seal, sightings settled with sporadic pelagic species - Kittiwake, Gannet and Fulmar, and an increasing number of Lesser Black-backed Gull as we neared the French Coast.
Over the sandbanks parallel to the coast, we saw some energetic bird feeding activity, and increasing numbers of Sandwich Tern, some carrying food, as we neared Dunkirk. As we entered port the harbour walls carried a colony of Shag.
Apart from the gulls circling in the harbour, as we came 'off effort' we saw a pair of summer plumage Mediterranean Gull.
Mediterranean Gull (Photo: Mike Bamford)
After the remarkably quick turnaround, the return journey gave a similar pattern of bird life. We were escorted back most of the way by a racing pigeon but alas with no marine mammal sightings - a rare blank, considering the conditions.
With thanks to Captain Jason Mills and his crew for their hospitality on the crossing.