Dover-Dunkirk

Sightings Archives: April 2017

MARINElife Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Delft Seaways’ Dover-Dunkirk 29 April 2017

Posted 06 May 2017

Tibor Beetles and Kelly Chaplin, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: Outbound: Sunny, wind NNE , sea state 1-2, some mist/haze
Return: Cloudy, wind NNE, sea state 1-2

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 2

Seabirds
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Commic Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 15
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3
Gannet Morus bassanus 25
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 10
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 12
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 30
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 13
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 8
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 25
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus 2
Unidentified Tern sp. 93
Unidentified Gull sp. 14
Unidentified Auk sp. 29
Unidentified Goose sp. 3

The forecast predicted bright sunshine throughout the day. After an efficient boarding, we were escorted to the bridge of the Delft Seaways by the helpful staff and were introduced to the friendly Captain and his crew.

As we left Dover, the waters were calm with a sea state 2 and the sky was almost perfectly clear, with very little cloud and bright sunshine.

Shortly after departing we observed Herring Gull and Kittiwake, followed by Gannet, terns, Great Skua and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Grey Seal Rick Morris 09
Grey Seal (Archive photo: Rick Morris)

Our first marine mammal sighting came only 50 minutes into the crossing with a Grey Seal being spotted, just as the crew were telling us they often see seals during the crossing! We also saw another Grey Seal 1 hour and 20 minutes after the first sighting.

Seabirds of several different species remained relatively constant throughout the crossing with Herring Gull, terns and auks predominating.

After a brief stop in Dunkirk, we headed back out into the Channel with a sea state 2 and an increase in cloud cover. It wasn't long before we saw several Guillemot, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull, including some juveniles.

Guillemot Peter Howlett 06
Guillemot (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

Sightings of seabirds continued aplenty, with further Herring Gull, Oystercatcher and Great Black-backed Gull being spotted.

A massive thank you to Captain Poisson, the crew and staff of DFDS Delft Seaways who took an interest in the survey and were kind enough to tell us about their own previous sightings.

Thank you to DFDS seaways for their continued support and for making this survey possible.