MARINElife blog: Seatruck ‘Clipper Panorama’ Heysham-Dublin 11 December 2018

Vince Green and Mike Duckett, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Outward: Wind: SE 4-5; Sea State: 4-5
Return: Wind: SE 4-5; Sea State: 4-5

Summary of sightings:

Marine mammals:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 3
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3
Shag Phalacrocorax aritotelis 2
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 11
Great Black-Backed Gull Larus marinus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 9
Black Guillemot Cepphus grille 1
Puffin Fratercula arctica 1
Guillemot Uria aalge 7
Razorbill Alca torda 9
Auk sp. 5

As we approached Dublin port we saw a good number of Shag, while there were several winter-plumaged Mediterranean Gull mixed iwith the many Black-headed Gull.  Rob spotted a lone Common Scoter - which I also missed!


Fulmar Peter Howlett 04We both arrived at the Port of Heysham in good time to get parked up and jump on board the Seatruck Panorama, bringing back memories of years gone by meeting some of the staff from previous trips on the same vessel.  We were welcomed by the staff and shown to our cabins to get a few hours' sleep before an early start on the bridge.

The Sea state was not as bad as expected, and straight into the outward journey we spotted Fulmar, Puffin and the odd Guillemot.

GBB Gull Peter Howlett 10Having arrived in Dublin early, we took in the opportunity of spotting some birds in the Port of Dublin and had some refreshments. On the return journey we managed to get up on the bridge just after the main light houses giving us a few hours of surveying. We saw plenty of gulls and more auks but hoping to catch glimpses of anything in the water proved to be quite tricky because of the sea state. We did manage to see two individual Harbour Porpoise which was fantastic, and Mike witnessed a noticeable splash not too far away, but we could not identify what made this.


Overall, we enjoyed the trip and we were well looked after by the captain and the crew on the Panorama.   Our thanks go to them and to Seatruck, and we look forward to the next survey with them.

Fulmar (Peter Howlett)
Great Black-backed Gull (Peter Howlett)