MARINElife Survey Report: Heysham-Belfast 'Stena Precision & Hiberniar' 11th - 12th September 2015

Vince Green and Lewis Green; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather:
Outward - Wind East to South Easterly force 4-6 overcast but dry.
Return - Wind South Westerly force 5-6 cloudy but dry

Summary of Species Recorded

Marine Mammals and notable marine species
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1

Seabirds
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1702
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 25
Gannet Morus bassanus 994
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 185
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 6
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 2
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 6
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 4
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 86
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 25
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 56
Common Gull Larus canus 67
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 2
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 89
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 7
Arctic Tern  Sterna paradisaea 5
Guillemot Uria aalge 770
Petrel sp. 5
Skua sp. 2
Gull sp. 10
Auk sp. 10

Terrestrial birds
Swift 2
Swallow    5
Greenfinch 1
House Sparrow 2
Feral Pigeon 1

Little Gull Peter Howlett 02On arrival in Heysham, Lewis and I checked into a local bed and breakfast, before enjoying some time on the shore by the port. Up early the next morning, we arrived at the ferry terminal where we were invited onto the ship and offered breakfast from the kindly staff. After a lovely meal as we set off from Heysham, we were escorted to the bridge where we met Captain Fitzgerald and his crew.  We had a lovely chat about the ports of Heysham and Belfast, which included many interesting points from his twenty plus years experience. We then settled in at our viewing position on the bridge, with the very polite crew all interested in our survey. On the way out we were soon excited with sightings of various sea birds and two Harbour Porpoise. The rest of the trip proved to be excellent for sightings of the many shearwaters and other seabirds.

We arrived in Belfast in good time and checked into the Jury's Inn before heading into town for a snack and to take in some Irish culture.  It was a lovely evening, but we settled in for the night at 22.30 as we had an early start the next day.
The following day we were kindly greeted and well fed well before being escorted to the bridge.  On the way out of Belfast we were pleased to see a Grey Seal leisurely swimming by without a care in the world, and we also managed to see a variety of bird species.

Gannet Peter Howlett 08Thanks to the Stena Line crew on both the Precision and the Hibernia, who were all very friendly and interested in our work.  Thanks also to the staff at the Jury's Inn in Belfast who also were amazing.  The whole trip was great and if I have the chance I will definitely do this survey more often.

Vince Green and Lewis Green; Research Surveyors for MARINElife