Felixstowe-Vlaardingen

Recent Sightings

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe - Vlaardingen survey 28th - 29th July 2014

Posted 17 September 2014

Carol Farmer-Wright and Ellen Last, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather
Dry, sunny conditions with some glare. Wind NE-N Force 5-6 increased at river mouth.

Seabirds
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 44
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 598
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 53
Common Gull Larus canus 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 574
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 669
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 257
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 2
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 10
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 43
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 1
Commic Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 6
Unidentified Gull sp. 46
Unidentified Larus sp. 424
Unidentified Tern sp. 4

River Birds
Gadwall Anas strepera 1
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 41
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1608
Unidentified Duck sp. 22

Terrestrial Birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 8
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 70
Feral Pigeon Columba livia 68
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 1
Swallow Hirundo rustica 6
Woodpigeon Columba polumbus 2

This was my first survey as a trainee surveyor under the guidance of Carol Farmer-Wright. It was exciting to do a survey from my local port, and its not every day you get the chance to go aboard a freight ferry. After boarding on Monday night we were shown our cabins and promptly fell asleep in preparation for a 4.45am start!

Conditions started off well, with a dry morning, but the slightly rough sea state meant spotting Harbour Porpoise would be more difficult. A number of seabird species were identified on the journey over, with Fulmar being the first, followed by numerous Lesser Black-backed Gull.

As we reached the mouth of the river near Rotterdam, we had to stay on our toes as many Cormorant, gull, duck and Mute Swan were present along this river section, so counting and recording every one kept us very busy!

Mute Swans-Carol Farmer-WrightMute Swans (Carol Farmer-Wright)

After docking we were treated to a delicious three-course lunch on-board, which included some amazing pineapple ice cream!

On the return leg, the river section was again bustling with the same species as the inbound trip. Once out of the river, things quietened down, with the majority of seabirds seen being Lesser Black-backed Gull, but with the occasional Gannet and Tern.

Many thanks go to Captain Orfeusz and his friendly crew on the Flandria Seaways for welcoming us aboard and enabling us to complete this survey.

Carol Farmer-Wright and Ellen Last, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Lines ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe – Vlaardingen 25-26th August 2014

Posted 17 September 2014

Michael Bamford, Angela Needham, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather:
Wind, Easterly - East North Easterly, Force 6 - 7 moderating to 5 on return. Overcast, visibility 5 - 6: outbound intermittent light rain. Sea state 6-7, moderating to 5 on return.

Cetaceans:
Harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Seabirds:
Fulmar Fularus glacialis 3
Gannet Morus bassanus 45
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 555
Great skua Stercorarius skua 3
Sandwich tern Sterna sandvicensis 14
Common tern Sterna hirundo 3
Black headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 47
Common gull Larus canus 2
Lesser black backed gull Larus fuscus 214
Herring gull Larus argentatus 307
Great black backed gull Larus marinus 117
Unidentified large gull spp. 150

River birds:
Mute swan Cygnus olor 970
Gadwall Anas strepers 86
Grey heron Ardea cineria 2
Coot Fulica atra 3
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 11
Green sandpiper Tringa ochropus 2

Terrestrial birds:
Montagu's harrier Circus pygargus 1
Hobby Falco subbuteo 1
Stock dove Columba oenas 1
Meadow pipit Anthus pratensis 1

This survey was dominated by a strong breeze from the East, and some interesting and surprising observations.

We were very efficiently met and transported to the ship through the maze of Felixstowe docks, and shown to the driver's mess and our cabins for the night. With a low pressure area centred on the southern North Sea, and rain and wind forecast, we were not greatly optimistic about viewing prospects for the next day.

We were up at 5.30am and met a very grey dawn with intermittent rain. The birds we met prior to the river mouth were largely Gannet with a few Sandwich Tern, the river entrance was lined with Cormorant and busy with Lesser Black-backed Gull. A couple of Green Sandpiper on the bank indicated migration was in progress. Higher up the river the usual large numbers of Mute Swan, and Gadwall kept us occupied, pending docking at 10.30am.

DroppingThePilot-MikeBamfordDropping the pilot (Mike Bamford)

After a brief count up and a filling lunch, we grabbed some rest before setting off on our return trip. An early highlight of the river section was a grey winged, long tailed raptor - a male Montagu's Harrier, crossing the river; probably on early migration.

Sightings were sparse on the early part of the return, but despite the choppy seas, a Harbour Porpoise was spotted by Angela, and put in a couple of rolls before disappearing.

Additional highlights were a flotilla of white butterflies (photo), which danced round the ship - large whites are known to migrate from the continent to Britain. A Meadow Pipit rested briefly in front of the bridge, and we were surprised by a fast flying raptor coming in to the boat mid North Sea, about 50 km from land. It was a Hobby carrying a small bird prey item. It circled the ship, apparently undecided whether to land before heading off to an uncertain fate. Unfortunately photos were not very good, but clearly confirmed the sighting.

LargeWhite-MikeBamfordLarge White (Mike Bamford)

Three Bonxies getting up from the water in the early evening were a further highlight before the light faded at 8 p.m.

With many thanks to Captain Orfeus Kekus and his very helpful crew.

Michael Bamford, Angela Needham, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe to Vlaardingen survey 24th June 2014

Posted 09 July 2014

Emma Howe-Andrews and Steve McAusland, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Sea state (1-3), wind (2-5) and visibility was excellent to good.

Cetaceans and mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Seabirds
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 28
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 16
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 193
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 34
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 22
Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 123
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 23
Unidentified Auk sp. 12
Unidentified Tern sp. 4

River Birds
Brent Goose Branta bernicla 1
Common Coot Fulica atra 1
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aeguptiacus 2
Gadwall Anas strepera 8
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 4
Greylag Goose Anser anser 83
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 25
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 699
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 3

Land birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 7                                             
Redshank Tringa totanus 1
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 5
Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus  2

Gannet Mike Bamford 01We arrived at Felixstowe port on Monday evening, and after a swift and efficient check-in by the DFDS Operations staff, we were transported to the ship and shown to our cabins for some sleep before the survey started at dawn the next day.

With a sea state of 2 and a beautiful sunrise we began our survey on the bridge and were hopeful that we would soon encounter our first cetacean sighting, but unfortunately none were sighted. However, we did have some amazing views of the ever graceful Gannet, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and Common Tern riding the wind and sweeping across the waves. We also enjoyed watching the other ships in the area and listening to their communication on the marine radio.

Gannet (Mike Bamford)

In glorious sunshine, we left the North Sea and entered the Nieuwe Waterweg canal which connects Rotterdam to the North Sea. It takes about an hour to negotiate the waterway and as we travelled along we encountered numerous bird species which included Mute Swan, Cormorant, Common Tern, Greylag Geese, Mallard, Great Black-backed Gull, and Lesser Black-backed Gull. We left the bridge so that the crew could complete final manoeuvres.

Cormorant 1_Adrian ShephardAfter a great lunch in the driver's canteen, the ship was loaded and ready to depart. We restarted our survey shortly after leaving the berth and as we made our way towards the North Sea we encountered another DFDS ship 'Begonia Seaways' which approached our port side. As they passed, the crew excitedly waved from the bridge wing and Captain Orpheus even took their photo which made us all smile!

The afternoon and early evening brought us a sea state of 3 and things remained quiet apart from the occasional bird sighting, including wonderful views of a Great Shearwater, until Steve expertly spotted a Harbour Porpoise approximately 200m off the bow. As the survey concluded we were treated to an amazing sunset on our final approach to Felixstowe.

Cormorant (Adrian Shephard)

We would like to say a huge thank you to Captain Orpheus, his officers and crew for their hospitality, for making us feel so welcome and taking an interest in our work. Also, thanks go to DFDS Seaways for making our surveys possible.

Emma Howe-Andrews and Steve McAusland, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe to Vlaardingen survey 27th May 2014

Posted 10 June 2014

Andrew Boulden and Jenny Boatwright, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather
Wind (N), sea state 2/3, and visibility poor

Marine Mammals
None.

Seabirds
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet Morus bassanus 20
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 108
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 15
Common Gull Larus canus 564
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 146
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 219
Greater Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 14
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 91
Commic Tern 2
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 529
Mallard Duck Anas platyrhynchos 43
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 26
Gull sp.  68
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 3
Greylag Goose Anser anser 21
Coot Fulica atra 4
Wigeon Anas penelope 2
Large Wader sp. 1
Wader sp.  1

We were warmly welcomed on-board the Flandria Seaways at the Felixstowe terminal by the ever helpful crew. After being shown to our cabins we slept until the early morning and arose just before sunrise where we ascended to the bridge to begin our day of surveying.

Juvenile Great Black Backed Gull-RobPJ

Juvenile Great Black-backed Gull (Photo: Rob Petley-Jones)

Whilst the sea state and swell was low to moderate the low pressure weather system brought heavy rain which stayed with us for the entire crossing making viewing conditions challenging. A number of gulls, mostly Lesser Black-backed, were spotted on the outbound trip with the occasional Gannet, and tern. On reaching the river, as we approached Vlaardingen, we were rewarded with large numbers of Mute Swan along the bank of the river, along with Oystercatcher, Mallard Duck and Greylag Geese. Common Terns could be seen diving into the river feeding.

The ship left on time to return us to Felixstowe and, once safe to do so, we re-joined the bridge and were welcomed by the captain. Again we saw numerous Mute Swan, and Common & Black-headed Gulls, and three Great Crested Grebe. There were good numbers of Cormorant drying out on the breakwaters as we left the river for the open sea. During the afternoon voyage we encountered Herring Gull, more Lesser Black-backed Gull, two Fulmar and a small group of Starling.

We would like to thank DFDS Seaways for enabling us to survey this route. Our thanks go to the Captain, his officers and crew for making us so welcome on board the Flandria Seaways whilst we were surveying.

Andrew Boulden and Jenny Boatwright, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Lines ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe to Vlaardingen survey 29th April 2014

Posted 22 May 2014

Bob Graves and Mary Colledge, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Summary of Weather and Conditions
Sea state 1-3, wind, light, WSW to NW and variable visibility starting generally good, but with reduced visibility on approach to Dutch coast and fog for an hour or so on the return journey. The best visibility was for the last hour before dusk on westerly crossing.

