Sightings Archives: November 2013

MARINElife Survey Report: Heysham–Warrenpoint ‘Anglia Seaways’ and 'Clipper Panorama’ 28th - 29th November 2013

Posted 05 December 2013

Stephen Dunstan, Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Westbound: Wind NW force 1-3
Eastbound: Wind NW force 5-7


Cetaceans and Seals:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 10
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 3

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 3
Great Northern Diver Gavia immer 10        
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 21
Gannet Morus bassanus 3
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 10
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 59
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 5
Common Gull Larus canus 24
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 287            
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 92
Little Gull Larus minutus 3
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 140
Unidentified large gull sp. 80
Black Guilletmot Cepphus grylle 3
Guillemot Uria aalge 172
Razorbill Alca torda 71
Unidentified auk sp. 117

Other waterbirds recorded in Carlingford Lough:
Cormorant/Shag roost c.350
Herring Gull Larus argentatus roost c.300

Common Scoter Graham Ekins 01As I walked onto the boat at Heysham it was still dark but after breakfast it was in near perfect conditions as the ship, left with flat light and very little wind.  These were excellent viewing conditions for Harbour Porpoise and sure enough two and then a singleton were observed off Fleetwood.  Leaving Morecambe Bay, several flocks of Common Scoter headed south, possibly still migrating en route to join the large gatherings off Blackpool.

The winds picked up a little heading towards the Isle of Man making cetacean detection difficult.  There were very few birds to be seen in Manx waters though there was a single Red-throated Diver.  

Nearing the Irish coast conditions returned to flat calm and a further three pods of Harbour Porpoise were seen, including one of five animals.  Soon after the bird highlight of the journey followed with a group of nine magnificent Great Northern Diver on the water together.  After docking I walked to my hotel and my attention was drawn to a spectacular gathering of c400 roosting Pied Wagtail in a tree on the main street in Warrenpoint.

Little GullFriday morning was much breezier, and the captain and crew joked with me that Marinelife surveys on the Anglia Seaways always brought the gales in.  This ruled out cetacean observations, but the birdlife was not without interest.  A few Black Guillemot, another Great Northern Diver and a Long-tailed Duck were all seen as we left the lough behind.  

Beyond the Isle of Man the first and only Little Gull of the trip, three adults, were seen near the Walney windfarm.  The light went before we entered Morecambe Bay and I called a halt to what had been an enjoyable and quite productive survey.

Stephen Dunstan, Research Surveyor for MARINElife