MARINElife Survey Report: Hull-Zeebrugge 'P&O Ferries Pride of York' 31 August - 2 September 2013

Cheryl Leaning and Abby Bruce; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Outward: NW 5. Return: W 6 

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise (casual sighting by crew) 1

Gannet Morus bassanus 5
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea  11                
Common Gull Larus canus  2
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 54
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 66
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 10
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 14
Unidentified Gull sp 62

Herring GullWe were warmly welcomed on board the 'Pride of York' and left Hull promptly Saturday evening.  Captain Kevin Alcock and all his crew were very accommodating and keen to share past cetacean sightings they had experienced with us. 

The weather conditions were good as we descended down the river Humber.  With no swell and good visibility we recorded various gull species until sunset and we retreated to our cabins for an early night.

The next day we were in position at 6 o'clock with binoculars at the ready.  As we neared the coast of Belgium the most unexpected thing recorded was a stray beach ball!  This surprise was only over shadowed by a sudden influx of Black-headed Gull and 'Commic' Tern just as we called an end to the survey.

Herring Gull

GBB Gull Peter Howlett 01Once in Zeebrugge we disembarked and were kindly transported into beautiful Bruges for the day.  We enjoyed taking in the sights in this 'fairy-tale' city in various methods of transport from canal boats to Segways!  A sensational way to tour round, a must try for all!

Back on the boat we surveyed till dusk counting numerous Lesser and Greater Black-backed Gull with the odd Gannet mixed in.  Excitement bubbled as the Officer on watch 'Davis' called a Porpoise from the port side as we crossed the shallows of Thornton Bank -  as we headed across the bridge to catch a glimpse of a triangular fin, it quickly disappeared into the deep.

As our trip drew to a close we were back up on deck before sunrise for our last spotting opportunity.  The weather, although a little overcast, stayed fair throughout and more gulls, terns and finally a couple of Cormorant were spotted.

Great Black-back Gull (Pete Howlett)

A big thank you to all the P&O staff on board the 'Pride of York' for making our trip so pleasant.

Cheryl Leaning and Abby Bruce; Research Surveyors for MARINElife