Species Recorded
Cetaceans and mammals

Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena 13
White Beaked Dolphin Lagenorhynchus albirostris 1

Seabirds
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 19
Common Gull Larus canus 1
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 97
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 55
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 91
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 6
Gannet Morus bassanus 47
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 3
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 550
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 861
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 2
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 43
Unidentified Gull sp. 1

Land birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 14
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 1
Coot Fulica atra 2
Gadwall Anas strepera 110
Greylag Goose Anser anser 173
Jackdaw Corvus monedula 43
Magpie Pica pica 1
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 3
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 597
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 2
Redshank Tringa totanus 1
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus 1

Mary Colledge and I recently completed a very successful survey aboard the DFDS vessel Flandria Seaways.

We were welcomed on board by the captain and his ever-helpful, ever-friendly, multi-national crew for a relaxed but long and tiring day on the bridge. After a 05.30 start, for the first hour events were somewhat uninspiring from a wildlife perspective with only 13 birds sighted; of which 10 were Lesser Black-backed Gulls. However, the action gradually increased with our first Harbour Porpoise sighting just after 7am which lifted spirits significantly and 2 further Harbour Porpoise encounters followed on the outward crossing. Avian highlights included 85 Common Scoter in 4 flocks on their northward migration, 8 Sandwich Tern (observed in ones and twos having recently arrived from the south) and an unexpected mid-crossing Redshank.

Imm Gannet-RobertGraves.jpgThe Flandria Seaways left exactly on time for the return journey. The river provided surprising numbers of Mute Swan in scattered large groups, given the time of year we expected them to be in their breeding habitat. Other well represented water birds were Gadwall and Greylag Geese. Common and Sandwich Tern were feeding amongst the gulls and a single Common Sandpiper flew along the shoreline.

The return journey proved to be even more eventful for cetaceans with 10 separate Harbour Porpoise encounters involving 13 animals plus a single White-beaked Dolphin; ample reward for the long hours of observation. On the way back 2 Great Skua as well as 2 Red-throated Diver were noted amongst the many birds observed.

We were fortunate enough to have calm conditions throughout. Bad lights stopped play at 20.30 BST bringing a most enjoyable and successful survey to a close. Very special thanks to DFDS Seaways and their crew for this fantastic opportunity.

Bob Graves and Mary Colledge, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways vessel ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe to Vlaardingen survey 25th March 2014

Posted 28 March 2014

Carol Farmer-Wright and Susannah Fleiss, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Summary of Weather and Conditions
Outward journey was sunny with good visibility but frequent glare: south-easterly wind force 5.
Return journey was cloudier, again with good visibility but glare at times: north-easterly wind force 4-5.

 

Summary of Sightings
Marine Mammals
Unidentified Seal sp.  1

Seabirds
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 12
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 12
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 143
Parasitic (Arctic) Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 71
Common Gull Larus canus 46
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 194
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 72
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 20
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 298
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 115
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 1
Commic Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 3
Guillemot Uria aalge 2
Razorbill Alca torda 1
Unidentified Auk sp. 4
Unidentified Gull sp. 3
Unidentified Larus sp. 1007
Unidentified Loon sp. 1
Unidentified Tern sp. 1

River Birds
Common Coot Fulica atra 21
Gadwall Anas strepera 606
Goosander Mergus merganser 1
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 8
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 8
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 212
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator 4
Pochard Aythya farina 8
Eurasian Wigeon Anas Penelope 21
Unidentified Duck sp. 214

Terrestrial Birds
Buzzard Buteo buteo 2
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 5
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 13
Feral Pigeon Columba livia 5
Unidentified Goose sp. 4

Kittiwake Rob-Petley-Jones 02Surveys completed at this time of year are always exciting as bird migration has started and affords the opportunity to see both late overwintering birds and early migrants on passage to their summer breeding grounds. With this in mind we completed boarding procedures and joined the Flandria Seaways late on Monday evening and settled down to sleep in the comfortable cabins provided for us.

We awoke just before dawn and joined the bridge crew to begin our observations by which time we were half way across the North Sea. The sky was clear and bright, a light mist could be seen on the horizon. Most of the birds we observed on the eastbound crossing were in silhouette against the welcome spring sunshine. Kittiwake, Herring Gull, Great and Lesser Black-backed Gull were in evidence together with Gannet and the occasional auk or Common Gull. Two hours into the survey we encountered two groups of Little Gull flying in a north easterly direction towards the Dutch coast.

Kittiwake

Bottling Grey Seal (R.Morris)The last hour of the eastbound survey is conducted along the river connecting Rotterdam to the North Sea, many birds can be seen along this stretch of industrial hinterland during the year.  During our eastbound journey we observed many ducks, the majority in silhouette together with Mute Swan. We docked at Vlaardingen and returned to the driver's canteen to have a delicious lunch.

As we started our return journey the sun was partially obscured by high cloud. Most of the ducks observed on our eastbound leg could now be identified as Gadwall with the occasional Mallard, Pochard and Wigeon in evidence. Forty minutes after entering the North Sea we encountered a further flock of 250 Little Gull travelling northward. Ten minutes later we spotted a solitary Arctic Skua harassing a Kittiwake in the hope of a meal. A further group of Kittiwake were seen before the setting sun drew our survey to a close. Sadly we were unable to observe any cetaceans on this survey but were afforded a brief glimpse of a seal as we entered the North Sea on our return leg.

Seal (Rick Morris)

We would like to thank DFDS Seaways for enabling us to survey this route. Our personal thanks go to Captain Olsen, his officers and crew for making us so welcome on board the Flandria Seaways whilst we were surveying.

Carol Farmer-Wright and Susannah Fleiss, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife survey report: DFDS Seaways ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe-Vlaardingen survey 24-25 February 2014

Posted 06 March 2014

Steve Morgan and Ali Quinney, Research Sureyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity no. 1110884; Registered Company no. 5057367)

Weather: sea state mostly 3-4, wind southerly and visibility moderate-good

Summary of sightings

Cetaceans and mammals
Common Seal Phoca vitulina 3
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 6

Seabirds
Gannet Morus bassanus 4
Great Cormorant Phalocrocorax carbo 83
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 203
Little Gull Hydrocoleus minutus 12
Common Gull Larus canus 56
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 360
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 53
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 9
Guillemot Uria aalge 40
Unidentified Gull sp 735
Unidentified Auk sp 2

Land birds
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 11
Greylag Goose Anser anser 16
Canada Goose Branta canadensis 2
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 15
Wigeon Anas penelope 629
Gadwall Anas strepera 117
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 11
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula 44
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 13
Coot Fulicula atra 7
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 4
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo 1
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 68
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 11
Jackdaw Corvus monedula 5
Starling Sturnus vulgaris 1
Magpie Pica pica 3
Unidentified Duck Sp  77
Unidentified Wader Sp  10

When we boarded the Flandria Seaways at the Felixstowe terminal we were immediately taken under the wing of the helpful and friendly staff. We were fed and watered and shown to our very comfy cabins and after a good night's sleep at sea we arose in time to watch a stunning sunrise. After a filling breakfast we were shown to the bridge and set ourselves up for the survey on the starboard side.

Harbour Porpoise Rick Morris 01a
Harbour Porpoise (Archive photo: Rick Morris)

Despite a choppy start to the survey seabird numbers were steady with Guillemot, Kittiwake and Lesser Black-backed Gull making regular appearances over the next few hours. As the survey continued and we headed closer toward the Dutch coast the sea state improved and we saw a flock of adult Little Gull, a first for me. A Common Seal and 2 Harbour Porpoise were sighted before entering the mouth of the river, one Harbour Porpoise immediately below us only a few feet away from the bow of the ship. The sea state became calm and gulls started coming in thick and fast as we entered the river including large numbers of Black-headed, Herring and Common Gull. Numerous Cormorant and Oystercatcher were found standing on the sea wall whilst great rafts of Widgeon and Tufted Duck were alongside it. Great Crested Grebe, Canada and Greylag Geese also made an appearance as we slowly made our way up the river toward port. As we berthed at Vlaardingen we enjoyed great views of gulls flying close to the windows of the bridge providing an opportunity for gull identification and plumage training for myself by Steve.

After some warm lunch and a few hours shut eye we took to our posts again on the bridge as the ship set sail for the second leg of the voyage. We were treated to heavy rainfall for a short time so with the windscreen wipers on we carried on and identified the gulls and ducks as well as we could. During one particularly heavy gull influx the Captain and his officer spotted a Common Seal right in front of the ship and, much to the Captain's delight, Steve and I didn't see it. We were preoccupied with counting large numbers of gull 'sp'.

The journey up the river provided great views of large numbers of Gadwall along the river bank, along with Grey Heron and corvids. At the mouth of the river along the sea wall another Common Seal was spotted 'bottling'. The journey back was calm and the sea state and light provided perfect conditions for spotting cetaceans. The last few hours of day light were quiet on the seabird front, a few auks here and there and the largest proportion of gull sp. recorded flying around a fishing vessel. We kept our eyes peeled, scanning the sea, questioning every breaking wave and hoping for signs of more cetaceans. By the time we lost the light 4 more Harbour Porpoise had been recorded.

Ali Quinney and Steve Morgan surveying
Ali and Steve surveying (Photo: Ali Quinney)

As the sun went down we thanked the captain and officer of the watch and left the bridge to collate all the data. My first survey was a great success and it was real a privilege to spend time on the bridge, the best location for watching seabirds and cetaceans as views of the ocean and its inhabitants don't get much better than that.

Very special thanks to DFDS Seaways and their crew for this fantastic opportunity.

DFDS Seaways Felixstowe-Vlaardingen surveys

Posted 31 January 2014

November-January surveys on this route are not scheduled due to insufficient daylight hours.

The next survey will be February.

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Lines ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe to Vlaardingen survey 28th - 29th October 2013

Posted 06 November 2013

Graham Ekins and Phil Wallace, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Summary of Weather
Eastbound: Force 6-8, WSW-SW variable cloud with occasional, distant heavy rain squalls; Westbound: Force 5-7 SW-WNW, with intermittent heavy rain squalls.

