John Perry and Philip Dutt: MARINElife Research
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 9
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 2
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.
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