Sightings Archives: October 2012

MARINElife Survey Report: Heysham-Warrenpoint 'MV Seatruck Pace & Progress' 18-19 October 2012

Posted 27 October 2012

Nik Grounds and Dick Lorand, Research Surveyors for MARINElife.
Winds: Westbound - SW 6 veering  W 4;   Eastbound - NNW 3 decreasing to 1

Summary of Species Recorded

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 8

Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 26
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 1
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 1
Shag Phalacrocorx aristotelis 20
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 109
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1
Leach's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 93
Great Skua Stercoarius skua 4
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 251
Common Gull Larus canus 76
Mediterranean Gull, Ichthyaetus melanocephalus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 9
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 3
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 88
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 6
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 222
Guillemot Uria aalge 529
Razorbill Alca torda 206
Unidentified auk sp 543

We arrived in good time and following a smooth check in and were transferred to the Seatruck Pace. We were kindly provided with breakfast before being escorted to the bridge where we were welcomed by the Captain Colin Batty and crew.  As we left the harbour conditions looked promising despite forecasts of wind and rain.

Little gull crop

A flock of Common Scoter were seen close to shore soon after departing Heysham harbour and also a Little Gull was seen.

On increasing choppy waters, Guillemot and Razorbill were seen during a quiet period just south of Calf of Man and Dick picked up a Leach's Storm Petrel close to the bow of the ship.

As we approached Carlingford Lough two Great Skua were seen sat on the sea.

After a good night's sleep in a B&B, we boarded a new vessel on the Heysham to Warrenpoint route, Seatruck Progress. Again we were made welcome on the bridge by Captain Paul Matthews and crew. Almost immediately leaving Carlingford Lough we saw a Red-throated Diver.

The crossing back to Heysham was very calm and we were rewarded with sightings of Harbour Porpoise and increased numbers of Guillemot and Razorbill.

Red Throated Diver

As we approached Heysham, we were rewarded with a spectacular sunset over Morecambe Bay and the sight of large numbers of Black-headed Gull and single Mediterranean Gull following the ship into harbour.

Overall we had a very productive survey and are most grateful to the Seatruck Ferries staff and crews for their hospitality.

Nik Grounds and Dick Lorand, Research Surveyors for MARINElife