Species Recorded
Cetaceans
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 3

Seabirds
Common Scoter   Melanitta nigra 1
Red-throated Diver  Gavia stellata 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 124
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 248
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 3
Pomarine Skua  Stercorarius pomarinus 1
Arctic skua  Stercorarius parasiticus 1
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 674
Common Gull   Larus canus 98
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 894                                                                          
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 23
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 682
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 7
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 47
Razorbill Alca torda 16
Guillemot   Uria aalge 3
Puffin Fratercula arctica 3

Land birds seen offshore
Bar-tailed Godwit   Limosa lapponica 10

Land birds
Great-crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 4
Grey Heron  Ardea cinerea 2
Hen Harrier  Circus cyaneus 1
Sparrowhawk  Accipiter nisus 2
Mute Swan  Cygnus olor 101
Egyptian Goose  Alopochen aegyptiaca 2
Greylag Goose  Anser anser 48
Mallard  Anas platyrhynchos 27
Gadwall  Anas strepera 238
Wigeon  Anas penelope 549
Teal  Anas crecca 12
Coot  Fulica atra 2
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 35
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 1
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 135
Turnstone Arenaria interpres 11
Curlew  Numenius arquata 5
Purple Sandpiper  Calidris maritima 3
Rook  Corvus frugilegus 15
Carrion Crow  Corvus corone 5
Jackdaw  Corvus monedula 45
Magpie  Pica pica 11
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 1
Starling  Sturnus vulgaris 120

Common GullOn arrival at the DFDS Felixstowe Terminal we were issued with our boarding documents by the helpful and friendly booking staff.  We were then driven to the newly painted and very smart looking Flandria Seaways.  The bursar took us to our comfortable cabins where we quickly settled down to a few hours of sleep unaffected by the strong winds blowing around this very stable ship.  At 05.45 we had a hot drink and then went to the bridge where we were welcomed by Captain Jens Olsen and his officers.  As we started the survey the wind was a force 7 to 8 with distant rain showers.  We recorded a constant stream of primarily adult Gannets and Kittiwakes heading south. We then came across a juvenile Pomarine Skua that briefly pursued a hapless Kittiwake before continuing its migration.  Over the next hour we also started to record small groups of Razorbills, several adult Little Gulls and a juvenile Arctic Skua - all apparently unaffected by the strong head winds. A few kilometres off the Dutch coast Phil picked up a flock of migrating Bar-tailed Godwit that passed the ship close to the wave tops. We also found the first of 3 juvenile Great Skuas.  As we approached the Dutch coast we identified a high flying Red-throated Diver closely followed by a Guillemot and 10 Razorbills.

Common Gull (Graham Ekins)

The very rough waters off the Dutch coast provided us with our first sighting of a Harbour Porpoise and before we docked we found 2 more.  We were delighted to get these records as it can be difficult to see small Cetaceans in rough seas.

Purple SandpiperBy the time we reached the entrance to the huge Vlaardingen Canal the wind had eased and the sun was starting to break through the clouds.  As we travelled to our berth we were kept busy recording the large numbers of gulls, ducks and waders roosting on the banks and breakwaters.

After an excellent lunch we collated the sightings and then had a rest before the start of the west bound journey.  We also found time to photograph the many Common Gulls of various ages that were active around the moored Flandria Seaways.

Purple Sandpiper (Photo: Graham Ekins)

As we passed east along the canal we had 2 flocks of Greylag Geese flying south in formation, it was likely that these were migrants from Scandinavia en-route to wintering grounds on the Dutch Polders.  On the long entrance breakwater we found several Turnstones feeding on the barnacle encrusted blocks, with them were 3 Purple Sandpipers, an unexpected find on North Sea Sunsetthis interesting survey. We were also surprised by the large numbers of adult Great Black-backed Gulls roosting together near the entrance with over 600 of this age group recorded.  Interestingly the majority of the immatures were seen offshore. As we continued west into the strengthening wind and frequent rain squalls we found several more Little Gulls, Kittiwakes and Gannets.  The highlight was seeing 3 Puffins close to the starboard side of the ship closely followed by a Balearic Shearwater, an endangered seabird that only breeds on islands in the Mediterranean.

We took the last GPS reading at 17.00 as the light was fading.  We then thanked Captain Jens Olsen and his staff for their excellent hospitality. After leaving the bridge we had a hot drink in the canteen and then enjoyed another excellent meal.  Before we docked at 22.30 we totalled the sightings which were 3 Cetaceans, 2828 seabirds and 1,375 land birds.

North Sea Sunset (Graham Ekins)

We would like to thank DFDS for providing continued support for this survey.

Graham Ekins and Phil Wallace, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Lines ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe to Vlaardingen survey 26th - 27th August 2013

Posted 12 September 2013

Michael Bamford and Ross Wheeler, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather
Out: Wind NE force 3-4 with good visibility. Return: Wind N-NNE force 4/5, reducing 3 with good visibility and significant glare.

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena 4

Seabirds
Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 3
Gannet  Morus bassanus 67
Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo 479
Great Skua  Stercorarius skua   1
Black-headed Gull  Chroicocephalus ridibundus   184
Common Gull  Larus canus 27
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 363
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus    364
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 8
Common Tern  Sterna hirundo 10
'Commic' Tern  Sterna hirundo/paradisaea  1
Gadwell Anas strepera 111
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1326
Mallard Duck Anas platyrhynchos 9
Canada Goose Branta canadensis 1
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 1
Coot Fulica atra 6
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus 8
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 10
Mixed Gull Species   514
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 2
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 84
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica 15
Turnstone spp. 18

DawnonFlandriaSeawaysWe boarded the Flandria Seaways on Bank holiday Monday, and thus there were very few trailers aboard. We were very hospitably received by the ship's Stewardess, and soon got our heads down for an early start.

We joined the bridge at 5.30 a.m. BST, in time to watch the sun come up (see picture).

Despite good visibility and a promising sea state, we saw few birds and no cetaceans, until a couple of Harbour porpoise put in an appearance just before the river entrance. As we reached the river there was evidence of returning migration with a small flock of Bar-tailed Godwit heading south.

Dawn on Flandria Seaways (Photo: Michael Bamford)

We worked frantically whilst moving up the river to keep up with the many birds we saw. This included a large volume of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull with mixed juveniles which were at times too numerous to count, evidently a successful breeding season. Additionally there were large numbers of Cormorant 'adorning' the river wall. There were also the usual large numbers of Mute Swan which were nearly all adults, with an admixture of Gadwall, Egyptian Geese, and waders, including a flock of Lapwing.

Following a sort out of the bird numbers and a brief shut-eye, the ship set off to return at 2.00pm BST. We again wrestled with the large number of birds along the river's edge which included some Sandwich and Common Tern. After leaving the river bird activity died away but again a couple of Harbour Porpoise, an adult and a smaller juvenile, showed in front of the ship.

Egyptian GooseEgyptian Goose (Photo: Michael Bamford)

 

We saw a mixture of Gannet of all ages whilst at sea, from the darkest of first year birds through a succession of motley plumages to the 'piano key' winged 5th year birds and adults. Light faded just after 8 p.m. and we totalled 3000 or so birds before docking at 11 p.m.

The trip was blessed with bright sunshine however this was a mixed blessing. Both the outbound trip to the East in the morning and the Westerly return in the afternoon were into the sun which meant quite heavy glare from the sea but we still both enjoyed the survey.

We offer our thanks to Captain Jens and his crew and the very efficient Dooley terminal operatives.

Michael Bamford and Ross Wheeler, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe to Vlaardingen survey 29-30th July 2013

Posted 09 August 2013

Andrew Boulden and Lee Slater; Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena    2

Seabirds
Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis                    1                             
Gannet  Morus bassanus                      23                          
Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo             93                                          
Common Gull  Larus canus                  116                                        
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus               34                                          
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus   34                          
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 317                        
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla                     5
Common Tern  Sterna hirundo               26          
Mute Swan Cygnus olor                        665        
Mallard Duck Anas platyrhynchos           21          
Greylag Goose Anser anser                  16                          
Coot Fulica atra                                  2                                             
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus   9                                             
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus    13          
Gull Species                                     309

Terrestrial Birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone                  13
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus            6
Swallow Hirundo rustica                        1
Starling Sturnus vulgaris                      15

We gently slipped from our mooring from Dooley Terminal, Felixstowe, at 03:00am as the majority of the Suffolk coast slept in their beds. We passed the Languard Point in the glow of the night and arrived on the bridge of the Flandria Seaways at 05:00 for first light. We were welcomed by a glorious sunrise, with rays streaming from behind the clouds. The strong wind from the days before had settled slightly but we were still left with a sea state 5, making the spotting of small cetaceans challenging.

CormorantWe were accompanied on our passage into Dutch waters by a few Gannets, Great Black-backed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull. We also encountered a few early morning cormorants. As we reached the Nieuwe Waterweg (Rotterdam Canal) we encountered hundreds of mute swans, and some Herring Gull which joined us for the remainder of our voyage into Vlaardingen.

Cormorant (Adrian Shephard)

After the excellent breakfast we were served in the drivers mess, we mustered shortly after departing Vlaardingen and returned to the bridge at circa 14:30 BST for the return leg. As we left the port we noted that there were joggers and cyclists along the banks of the canal enjoying the sea air with their daily exercise.

On our passage along the waterway we encountered more gulls and observed some Oystercatcher feeding on the banks in the intertidal zone alongside geese and a few crows that passed across us. As we entered the open sea we saw many Cormorant drying themselves along the breakwater.

Harbour Porpoise

Harbour Porpoise

Out at sea we encountered a solitary Swallow making its way eastward, being buffeted by the wind. As the sea state began to lower to a sea state 3 we were also happy to spot two adult Harbour Porpoise towards our starboard side. As the light faded we came down from the bridge to enjoy our delicious dinner before docking once again in Felixstowe.

My thanks go to the Captain, bridge officers and crew of the Flandria Seaways for their kind hospitality during our voyage. I also wish to thank those at Dooley Terminal for their help and efficiency in organising our transport to/from the vessel.

