MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS ‘Delft Seaways’ Dover-Dunkirk 14 December 2019

Stephen Hedley and Jenny Fowkes Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: Bright, wind E force 5-6, sea state 5. Only outbound leg surveyed.

Summary of sightings:

Auk sp. 1
Common Gull Larus canus 3
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 164
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 13
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 7
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 6
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 28
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 3
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 1
Razorbill Alca torda 2
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 1
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1

We met as arranged and went straight to the port where we were advised that there was to be a short delay. This gave us time for a quick coffee. Whilst waiting the weather was very changeable from very cloudy to blue skies and from dry to a sharp shower.

Little Gull Peter Howlett 11
Little Gull (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

We were on board soon afterwards and were able to grab a quick lunch before going to the bridge. However departure was further delayed by a vehicle that broke down on the ramp. We left port rather later than scheduled and the survey started as soon as the ferry passed the Dover harbour wall, where we were greeted by Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull and Gannet. Kittiwake and a lone Fulmar were seen soon afterwards. The first hour of the survey was conducted in bright conditions, albeit with some glare to starboard. The sea state was on the rough side for surveying - and certainly picking up any Harbour Porpoise. Gannet sightings were regular and by far the most frequent of the survey.

Around half an hour into the survey a Red-throated Diver flew past the bridge and several Guillemot were spotted in the water. Other sightings of the day included Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Skua, Little Gull, Common Gull and Cormorant, close to Dunkirk harbour. A lone, late departing, Sandwich Tern was also spotted.

As we arrived in Dunkirk the evening gloom was starting to descend and unfortunately we were unable to survey on the return leg.

We would like to express very warm thanks and gratitude to the Captain and crew for their support during the survey.