MARINElife Survey Report: Hull-Zeebrugge 'P&O Ferries Pride of York' 16-18 August 2014

Nik Grounds and Jon Butterfield; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Hull to Zeebrugge: Wind WSW, force 7. Overcast but good visibility
Zeebrugge to Hull: Wind WNW, force 7. Overcast with good visibility



Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 3

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 56
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 5
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 14
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 17
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 20
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 34
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 10
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 2
'Commic' Tern  Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 7
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 3
Gull species c250

Terrestrial birds
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 1   

Sunset Humber_Jon ButterfieldOn a sunny Saturday afternoon we joined the impressive "Pride of York" and were shown to our cabin. After a quick buffet dinner we went to the bridge and introduced ourselves to the captain and his team.

It was dark as we approached Spurn Point where we could start recording, but we were able to see the 1915 Humber forts that were used to guard the river and were regarded as a triumph of engineering at the time.

The following day we arrived on the bridge at first light to survey into Zeebrugge. Sightings consisted of the usual smattering of large gulls and Gannet along with Common and Sandwich Tern.

The highlight of the first morning was seeing Great and Arctic Skua trying to catch terns; it finished two-nil to the terns. A Harbour Porpoise was also sighted close to the ship.

Once in dock, P&O gave us free transfers into the historic medieval town of Brugge, where we were able to visit the church that contains the Michelangelo masterpiece the Madonna and Child.

Sunset (Jon Butterfield)

Kittiwake Peter Howlett 03That evening we returned to the ship and recommenced surveying. We were rewarded with good views of a further two Harbour Porpoise, once again, close to the ship and a Great Skua that was frustrating the local gannets soaring around the bridge.

The last morning saw us up on the bridge for 06:30 to survey 1 hour before Spurn. This increased our species total for the trip adding a Fulmar and several Kittiwake to the tally along with a lone Manx Shearwater that was meandering through the waves. Around the shallows of the Point we were also able to sight a Little Egret fishing in the turbid waters, this marked the end of our MARINElife survey.

Kittiwake (Pete Howlett)

As we left the bridge we thanked Captain Kevin Alcock and his officers for their hospitality and friendliness during the survey on the excellent "Pride of York".

We would like to thank P&O for their support of this survey. 

Nik Grounds and Jon Butterfield ; Research Surveyors for MARINElife