Andrew Boulden and Lee Slater, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

 

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe to Vlaardingen survey 29-29th May 2013

Posted 31 May 2013

Graham Ekins and Elaine Cursons, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Eastbound: Force 3-4 E/SE; Westbound: E/NE

Cetaceans/ Seals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena  14
Grey Seal  Halichoerus grypus   1

Seabirds
Common Scoter   Melanitta nigra  119
Manx Shearwater  Puffinus puffinus    1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 52
"Blue" Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis  1   
Gannet Morus bassanus   46 
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo    910 
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus   136 
Common Gull Larus canus   45 
Herring Gull Larus argentatus     798
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus  2874  
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus   4
Kittiwake Risa tridactyla     98
Arctic Tern  Sterna paradisaea   5 
Common Tern  Sterna hirundo   544
Sandwich Tern   Sterna sandvicensis   49
Gullemot   Uria aalge   1
Puffin  Fratercula arctica  1

River Birds
Whiskered Tern  Childonias hybrida   2
Spoonbill  Platalea leucorodia   4
Great Crested Grebe  Podiceps cristatus  37
Mute Swan   Cygnus olor      784
Greylag Goose     Anser anser  6
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca   4
Mallard  Anas platyrhynchos  31
Gadwall   Anas strepera   10
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus   2
Carrion Crow  Corvus corone    1
Jackdaw  Corvus monedula     7
Collared Dove  Streptopelia decaocto  6
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur  1 
Woodpigeon   Columba polumbus  3
Swallow  Hirundo rustica  1

Migrant birds on/around ship
Sanderling  Calidris alba   7
Swallow   Hirundo rustica  3
House Martin  Delichon urbica  1
Linnet  Carduelis cannabina    1

CT 1On arrival at the Dooley Terminal, Felixstowe, the DFDS Administration Manager efficiently organised our tickets and transport to the recently re-painted and very smart Flandria Seaways.  On board we were able to organise access to the bridge for the following morning and then retired to bed in our well-appointed cabins.  The following morning the sun rose over an almost cloudless sky.  The force 3/4 easterly made finding Cetaceans challenging and we only managed to see 1 Harbour Porpoise by the time the Dutch coast came into view.  By contrast birds were very much in evidence with a highlight being a flock of 7 summer plumaged Sanderling that flew across the bow heading north to their Arctic breeding grounds in Greenland or eastern Canada.  We also had a Puffin and a steady stream of Fulmars, Gannets and a few Kittiwakes.  3 kms off the Dutch coast we came across a Storm Petrel feeding in the rough water over a sand bank.  Spring birds are scarce in Dutch waters.

Captain Henri Luffe was very interested in our seabird and cetacean sightings and told us off his own wildlife experiences while sailing off The Azores.

As we sailed up the huge Nieuwe Waterweg (Rotterdam Canal) we passed hundreds of Cormorants either roosting on the 2km long breakwater or fishing close by.  On the south side of the canal we passed many hundreds of nests of Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls.  It appeared that the majority were still incubating their eggs. On the river were many fishing Common Terns with one group of 80 noted where 2 canals joined.  On the North side close to a series of small lakes we were delighted to see 2 summer plumaged Whiskered Terns and feeding close by in a muddy bay 4 Spoonbills.

Nieuwe WaterwegAfter a superb meal we processed the data collected from the east-bound crossing.  By 2.30 we were back on the bridge for the west bound leg of the survey.  As we passed down the canal we saw many immature Mute Swans and 37, a surprisingly high number, of summer plumaged Great-crested Grebes.  Just offshore a flock of 105 Common Scoter were noted heading north at a rapid speed, the second flock of the survey.  We also saw many Sandwich Terns and 3 Arctic Terns fishing in the rough water a few kms offshore.  As we travelled west the cloud cover increased and mid North Sea we had intermittent light rain.  This coincided with 3 Barn Swallows overtaking the ship heading rapidly SW followed by a Linnet.  A little earlier we had a House Martin pass the boat heading east.

The conditions for Cetacean watching were superb and 13 Harbour Porpoises were logged including a group of 4 busy fishing, accompanied by several Kittiwakes and 2 Fulmars, one of which was a superb blue morph.  With the lowering cloud and decrease in visibility we finished the survey at 9.00pm having had a very enjoyable time.   Before we left the bridge we thanked Captain Henri Luffe for the hospitality shown by him and all of his crew during our stay on board his ship.

Graham Ekins and Elaine Cursons, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe to Vlaardingen survey 30th April 2013

Posted 24 May 2013

Carol Farmer-Wright and Emma Howe-Andrews, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather: Outward - partial cloud, good visibility: northerly wind force 4.  Return - brighter, good visibility with glare at times: north-easterly wind force 4-6.

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 10

Seabirds
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 5
Gannet Morus bassanus 52
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 170
Parasitic (arctic) Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 58
Common Gull Larus canus 96
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 573
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 930
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 309
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 74
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 3
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 141
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 1
Black Tern Chlidonias niger 1
Guillemot Uria aalge 5
Razorbill Alca torda 7
Unidentified Loon sp. 3
Unidentified Medium Gull sp.1
Unidentified Tern sp. 7
Mixed Larus sp 92

River Birds
Common Coot Fulica atra 10
Gadwall Anas strepera 94
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 4
Greylag Goose Anser anser 1
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 8
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 195
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 3

Terrestrial Birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 30
Feral Pigeon Columba livia 1
House Martin Delichon urbicum 1
Jackdaw Corvus monedula 22
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 1

Gannet CF-WWe arrived at Felixstowe port on Monday evening and joined the ship shortly after it docked. We were shown to our cabins and retired to bed to get some sleep before the survey started at dawn the next day.

We awoke to clear skies and calm seas having just crossed into Dutch waters. Kittiwake, Gannet and the occasional tern species were encountered in the first few hours of the survey. As we approached the Dutch coast, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Great Black-backed Gull became more prevalent and we were fortunate to catch sight of an adult Artic Skua. Two Harbour Porpoise were seen at this time, the first animal only 70 metres away from the ship.

 

VlaardingenTo reach Vlaardingen the vessel has to negotiate the Nieuwe Waterweg. This is the ship canal that connects Rotterdam to the North Sea. The south side of the canal has an artificial spit that is used by birds as a safe nesting ground. Early pairings of Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gulls are now starting to claim nesting sites. This bank may, by the height of the breeding season, have up to 1000 birds raising their young there.

On arriving at Vlaardingen we noticed that many of the windmills had been decorated with flags to mark the occasion of King Willem-Alexander being crowned.

 

Great Black Backed CF-WOnce the ship had been loaded we retraced our route along the canal and returned to the North Sea. The wind had strengthened and the conditions were less conducive to cetacean sightings. Imagine our delight and surprise, considering the sea state, when less than 10 miles into the North Sea and within a space of an hour we encountered seven Harbour Porpoise, one sighting included a juvenile that was clearly seen as it swam with its mother past the starboard side of the vessel.

After this encounter cetacean and bird sightings tailed off. As the sun started to set over the North Sea we concluded our survey having thanked Captain Henri, his officers and crew for their hospitality. Our thanks are also extended to DFDS Seaways for making these surveys possible.

Carol Farmer-Wright and Emma Howe-Andrews, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife blog: DFDS Seaways Flandria Seaways Felixstowe – Vlaardingen 26 March 2013

Posted 28 March 2013

Mike Bamford; Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Weather: Eastbound 5-6 E-ENE; Westbound 3-5 E-ESE

Cetaceans and mammals:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 4

Seabirds:
Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 5
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 37
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 10
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 186
Common Gull Larus canus 37
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 805
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 104
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 10
Little Gull Larus minutus 3
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 14
Puffin Fratercula arctica 1
Guillemot Uria aalge 42
Unidentified Auk sp. 10 

Terrestrial & River Birds
Coot Fulica atra 6
Gadwall Anas strepera 238
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 3
Greylag Goose Anser anser 5
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus 3
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 6
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 2
Wigeon Anas Penelope 477
Teal Anas crecca 2

Puffin 2With the cold wind from the East for several days, prior to the trip, I suspect most wildlife was hunkered down waiting for the return of Spring. The return of first light to just before 6 am was a bonus though. 

Auks, including a solitary Puffin, were the main birds seen until the River mouth, where the water calmed, and there were quick views of 3 singleton Harbour Porpoise. In the River, unusually, there were very few Mute Swan, but, apart from gulls, there were significant numbers of Wigeon, and Gadwall. Near the mooring was a large (>1000) flock of loafing Tufted Duck, which, however, could not be counted 'off effort'.

 

Little GullOn the return trip, the wind stayed brisk, in bright sunshine, and again a single porpoise was seen over several leisurely surfaces near the river entrance.  Shortly afterwards, three Little Gull were seen in their characteristic tern-like flight. As the sun came round to the west, viewing became more difficult into the glare, but towards evening a highlight was a Black-throated Diver, through the 'box' in determined flight north-eastwards toward its Scandinavian breeding areas.

Once again thank you to the Captain and crew of the Flandria Seaways, who were very helpful, and welcoming and to the very efficient staff at the Dooley terminal.

Mike Bamford; Research Surveyor for MARINElife

   

MARINElife blog: DFDS Seaways Flandria Seaways Felixstowe – Vlaardingen 26 February 2013

Posted 15 March 2013

Carol Farmer-Wright and Helen Turnock, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather: Eastbound 4-5 ENE, return leg 3-4 NE. Cloudy sea state 3-1.

Cetaceans and mammals:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 7
Unidentified Dolphin sp 2
Medium sized whale (possible Northern Bottlenose Whale Hyperoodon ampullatus) 1

Seabirds:
Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 11
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 21
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 60
Common Gull Larus canus 278
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 142
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 40
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 30
Little Gull Larus minutus 2
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 17
Guillemot Uria aalge 109
Razorbill Alca torda 3
Unidentified Auk sp. 3
Unidentified Goose sp. 30
Unidentified Gull sp. 655

Terrestrial & River Birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 18
Coot Fulica atra 1
Gadwall Anas strepera 38
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 1
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 1
Greylag Goose Anser anser 13
House crow Corvus splendens 1
Magpie Pica pica 6
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 10
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 8
Mute swan Cygnus olor 6
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 1
Common Pochard Aythya farina 8
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 1
Wigeon Anas Penelope 409
Mixed duck sp. 1341 ( Wigeon, Pochard and Gadwall)

KittiwakeWe arrived at Felixstowe on Monday evening and were escorted to the ship shortly after it docked to settle down for the night. We awoke before dawn, had breakfast and were invited onto the bridge. The North Easterly wind had created a mild swell on the North Sea that subsided as we approached the Dutch coast. Gannet, Guillemot and Kittiwake were in evidence as we started our survey, the Guillemot still in winter plumage but some of the Gannet had already started to develop their breeding finery.  Captain Luffe joined the bridge and advised us that he had seen in the past few weeks a whale surfacing between his ship and another vessel close by.

Six miles from the mouth of the River Maas the sea swell had subsided and we had our first sighting of a cetacean. Two dolphins, one adult and one juvenile briefly appeared on the starboard side of the vessel, frustratingly too quick to identify with any certainty.  Ten minutes later in the distance we had a further sighting, a large light grey-brown animal with a very slow roll and thick based dorsal fin, possibly a Northern Bottlenose Whale.

HarbourPorpoise Felix02/13We then entered the river section of our survey. Herring Gull and Black-headed Gull were evident. Along the river bank, large numbers of Gadwall, Wigeon and Pochard were encountered; many of them appeared to have paired up ready for the breeding season.  We docked at the terminal in Vlaardingen and started to compile our sightings.

