Sightings Archives: December 2018

MARINElife Survey Report: Heysham-Belfast 'Stena Scotia and Hibernia' 13th - 14th December 2018

Posted 16 December 2018

Robin Langdon and Harry Ashcroft; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Outbound: Overcast; Sea State 3-6; Wind SE Force 6-8; Homeward: Overcast; Sea State 1-6; Wind SE Force 6-8

Summary of sightings

Marine Mammals:
Seal sp. 1

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellate 1
Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus 1
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus 30
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 2
Eider Somateria mollissima 33
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 8
Cormorant Phalacrocroax carbo 5
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 2
Common Gull Larus canus 40
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 14
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 6
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 94
Guillemot Uria aalge 125
Razorbill Alca torda 2
Gull sp. 10

Guillemot Peter Howlett 08This, we knew, would be a challenging survey, and the weather in both directions was not forecast to be ideal. With a 2-metre swell and sea state up to 6 this proved to be the case, with the wind in both directions was 40 knots.

Of the marine mammals only one was spotted. Originally, we thought it to be a bit of plastic, but it then dived before positive identification was possible. As the animal had lain on the surface for a few seconds it was more likely to have been a seal.

We had a reasonable number of Guillemot, though we probably under counted these as spotting them on the surface in the rough conditions was not easy. Kittiwake were seen throughout the crossing with a small smattering of other birds.

Kittiwake Rob Petley-Jones 02aWe were well looked after by the captain and crew of both the Scotia and Hibernia, and our thanks also to Jury's Inn for providing a comfortable bed for the night.

Robin Langdon and Harry Ashcroft; Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Guillemot Photo: Peter Howlett
Kittiwake Photo: Rob Petley-Jones