Sightings Archives: June 2014

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe to Vlaardingen survey 24th June 2014

Posted 09 July 2014

Emma Howe-Andrews and Steve McAusland, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Sea state (1-3), wind (2-5) and visibility was excellent to good.

Cetaceans and mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 28
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 16
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 193
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 34
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 22
Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 123
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 23
Unidentified Auk sp. 12
Unidentified Tern sp. 4

River Birds
Brent Goose Branta bernicla 1
Common Coot Fulica atra 1
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus 2
Gadwall Anas strepera 8
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 4
Greylag Goose Anser anser 83
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 25
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 699
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 3

Land birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 7                                             
Redshank Tringa totanus 1
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 5
Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus 2

Gannet Mike Bamford 01We arrived at Felixstowe port on Monday evening, and after a swift and efficient check-in by the DFDS Operations staff, we were transported to the ship and shown to our cabins for some sleep before the survey started at dawn the next day.

With a sea state of 2 and a beautiful sunrise we began our survey on the bridge and were hopeful that we would soon encounter our first cetacean sighting, but unfortunately none were sighted. However, we did have some amazing views of the ever graceful Gannet, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and Common Tern riding the wind and sweeping across the waves. We also enjoyed watching the other ships in the area and listening to their communication on the marine radio.

Gannet (Mike Bamford)

In glorious sunshine, we left the North Sea and entered the Nieuwe Waterweg canal which connects Rotterdam to the North Sea. It takes about an hour to negotiate the waterway and as we travelled along we encountered numerous bird species which included Mute Swan, Cormorant, Common Tern, Greylag Geese, Mallard, Great Black-backed Gull, and Lesser Black-backed Gull. We left the bridge so that the crew could complete final manoeuvres.

Cormorant 1_Adrian ShephardAfter a great lunch in the driver's canteen, the ship was loaded and ready to depart. We restarted our survey shortly after leaving the berth and as we made our way towards the North Sea we encountered another DFDS ship 'Begonia Seaways' which approached our port side. As they passed, the crew excitedly waved from the bridge wing and Captain Orpheus even took their photo which made us all smile!

The afternoon and early evening brought us a sea state of 3 and things remained quiet apart from the occasional bird sighting, including wonderful views of a Great Shearwater, until Steve expertly spotted a Harbour Porpoise approximately 200m off the bow. As the survey concluded we were treated to an amazing sunset on our final approach to Felixstowe.

Cormorant (Adrian Shephard)

We would like to say a huge thank you to Captain Orpheus, his officers and crew for their hospitality, for making us feel so welcome and taking an interest in our work. Also, thanks go to DFDS Seaways for making our surveys possible.

Emma Howe-Andrews and Steve McAusland, Research Surveyors for MARINElife