Daylight hours would enable us to survey the 30 miles west of the Dutch coast. Two miles from the river mouth we encountered a Harbour Porpoise. Seven animals were seen over the next six miles.

With the light fading, we left the bridge after a very rewarding survey.

Our thanks go to DFDS Seaways and Captain Luffe, his Officers and crew for making this survey possible.

Carol Farmer-Wright and Helen Turnock, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe Vlaardingen 'Flandria Seaways' 30th October 2012

Posted 16 November 2012

Philip Dutt and Pat Howard, MARINElife Research Surveyors

Weather: NW-SE Moderate winds

Marine mammals:
Common seal Phoca vitulina 1

Seabirds:
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 43
Red throated Diver Gavia stellata  2
Gannet Morus bassanus 18
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 301
Parasitic (Arctic) Skua Stercorarius parasiticus  1
Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 42
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 12
Common Gull Larus canus 21
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus  265
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 2
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 93
Large gulls (unidentified) Larus Sp. 30
Guillemot Uria aalge  8

River Birds:
Mute swan Cygnus olor  77
Gadwall Anas strepera  203
Mallard Anas platyrynchos  6
Wigeon Anas penelope  73
Teal Anas crecca  3
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 1
Coot Fulica atra  22

Terrestrial Birds:
Common buzzard Buteo buteo  2
Oystercatcher Hæmatopus ostralegus  1
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 125
Curlew Numenius arquata  2
Carrion crow Corvus corone  12
Jackdaw Corvus monedula  1
Magpie Pica pica  2
Starling Sturnus vulgaris  1

Arctic Skua JuvOur overnight crossing was quite smooth but the following day was not quite smooth enough to be ideal for Porpoise spotting. We had good visibility though with occasional light rain and slight glare. Winds were never more than moderate blowing from the northwest to start with but they were south-easterly by the time we reached Vlaardingen. We had good views of Mediterranean Gull, Long-tailed and Arctic Skua, but no cetaceans and only one marine mammal - a Common Seal.  In the light of recent press coverage about exhausted migrants, we kept an eye out for any birds seeking refuge on the ship. We did not see any although there were significant numbers of Lapwing near the river.

For the return journey, the wind was westerly. Our daylight was cut short by a very persistent and dark bank of glowering cloud, which turned the sea an inky black.

Once again, our thanks go to the galley and bridge crew of the Flandria Seaways for making this a very enjoyable crossing and to the shore staff at the Felixstowe office for getting us safely to the vessel.

Philip Dutt and Pat Howard, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe Vlaardingen “Flandria Seaways” 25th September 2012

Posted 30 September 2012

Fraser Paterson, Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Weather: Outward - overcast, good visibility: south-westerly wind force 6. Return - brighter, good visibility with glare at times: south-westerly wind force 5-6

Cetacea
Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata  1

Seabirds
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 77
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3
Great Skua Stecorarius skua 5
Parasitic (Arctic) Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 1
Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus 2
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 22
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 3
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 3
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 2
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 18
Guillemot Uria aalge 2

River Birds  
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 371
Greylag Goose Anser anser 1
Wigeon Anas Penelope 35
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 75
Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 2
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 329
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea  1
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 2
Coot  Fulica atra 41
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 125
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 10
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 1
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 317
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 1248
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 185
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 59
Collared Dove  Streptopelia decaocto 4
Greater-spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major 1
Magpie Pica pica 13
Jay Garrulus glandarius 2
Starling Sturnus vulgaris  c. 4475
Unidentified gull sp.  c. 55
Unidentified corvids c. 70
Unidentified pipit sp.  4
Unidentified warbler sp.  1

Terrestrial Birds (at sea)
Unidentified pipit sp.  1

Long Tailed SkuaFollowing the previous day's stormy weather, the outbound crossing was still a little 'choppy' when the survey began as soon as it was light enough to make observations. Our passage was generally quiet and dominated by sightings of individual Gannets, with the only variations being occasional gulls, a small group of 'Commic' Terns and a single Guillemot, until the river entrance - Monday's winds had obviously driven everything else away! However, an hour from Vlaardingen, a dark phase juvenile Arctic Skua and two Long-tailed Skua, an adult and intermediate phase juvenile, flew right under the bow and lit up the morning.

A probable Purple Sandpiper was on the northern breakwater, a Whimbrel flew over the ship about 1 km inland, and there was a flock of c. 4000 Starling swirling around. The tidal river had the usual mix of Cormorant and Greater / Lesser Black-backed, Herring and Black-headed Gull, sheltering from the winds, and further inland good numbers of Mute Swan and Mallard hugged the banks.

The ship left on schedule and the calmer seas and lighter winds initially bode well for the return trip, with groups of Common, 'Commic' and Sandwich Terns being observed in the coastal area. Nevertheless, conditions gradually worsened as we pulled away from the coast and the morning's pattern of isolated Gannet sightings was repeated, although a single Guillemot and 5 Great Skua were welcome distractions.

Minke WhaleCetacean watching was frustrating due to the wind and waves and only a probable single Minke Whale was seen during the trip. The animal, which was larger than any dolphins likely to be encountered on the route, was seen doing a high roll about 400 m directly in front of the ship, then just a fleeting glimpse of its dorsal fin as it swam away. 

Once again, many thanks go to Captain Fleming Langballe and the crew of the Flandria Seaways, who made this a very enjoyable crossing, and to the Felixstowe operations staff.

Fraser Paterson, Research Surveyor for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe Vlaardingen “Flandria Seaways” 27th August 2012

Posted 05 September 2012

Michael Bamford and Emma Bateman, Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Outward - overcast, good visibility: south-westerly wind force 3. Return - bright, good visibility with glare: westerly wind force 5-6

Cetaceans:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 4

Seabirds:
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 31
Gannet Morus bassanus 81
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 570
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 2
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus 1
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 79
Common Gull Larus canus 25
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 93
Unidentified Gull Sp. 172
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 3
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 20
Unidentified Tern Sp 11

Terrestrial Birds
Greylag Goose Anser anser 125
Gadwall Anas strepera 15
Mallard Anus platyrhynchos 8
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 1
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1032
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 180
Lapwing  20

Harbour Porpoise 2We were greeted very efficiently and escorted to the Flandria Seaways in the nearby dock. After climbing the steep stairway to the driver's area we settled as soon as possible pending an early start at 5.45 the next day in mid North Sea. Although the weather was overcast the sea was unexpectedly slight and visibility good. Soon after arriving on the bridge we saw a pair of Harbour Porpoises ('lazy dolphins', as described to us by the officer on watch). Thereafter we saw largely Gannets on the open sea pending the frenzy of birds in the river, and a further pair of porpoises.

Going upriver there were, as usual, large numbers of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, many of them first year birds, and a surprisingly large number of Cormorants. The resident Mute Swans were present in large numbers, but no cygnets: presumably these were still on smaller waterways. There were a number of eclipse Gadwall and Mallard ducks evident as well as roosting flocks of Oystercatchers and a small flock of Lapwings. We were also treated to a close flypast by a female Sparrowhawk.

Common Tern ad sum 2The return journey started an hour before schedule, down the very busy river. Conditions had brightened up, but unfortunately the wind had risen to force 6, and with a westerly course into the afternoon and evening glare from the sun, viewing conditions were tricky. A small mixed tern flock appeared at the mouth of the river, including Common and Sandwich terns with some being first year birds. At sea birds became fewer, but Fulmars put in an appearance plus a juvenile skua that appeared too bulky to be an Arctic Skua, and with wing flashes that suggested a juvenile Pomarine.

At sunset just before 8.pm, we left the bridge to count up the 3,500 or so birds we had logged, before arriving in Felixstowe around 11pm.

With thanks to the bridge crew, and the DFDS port staff at Felixstowe, and not least to the ship's cook - we rolled off the ship significantly heavier than we went on board!

Michael Bamford and Emma Bateman, Research Surveyor for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe Vlaardingen “Flandria Seaways” 31st July 2012

Posted 05 August 2012

Carol Farmer-Wright, Research Surveyor for MARINElife 

Weather: Outbound: SW-S 3-4 high cloud Return leg: S-SSW 4-6 cloudy.

Seabirds:
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet Morus bassanus 23
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 529
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 231
Common Gull Larus canus 22
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 439
Unidentified Gull Sp. 12
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 615
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 1
Unidentified mixed Gull sp. 15
Unidentified mixed Larus Sp. 1290
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 12
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 92

Terrestrial Birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 5
Feral Pigeon
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 1
Greylag Goose Anser anser 1
Mallard Anus platyrhynchos 75
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1945
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 20
Wood Pigeon Columba polumbus 1

I arrived on Monday evening and was welcomed aboard the 'Flandria Seaways' by a member of the crew, who escorted me to my cabin so that I could get some sleep before the survey on Tuesday.

I arrived on the bridge just as the sun was rising above the horizon and prepared for the survey. The North Sea was relatively quiet, only a few Gannets, Lesser Black-backed gulls and terns were to be seen before reaching the Nieuwe Waterweg River into Vlaardingen.

Cormorants and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were sitting on Cormorantthe breakwater at the entrance to the river and Juv-Gannet 002the breeding colony of Gulls on the south side now had fully developed chicks on it. Mute Swans were in evidence as were Common Terns with their young feeding in the water. Having docked at Vlaardingen I took the opportunity to start writing up my survey notes before the return trip.

We left shortly after 2 p.m. and Mute Swans were again in evidence. Mallard ducks, males in eclipse plumage and females with their young hugged the south bank. It wasn't long before we reached the North Sea. The wind was a little livelier on the return leg, an opportunity to see Gannets and Fulmars flying deftly over the waves. The light slowly faded and I left the bridge having thanked the officers for looking after me on the survey.

My thanks goes to DFDS Seaways, captain Thomas Stephensen, his officers and crew for looking after me so well whilst on the survey.

Carol Farmer-Wright, Research Surveyor for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe Vlaardingen “Flandria Seaways” 26th June 2012

Posted 02 July 2012

Carol Farmer-Wright and John Littlewood: Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather: outbound wind SE4-2 sunny with light cloud return leg wind NW3-1 developing S force 4 with increasing cloud

Cetaceans and mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena  20
Dead cetacean species 1

Seabirds:
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 27
Gannet Morus bassanus 16
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 399
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 38
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 81
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1352
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Mixed Larus Sp. 2044
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 3
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 147
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 22
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 1
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 15
Unidentified tern Sp. 8
Guillemot Uria aalge 1

Terrestrial Birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 2
Coot Fulicra atra 2
Curlew  Numenius arquata 4
Feral Pigeon Columba palumbus 31
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 7
Greylag Goose Anser anser 222
Jackdaw Corvus monedula 2
Magpie Pica pica 1
Mallard Anus platyrhynchos 1
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1567
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 32
Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarrellii 2
Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia 1
Starling Sturnus vulgaris 20

John Littlewood

We arrived at Felixstowe on Monday night and were welcomed aboard the 'Flandria Seaways' by the friendly crew.

