Andrew Boulden and Lee Slater; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
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
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.
We 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.
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