Sightings Archives: March 2013

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

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