MARINElife Survey Report: Heysham-Dublin 'Clipper Ranger' 31st May 2016

Vince Green and Suzie Miller, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Wind: SW 12-17 knots; Sea State: 0-3

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals:
Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata 1

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 45
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 947
Gannet Morus bassanus 1197
Cormorant Phalacorcorax carbo 4
Shag Phalacorcorax aristotelis 7
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 22
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 14
Great Black-Backed Gull Larus marinus 51
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 98
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvincensis 9
Black Guillemot Cepphus grille 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 1068
Shearwater sp. 5
Cormorant/Shag sp. 35
Gull sp. 1704
Tern sp. 153
Duck sp. 2

Terrestrial Birds:
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 1
Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus 1

Gannet Peter Howlett 06Suzie and I were kindly invited on board by the crew of the Clipper Ranger who settled us in for a couple of hours sleep, ready for an early kick to the survey on a lovely sunny day on the very last day of May 2016.

Awake at 05.00 we went up to the bridge and got our heads down and the day began straight away with birds, birds, and more birds.

We had a full busy day on the journey to Dublin and back, seeing lots of Guillemot Kittiwake, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater and Common Tern.

Minke Adrian Shephard 04Alongside the excellent sunrise and sunset, we saw plenty of other species throughout the journey.  We had excellent weather conditions for most of the journey, and saw many of the birds feeding, with spectacular dives from hundreds of Gannet.

Feeling lucky to have seen the show from the Gannet, as we approached Dublin Bay we were pleased when we spotted a whale species ahead of the ship, which we believed to be a Minke.

The whole trip was a pleasure, and after surveying over 3000 birds we finished up at sunset back in Heysham feeling very pleased at a decent checkout time of 23.00.

An excellent voyage with an amazing crew, and big thanks to Captain Tim Broughton and the staff and Seatruck.

Gannet (Peter Howlett)
Minke Whale (Adrian Shephard)