Sightings Archives: July 2014

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Flandria Seaways’ Felixstowe - Vlaardingen survey 28th - 29th July 2014

Posted 16 September 2014

Carol Farmer-Wright and Ellen Last, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Dry, sunny conditions with some glare. Wind NE-N Force 5-6 increased at river mouth.

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 44
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 598
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 53
Common Gull Larus canus 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 574
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 669
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 257
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 2
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 10
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 43
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 1
Commic Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 6
Unidentified Gull sp. 46
Unidentified Larus sp. 424
Unidentified Tern sp. 4

River Birds
Gadwall Anas strepera 1
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 41
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1608
Unidentified Duck sp. 22

Terrestrial Birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 8
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 70
Feral Pigeon Columba livia 68
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 1
Swallow Hirundo rustica 6
Woodpigeon Columba polumbus 2


This was my first survey as a trainee surveyor under the guidance of Carol Farmer-Wright. It was exciting to do a survey from my local port, and its not every day you get the chance to go aboard a freight ferry. After boarding on Monday night we were shown our cabins and promptly fell asleep in preparation for a 4.45am start!

Conditions started off well, with a dry morning, but the slightly rough sea state meant spotting Harbour Porpoise would be more difficult. A number of seabird species were identified on the journey over, with Fulmar being the first, followed by numerous Lesser Black-backed Gull.

As we reached the mouth of the river near Rotterdam, we had to stay on our toes as many Cormorant, gull, duck and Mute Swan were present along this river section, so counting and recording every one kept us very busy!

Mute Swans-Carol Farmer-WrightMute Swans (Carol Farmer-Wright)

After docking we were treated to a delicious three-course lunch on-board, which included some amazing pineapple ice cream!

On the return leg, the river section was again bustling with the same species as the inbound trip. Once out of the river, things quietened down, with the majority of seabirds seen being Lesser Black-backed Gull, but with the occasional Gannet and Tern.

Many thanks go to Captain Orfeusz and his friendly crew on the Flandria Seaways for welcoming us aboard and enabling us to complete this survey.

Carol Farmer-Wright and Ellen Last, Research Surveyors for MARINElife