Sightings Archives: January 2019

MARINElife Survey Report: Heysham-Belfast 'Stena Hibernia and Scotia' 24th - 25th January 2019

Posted 31 January 2019

Vince Green and Peter Crossley; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Outbound: Overcast; Sea State 1-2; Wind SW. Homeward: Overcast; Sea State 5; Wind W

Summary of sightings

Marine Mammals:
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 2
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 1
Dolphin sp. 2

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellate 1
Black-throated Diver 1
Eider Somateria mollissima 38
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Cormorant Phalacrocroax carbo 22
Common Gull Larus canus 7
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 29
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 37
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle 1
Puffin Fratercula arctica 14
Guillemot Uria aalge 200
Razorbill Alca torda 12
Diver sp. 8
Gull sp. 69
Auk sp. 21

Herring Gull Rob Petley-Jones 07We would like to thank both Captains Paciorek and Jan from the Hibernia and the Scotia, and all of the crew on both ships, for being so friendly and hospitable towards us. It was a real pleasure to meet them.

Peter and I arrived in good time to board the Hibernia. After grabbing a quick snack and a coffee we had a great start on the bridge for the first leg of the survey, starting with two Grey Seal, and going on to clock up a number of Herring Gull and auks. With the sea state being 1 - 2 there was a very good opportunity to spot Cetaceans, and we had a clear view of two dolphins swimming towards the starboard side of the vessel. A little later into the journey not long before dusk I spotted a possible Bottlenose Dolphin, swimming and breaching at distance on the starboard side.

Guillemot Peter Howlett 08After spending an interesting night in Belfast enjoying the delights of the city and at the lovely Jurys Inn we headed back to the port to board the Stena Scotia, where again we were looked after amazingly by the captain and crew. We spotted several Eider on the early part of the return trip followed by a variety of seabirds. We were surprised that we did not see any Gannet, and not many Fulmar or the larger gulls, but we did see plenty of Guillemot and Kittiwake, as well as a Black Guillemot.

We had an amazing trip and look forward to doing that route again in the future.

Vince Green and Peter Crossley; Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Herring Gull Photo: Rob Petley-Jones
Guillemot Photo: Peter Howlett