Sightings Archives: July 2013

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

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