We awoke before dawn and looked out to a calm sea with light cloud cover, ideal conditions for looking for cetaceans. By this time we were half way across the North Sea having left Felixstowe at 3 in the morning. We were soon recording Fulmars, Lesser Black-back gulls and the occasional Gannet. The calm seas then rewarded us with the first sighting of a Harbour Porpoise. Five further sightings of Harbour Porpoise occurred before we reached the Dutch coast.

As we approached the Hook of Holland the Lesser Black-back gulls were joined by Sandwich Terns and Cormorants. There is a large breeding colony of Lesser Black backed gulls on the south side of the river and there were many chicks to be seen amongst the adults on the shingle.

We were now about to travel through what I describe as the Club 18-30 of the Mute Swan world. Many immature swans seem to visit the tidal river over the summer. Both sides of the river had groups of swans varying from 2 to 20 individuals. Greylag Geese were also on the river, goslings were grouped in crèches. Sandwich Terns were replaced by Common and Arctic Terns as we moved further down the river towards the Vlaardingen berth.

We left the bridge having thanked Captain Stephensen and started to record the data from the mornings section of the survey before joining the ships officers for a delicious lunch.   

Our homeward journey began four hours later. Again we were to see many of the Mute Swans hugging the side of the river. The best sighting of the day was finding some Great Crested Grebes and shortly afterwards a solitary Spoonbill amongst the birds feeding by the river, it's black, spoon-shaped bill sweeping from side to side in the water searching for food. Again we passed the breeding colony of gulls and counted over 1200 birds on the shingle.

As we entered the North Sea the swans were replaced by Cormorants, one bird surfaced with a crab in its bill, realised the ship was bearing down on it, panicked and dropped meal and flew away. Once in the open sea Gannets and Fulmars started to appear and again the sea-state was favourable to see Harbour Porpoises sporadically during the return journey. This included one brief sighting of three animals together, one being slightly smaller than the others.

Eventually with the light fading, we left the bridge having had almost twelve hours surveying on the North Sea in excellent conditions.   

Our thanks go to Captain Thomas Stephensen, his Officers and crew for their hospitality and to DFDS Seaways for making this survey possible.

Carol Farmer-Wright and John Littlewood, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe Vlaardingen “Flandria Seaways” 6th June 2012

Posted 08 June 2012

Graham Ekins and Carol Farmer-Wright: Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather: Eastbound 2-4 SE variable low cloud and occasional rain showers; Westbound 5-6 SW-W occasional showers

Cetaceans/ Seals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 2
 
Seabirds
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 81
Gannet Morus bassanus 52
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 535
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 131 
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans 1
Common Gull Larus canus 149
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 748
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 2657
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 11
Kittiwake Risa tridactyla13
Little Tern Sterna albifrons 1
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 4
Common Tern Sterna hirundo139
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 46

Terrestrial Birds
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 4
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1269
Greylag Goose Anser anser 140
Canada Goose Branta Canadensis 5
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca 5
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 2
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 12
Gadwall Anas strepera 38
Coot Fulica atra 7
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 37
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 2
Crow Corvus corone 7
Jackdaw Corvus monedula 7
Magpie Pica pica 2
Woodpigeon Columba polumbus 3
Swallow Hirundo rustica 1

Migrant birds on/around ship
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 1
Swift Apus apus 1

On arrival at Felixstowe Dock we were issued our tickets and rapidly transported to the DFDS Flandria Seaways, where upon boarding we were shown to our cabins and offered the opportunity of a meal before we retired for the night. We went up on the bridge at 04:00 the following morning to a cloudy dawn and a little mist, however this did not stop us seeing seabirds, of which the majority were Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Gannets and Fulmars with the occasional Kittiwake. Two Dutch beam trawlers added to the interest with dozens of birds following in their wake. 

Captain Thomas Stephensen was very knowledgeable as to the sightings of Cetaceans on this crossing. He said that "on the Dutch side of the North Sea he and his officers regularly saw Porpoises and Dolphins while on watch". It was shortly after this discussion that we started to see our first Harbour Porpoises. 10nm off Vlaardingen the officer of the watch then brought to our attention a message from the captain of a nearby ship asking for those vessels in the vicinity to slow down as they had just seen a Whale off their starboard side, at this point we were 2.5nm miles to the west of this sighting and we believe it was most likely a Minke Whale, however any large Cetacean is notable in this area of the North Sea. 

Vlaargingen canalAs we approached the vast canal leading to Vlaardingen Harbour we observed more Harbour Porpoises and 2 bull Grey Seals. The work then began in earnest to record the many species seen along this tidal section and amongst the hundreds of gulls, Greylags, Gadwall, Great-crested Grebes, Mute Swans, Oystercatchers and Common Terns was a juvenile plumaged Caspian Gull. This bird flew across the river in front of Carol, landed and started to eat a fish on the foreshore. As the ship passed, great views were obtained through a telescope of the bird, its white head and belly,  flattened crown, small dark eyes, long straight bill and long legs and neck all helped to confirm the ID. As we neared Vlaardingen Harbour we saw increasing numbers of adult Common and Black-headed Gulls which up to now had been missing on the crossing, so by the time the Flandria Seaways had docked we had logged almost 2,000 birds.

After a delicious meal Captain Thomas Stephensen gave us permission to leave the ship so we decided to walk a circuit involving grassland, woodland and a stream adjacent to the grounds of a college and close to the Vlaardingen harbour entrance and in spite of the cool, showery conditions we managed to log the following summer visitors; Golden Oriole, Spotted Flycatcher, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff and at one point a Song Thrush and a Golden Oriole were singing almost in unison. 

We left our berth at 14.00 with the weather conditions greatly improved compared to our arrival but   as the skies cleared the wind increased to force 6 which made Cetacean watching very challenging.  As we moved down the Vlaardingen Canal it was alive with birds from Little Ringed Plovers to Egyptian Geese as well as hundreds of Cormorants, Mute Swans, Common Terns, Lesser Black-backed and Common Gulls. On reaching the open sea we encountered many Sandwich Terns successfully fishing for Sand Eels and small fish as well as a party of 4 Arctic Terns heading northwards. As we steamed SW towards Felixstowe we had a Whimbrel fly rapidly past the ship apparently unaffected by the strong head-wind. We continued to see Gannets and Fulmars as well as a single Manx Shearwater and on approaching the Suffolk coast, sightings of Gannets and Lesser Black-backed Gulls steadily increased.

Approaching Felixstowe docks at 21:15, we left the bridge and thanked Captain Thomas Stephensen for his hospitality and the friendliness shown by him and all of his crew during our stay on board his ship.

We would like to thank DFDS for providing continued support for this survey. 

Graham Ekins and Carol Farmer-Wright: Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Flandria Seaways' 24 April 2012

Posted 02 May 2012

Carol Farmer-Wright and Graham Ekins: MARINElife Research Surveyors
Weather: 

Cetaceans and mammals:
Bottlenose Dolphin 7
Harbour Porpoise 9
Harbour (Common) Seal 3

Seabirds:
Red-throated Diver 1
Great Crested Grebe 11
Fulmar 8
Gannet 51
Cormorant 164
Common Eider 4
Common Scoter 46
Great Skua 2
Pomarine Skua 1
Black-headed Gull 120
Common Gull 45
Mediterranean Gull 1
Herring Gull 1549
Yellow-legged Gull 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull 8523
Great Black-backed Gull 5
Little Gull 3
Unidentified Larus Sp. 2
Unidentified gull Sp. 3
Kittiwake 9
Sandwich Tern 127
Common Tern 122
Arctic Tern 44
'Commic' Tern 14
Unidentified tern Sp. 4
Puffin   2
Guillemot 9
Razorbill 6

Terrestrial Birds
Black-tailed Godwit 1
Canada Goose 1
Carrion Crow 1
Collared Dove 1
Common Buzzard 2
Common Sandpiper 1
Teal 9
Coot 7
Egyptian Goose 6
Gadwall 37
Great Crested Grebe 11
Grey Heron 1
Grey Plover 1
Greylag Goose 20
House Crow 3
House Martin 1
Jackdaw 35
Magpie 1
Mallard 30
Meadow Pipit 1
Mute Swan 161
Oystercatcher 9
Redshank 2
Siskin 1
Slavonian Grebe 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Starling 2
Swallow 1
Tufted Duck 1
Whimbrel 2
Wood Pigeon 8

We arrived at Felixstowe on Monday night and were welcomed aboard the 'Flandria Seaways' by the friendly crew. We were then given an evening meal before settling down for the night.

We awoke before dawn and looked out to a calm sea with cloud cover, ideal conditions for looking for cetaceans. By this time we were half way across the North Sea having left Felixstowe at 3 in the morning. We were soon recording Gannets, Fulmars and the occasional Sandwich Tern. The calm seas then rewarded us with sightings of a small group of three Harbour Porpoise and shortly afterwards a further pod of porpoises all travelling northwards in a leisurely fashion.

BND 2 After this we started to see small groups of Sandwich and Arctic Terns passing the ship heading North East migrating to their breeding grounds. Shortly after 8 a.m. a group of four Bottlenose Dolphins appeared that included a juvenile.  On nearing the coast we encountered Common Terns, Common Scoter, Cormorants and Lesser Black-back Gulls and two more harbour porpoise were seen before we headed up the river towards Vlaardingen. Two Common Seal were hauled out on a sandbank near the river mouth and a third was seen in the water.

The challenge to record birds was now in earnest. There were many birds to be seen on this tidal river and we were soon recording Lesser Black-backed gulls in breeding colonies, immature Mute Swans swimming close to the river bank, geese, ducks and waders. A few migrating passerines were also spotted. 

We berthed at Vlaardingen and were given a delicious lunch by the ship's chef.

Our homeward journey began four hours later. Many gulls, terns, grebes and ducks were recorded along the river together with sightings of House Crow.

