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