On entering the North Sea we came upon a couple of fishing boats. One of these vessels was being escorted by a huge flock of around 2000 birds, primarily Lesser Black-backed and Herring gulls. Again shortly afterwards we were able to see Harbour Porpoise, this time three separate sightings of individual animals close to the coast and later a further sighting of three Bottlenose dolphin.

Captain Flandria Seaways The birding highlight of the day was spotted by Graham just after 6.15p.m. A Pomerine Skua making its way North approached the ship looking for food. Graham managed to get a photograph of the bird as it tracked us for a couple of minutes before deciding that we didn't have anything tasty to offer. We continued our journey west with views of Gannets and auks, our final sighting of the survey as dusk approached being a pair of Guillemots displaying on the sea, a wonderful way to end a very rewarding day.

Our thanks go to Captain Fleming Jensen, his Officers and crew for their hospitality and to DFDS Seaways for making this survey possible.

Carol Farmer-Wright and Graham Ekins, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Flandria Seaways' 27 March 2012

Posted 02 April 2012

John Perry and Philip Dutt: MARINElife Research Surveyors.
Weather:

Sea Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 9
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 2

Seabirds
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 12
Red-Throated Diver Gavia stellata 4
Black-Throated Diver Gavia arctica 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis
Gannet Morus bassanus 4
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 37
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 2
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus 1
Black-Headed Gull Larus ridibundus 3
Common Gull Larus canus 5
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 29
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 186
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 16
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 75
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 20
Razorbill Alca torda 4
Unidentified Diver Sp 1
Unidentified Gull Sp 168 

We were welcomed aboard the 'Flandria Seaways' by the crew and shown to our cabins where we had a very peaceful and much needed sleep as the ship sailed out of Felixstowe.  At first light, after an excellent breakfast, we were welcomed onto the bridge by Captain Fleming Jensen and his officers.

It was a glorious, sunny day with almost still conditions and immediately we were treated to a diving Gannet just off the prow.  A number of sightings of a range of gulls followed and also some early Common Terns returning to Northern waters after their winter in warmer climes.

Common Tern ad sum 1

Our quest for sea mammals was also rewarded with 2 Grey Seals 'spy-hopping' for a couple of minutes as well as a fleeting glimpse of a Harbour Porpoise.

As we approached Vlaardingen, we came across a flock of Common Scoter and increasing numbers of Cormorant.

Whilst the ship emptied and reloaded its cargo of trailers, we enjoyed lunch with the crew and then relaxed in the sunshine on the deck watching the busy operations of Vlaardingen Port.

We returned to the bridge for the return journey as the ship slowly navigated the bustling channel back out to the North Sea passing large numbers of Mute Swan and pairs of Gadwall on the way.

The return passage was every bit as pleasant as the outward journey and with an almost flat calm sea and good light, we were rewarded with great views of an early Pomarine Skua, Red and Black-throated Divers and a total of 8 more Harbour Porpoise.

The ship arrived in Felixstowe slightly ahead of schedule and the friendly crew waved us off as we left the ship.

A thoroughly worthwhile and enjoyable survey! 

John Perry and Philip Dutt, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Flandria Seaways' 28 February 2012

Posted 01 April 2012

Bob Graves and Toby Oliver: MARINElife Research Surveyors.
Weather:

Sea Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 13

Seabirds
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 3
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 68
Black-Headed Gull Larus ridibundus 165
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 209
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 11
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 51
Guillemot Uria aalge 2
Razorbill Alca torda 15

River Birds

Mute Swan Cygnus olor 5
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 20
Canada Goose Branta canadensis 2
Greylag Goose Anser anser 9
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 2
Gadwall Anas strepera 34
Shoveler Duck Anas clypeata 19
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca 18
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 41
Common Coot Fulica atra 13
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 19
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 1
Dunlin Calidris alpina 3
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata 1

Terrestrial Birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 14
Magpie Pica pica 1
Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 2
Feral Pigeon 1

We arrived at Felixstowe Docks, as arranged, at 22:45 on Monday 27th February to find a still and very mild night for the time of year.

The onshore formalities were dealt with quickly and efficiently by the friendly DFDS staff and we were whisked away to ship for a much welcomed dinner (especially for Toby who had travelled 6 hours from Wales) followed by bed.

The morning dawned grey and overcast but mild with little or no wind, which set the tone for the whole voyage making conditions ideal for the job at hand - no problems with glare or that low February sun! 

Harbour Porpoise 2The survey started at 7 o'clock UK time and we immediately recorded our first Kittiwakes with 8 in the first 15 minutes.  We didn't have to wait long for our first cetacean sighting either, with the first Harbour Porpoise seen at 8:15, followed by another 6 minutes later, both just off the bow of the ship.

Bird-wise the crossing was dominated, as expected, by gull species (very good numbers) with a single Fulmar, 5 auks - sadly too far out for a positive ID - and a sprinkling of Gannets adding extra interest.

As we neared the Dutch coast the activity increased even further. A further seven Harbour Porpoises were seen, two together and then a group of at least five, associated with an obvious current which must have provided good fishing.  The first Great Crested Grebes were also observed at the same time, and as we approached the breakwater at the mouth of the river Cormorants became a common sight.  Sailing along the river towards Vlaadingen provided just over an hour of manic bird recording, with a good selection of species including four species of duck: Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall and Mallard. 

Kittiwake juv 2

The few hours in port produced a couple of interesting, if non-native, sightings with two Egyptian Geese on a small pool and at least four Ring-necked Parakeets flying across the docks - a noisy but most attractive sight.

After another excellent meal we were back on the bridge at just after 15:00 local and ship's time. We recorded the species from the other side of the river on the return journey which was just as busy and interesting as the inbound voyage.  We added two more duck species, Shoveler and Shelduck to our tally, amongst a number of other birds.

The return sea crossing provided flat calm conditions at first and for a short while it became quite foggy.  Many more auks were seen on the homeward leg with a pair of Guillemots plus small groups of Razorbills often giving excellent views on the water before diving just as the ship approached. Most, but not all, were in full breeding plumage.

A further four Harbour Porpoises - a single and a group of three - brought the number to 13 for the trip which we felt was a very respectable total. 27 species of bird, with over 1300 individuals, were also recorded from the bridge.

As always, the officers and crew of Flandria Seaways were very friendly and helpful and our sincere thanks go to them.

Bob Graves and Toby Oliver, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

 

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Flandria Seaways' 1 February 2012

Posted 04 February 2012

Emma Webb and Russell Neave: MARINElife Research Surveyors.
Weather: visibility 5, wind ENE force 6, sea state 6
in river ; visibility 5, wind ENE force 4, sea state 2

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 21

Gannet Morus bassanus 2
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 27
Common Gull Larus canus 883
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 558
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 4
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 24
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 56
Guillemot Uria aalge 91
Razorbill Alca torda 86
Auk Sp. 168

Mute Swan Cygnus olor 6
Greater Canada Goose Branta canadensis 20
Brent Goose Branta bernicla 6
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus 3
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope 412
Gadwall Anas strepera 1429
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca 47
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 91
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula 2
Common Coot Fulica atra 20
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 6
Dunlin Calidris alpina 15
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata 1
Common Redshank Tringa totanus 1
Diver Sp. 1
Goose Sp. 35

Despite a windy few days before the trip, our overnight crossing to Vlaardingen was comfortable and we were able to get some sleep before starting our formal observations at sunrise the following morning.  We were kept busy with plenty of sightings of Kittiwake, Guillemot and Razorbill on the way to the river as well as two quick sightings of Harbour Porpoise.

LBB ad 2The trip up river was very smooth and bright with many large groups of Wigeon, Gadwall and gulls before we docked at the freight port. Departure was prompt, and again we were kept exceptionally busy with groups of Gadwall and Wigeon on the river.  Almost as soon as we left the river mouth into the open sea, we started recording Harbour Porpoise, all looking as if they were busy feeding in the turbulent water where the river meets sea.  However, all too soon we lost the daylight and after watching a beautiful sunset over the North Sea, it was time to finish the survey and thank the bridge crew for their fantastic hospitality.

Emma Webb and Russell Neave, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Flandria Seaways' 27 September 2011

Posted 13 October 2011

Maggie Gamble and Phillip Dutt: MARINElife Research Surveyors.
Weather: SW1-2 Overcast

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 36

Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 88
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 258
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 134
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Unidentified Skua Sp. 2
Parasitic (Arctic) Skua Stercorarius parasiticus  2
Razorbill Alca torda 1
Guillemots Uria aalge   5
Unidentified Auk Sp 3 
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 8
Common Gull Larus canus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 193
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 13
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 33
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 39
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 11
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 5
Unidentified Gull Sp 585

Mute Swan Cygnus olor 214
Gadwall Anas strepera 30
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 5
Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris 1
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 1
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 1
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 48
Jay Garrulus glandarius 1
Unidentified Harrier Sp. 1

 

Boarding the ship at around 11pm our overnight crossing eastbound was very smooth. We were welcomed to the bridge just after dawn and were soon recording a variety of seabirds. A highlight of this eastbound leg was several flocks of Common Scoter as we approached the Dutch Coast. The UK breeding population of this small diving seaduck has substantially declined and it is now a UK Red List species. Nesting on upland moors, it winters chiefly on coasts of Western Europe where the water is shallow enough to allow it to dive for molluscs.

Arriving at Port we had time for an excellent lunch before returning to the bridge for the westbound leg of the survey and after departure had good views of the river barrage which is an amazing looking piece of engineering.

Gannet dive
The almost mirror calm conditions on this return leg gave perfect conditions for spotting Harbour Porpoise and we counted at least thirty five (plus one on the outward leg). We are hoping for the route record! We were alerted to the presence of one (or possibly two) of them by four Gannets which were flying around in a manner which suggested they were watching something in the sea below. Eventually, beneath them we could see the Porpoises' small triangular dorsal fin just breaking the surface and as we watched more Gannets started to arrive, no doubt attracted by the attentive behaviour of the others.

 

Harbour Porpoise 2


The growing group of Gannets tracked the Porpoise for a few minutes then in a sudden flurry of swept back wings and dagger sharp bills they plunged in around it, in a mini feeding frenzy! Whether there were any fish to be had we couldn't quite make out.

After a beautiful sunset we lingered hopefully for just one more Porpoise? But it was not to be and thanking the Bridge Crew for their hospitality we headed to our bunks for a couple of hours sleep before disembarking at 10.45pm.

Maggie Gamble and Phillip Dutt, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Flandria Seaways' 23 August 2011

Posted 25 August 2011

Michael Bamford and Robbie Hawkins: MARINElife Research Surveyors.
Weather: E-SE 3 with thunder storms

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 9

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet Morus bassanus 7
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 179
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 4
Parasitic (Arctic) Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 1
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 65
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 424
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 253
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 35
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 3
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 18
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 22
Black-backed Gull Sp. 50

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 5
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 909
Gadwall Anas strepera 42
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 12
Domestic Duck sp. 8 
Common Coot Fulica atra 1
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 1

This route takes in a Dutch river mouth which is rich in bird sightings, but also with a chance to see Harbour Porpoises.

The night sailing meant we surveyed the Dutch side twice, on the outwards and return journeys - but in very different weather conditions! We boarded at just after 11 pm, and quickly put our heads down as we were due up at 5.30am. The Flandria Seaways is smaller than the recently used Tor ships, and has an excellent forward bridge for viewing. Just before 6am there was a force 3 easterly, which backed to south east, accompanied by thunder, lightning and continuous rain. This was spectacular, but not helpful for viewing! We left the bridge at about half distance up channel due to the weather conditions. 

Docking at 11.00am we had time for lunch before the ship sailed at 14.30. On the river, and for the first hour, conditions were calm with a sea state 1 and a very light southerly, allowing good views of nine Harbour Porpoises, close to the river mouth. We were lucky enough to see one uncharacteristically breach fully out of the water, showing its chunky body shape and pug-like nose.

Harbour Porpoise 1

A wealth of bird sightings included an Arctic Skua, and four each Fulmars and Great Skuas. There were good numbers of Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls, and large numbers of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Three types of terns were spotted along with a large number of Cormorants (179).

BH Gull 1Great Skua 2

The biggest count though was for Mute Swans with over 400 of them seen at arrival and departure. Gadwall and Great Crested Grebe were among the other species counted.

After this window of opportunity, the wind backed further to the south west and strengthened to force 4/5, limiting viewing until loss of light stopped play at 19.45.

Our thanks go to the company and crew for this trip.

Michael Bamford and Robbie Hawkins Research Surveyors for MARINElife
 

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Flandria Seaways' 26 July 2011

Posted 28 July 2011

Rick Morris and Sharon Morris: MARINElife Research Surveyors.
Weather: Sea state 3, Winds NE 3 with full cloud cover both survey legs with occasional rain.

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 9
Gannet Morus bassanus 6
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 566
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 49
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 147
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 206
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 13
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 3
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 4
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 126
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 9
'Commic Tern' Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 67
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1547 (!)
Gadwall Anas strepera 5
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 5
Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris 30
Unidentified gull species 480

Woodpigeon Columba palumbus 2
Carion Crow Corvus corone 5

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Flandria Seaways' 28 June 2011

Posted 29 June 2011

Maggie Gamble and Carol Farmer-Wright, MARINElife Research Surveyors.
Weather: Outward leg - dry with occasional lightning, sea state 0-1. Return leg - overcast, some rain, sea state 3-5, wind NW.

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 17

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 9
Gannet Morus bassanus 13
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 56
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 10
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 30
Common Gull Larus canus 18
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 71
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 133
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 36
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 22
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 520
Greylag Goose Anser anser 38
Gadwall Anas strepera 7
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 3
Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris 23
Whimbrel  Numenius phaeopus 1
Unidentified gull species 1800

Swift Apus apus 7

Carrion Crow Corvus corone 2

NB Bridge crew reported bio-luminescence shortly after departing Felixstowe!

MARINElife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Tor Britannia' 19 April 2011

Posted 20 April 2011

Michael Bamford, Debbie Ping, MARINElife Research Surveyors
Weather: SE 3-4, bright and hazy

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 3
Gannet Morus bassanus 20
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 147
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 33
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 9
Common Gull Larus canus 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 689
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 198
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 4
Little Gull Larus minutus 498 (three large flocks loafing on water - two near Dutch coast, one smaller flock mid North Sea)
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 3
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 22
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 16
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 38
Guillemot Uria aalge 5
Great-crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 2
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 2
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 71
Greylag Goose Anser anser 4
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus 2
Gadwall Anas strepera 33
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 1
Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris 1
Coot Fulica atra 1
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus 1 (1w/1s) seen by DP only
Unidentified large Gull species 1530
Unidentified Diver species 1
Unidentified Skua species 1

Marinelife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Tor Sueica' 29 March 2011

Posted 30 March 2011

Sean Minns, Julie Flanagan, MARINElife Research Surveyors
Weather: SSE-ENE 1-2

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 15 

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 9
Gannet Morus bassanus 33
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 6
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 9
Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica 1
Common Gull Larus canus 17
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 18
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 21
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 37
Little Gull Larus minutus 29
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 24
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 17
Guillemot Uria aalge 38
Razorbill Alca torda 2
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus 1
Feral Pigeon Columba livia 1
White/Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba/yarrellii 1
Unidentified Diver species 2 (probable Red-throated)
Unidentified Auk species 29
Unidentified Large Gull species 34
Unidentified Black-backed Gull species 14
Unidentified Gull species 5
Unidentified Tern species 1
Unidentified Wader species 3 (possible Sanderling)
Unidentified Finch species 5

Gadwall Anas strepera 147
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 52
Wigeon Anas penelope 13
Teal Anas crecca 13
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 9
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus 5
Greylag Goose Anser anser 5
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 43
Great crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 6
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 1
Common Coot Fulica atra 7
Redshank Tringa totanus 3
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 2
Turnstone Arenaria interpres 1
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 34+
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 81+
Common Gull Larus canus 67+
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 75+
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 133+
Blackbird Turdus merula 1
Jackdaw Corvus monedula 1
Magpie Pica pica 3
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus 1
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 6
Unidentified Duck species 9
Unidentified large Wader species 1
Unidentified Black-backed Gull species 8
Unidentified Large Gull species 16

Marinelife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Tor Suecia' 1 March 2011

Posted 02 March 2011

Mike Bamford, Amy Tinson, Marinelife Research Surveyors

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 6

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 44
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 11
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 3
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 70
Common Gull Larus canus 32
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 133
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 35
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 32
Little Gull Larus minutus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 128
Guillemot Uria aalge 37
Razorbill Alca torda 16
Auk Sp. 15
Large Gull Sp. 501

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 13
Great Northern Diver Gavia immer 1
Diver Sp. 5
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 2
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 2
Greylag Goose Anser anser 2
Brent Goose Branta bernicla 18
Goose Sp. 1
Gadwall Anas strepera 91
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 2
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1
Common Coot Fulica atra 1
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 2
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 1
Sky Lark Alauda arvensis 1
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 2
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 1

Marinelife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Tor Suecia' 1 February 2011

Posted 21 February 2011

Steve Hughes, Abigail Bruce, Marinelife Research Surveyors

Gannet Morus bassanus 3
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 17
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 4
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 38
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 12
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 9
Razorbill Alca torda 2
Auk Sp. 3
Gull Sp. 42+

Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1

Marinelife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Tor Britannia' 14 December 2010

Posted 15 December 2010

Michael Bamford, Amber Newman, Marinelife Research Surveyors 

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 3 (1 juvenile)

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 49
Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 57
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 79
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 2
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 398
Common Gull Larus canus 20
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 456
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 232
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 29
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 79
Guillemot Uria aalge 15
Razorbill Alca torda 2
Auk sp. 4
Gull sp. 300+

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 112
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 1
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 5
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 1
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 11
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope 130
Gadwall Anas strepera 237
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 24
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula 2
Common Coot Fulica atra 288
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 3
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 6
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata 3
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 1
Diver sp. 3

Marinelife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Tor Britannia' 26 October 2010

Posted 27 October 2010

Michael Bamford, Abigail Bruce, Marinelife Research Surveyors 

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 22
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 170
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 10
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 6
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 17
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 13
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 39
Guillemot Uria aalge 11

Sky Lark Alauda arvensis 8
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 101
Passerine sp. 15 (probably Starling)

Marinelife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Tor Britannia' 28 September 2010

Posted 29 September 2010

Graham Oliver, Amber Newman, Marinelife Research Surveyors

White-beaked Dolphin Lagenorhynchus albirostris 4 (probable)
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 7

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 22
Gannet Morus bassanus 36
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 171+
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 58+
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 9
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 53+
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 52+
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 8
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 17
Gull sp. 1050+

Mute Swan Cygnus olor 158
Brent Goose Branta bernicla 50+
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 4
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 2
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 1
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus 1
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 4
Meadow/Tree Pipit Anthus sp. 4
White / Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba 1
Robin Erithacus rubecula 11
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos 3
Redwing Turdus iliacus 35+
Willow/Chiffchaff Phylloscopus sp. 3
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 80+
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs 8
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla 19
Siskin Carduelis spinus 1
Magpie Pica pica 1
Dunnock Prunella modularis 1
Passerine sp. 1

Marinelife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Tor Britannia' 24 August 2010

Posted 25 August 2010

Steve Hughes, Richard Price, Marinelife Research Surveyors 

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 5
Gannet Morus bassanus 42
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 4
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 4
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 17
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 1
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 2
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 47+
Shearwater sp. 1
Tern sp. 4
Gull sp. 33+

Marinelife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 26 - 27 July 2010

Posted 28 July 2010

Mike Bamford, Graham Oliver, Marinelife Research Surveyors 

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 3

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet Morus bassanus 28
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 232
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 12
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 2
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 50
Common Gull Larus canus 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 424
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 445
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 13
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 1
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 53
Large Gull sp. 1,900

Mute Swan Cygnus olor 654
Gadwall Anas strepera 6
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 10
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegypticus 5

Marinelife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Tor Britannia' 28 June 2010

Posted 29 June 2010

Nigel Jarman, Rob Smith, Marinelife Research Surveyors

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 7
Gannet Morus bassanus 5
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 19
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 13
Common Gull Larus canus 6
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 78
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1,719
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 6
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 64
Guillemot Uria aalge 1
Gull sp. 1,000+

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 3
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 898
Greylag Goose Anser anser 1
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 19
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 11
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 4
Feral Pigeon Columba livia 3
Common Swift Apus apus 1

Marinelife Survey Report: Felixstowe-Vlaardingen 'Tor Britannia' 7 June 2010

Posted 08 June 2010

Bob Graves, David Hawkins, Marinelife Research Surveyors 

Gannet Morus bassanus 13
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 36
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 6
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 25
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 99
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 561
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 7
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 3
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 19

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 3
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 578
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 24
Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus 1
Common Swift Apus apus 4
Sand Martin Riparia riparia 6
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 3