Sightings Archives: September 2014

MARINElife Survey Report: Hull-Zeebrugge 'P&O Ferries Pride of Bruges' 6-8 September 2014

Posted 16 September 2014

Helen Turnock and Jenny Boatwright; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Hull to Zeebrugge: SW1-0. Zeebrugge to Hull: WNW 2

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 125
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo  5
Gannet Morus bassanus  4
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus  4
Herring Gull Larus argentatus  18
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus  51
Little Tern Sternula albifrons  3
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis  3
Gull species 65

Terrestrial birds
Carrion Crow Corvus corone  1
Shelduck  Tadorna tadorna  4
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe  1
Wader species 12

LBBG_Helen TurnockWe arrived on board the Pride of Bruges in the early evening and had a wonderful dinner in the restaurant before being invited up to the bridge at about 7pm. We were introduced to Captain Lex van der Wal and the First Officer.


We had calm conditions and made the most of the remaining light by managing to spot Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed gull and other gull species, plus a Cormorant before calling it a day.


At first light on Sunday morning, at around 6am, as we were approaching the Belgian coast, we returned to the bridge for our next round of surveying. After only about half an hour, First Officer Roland caught sight of a Harbour Porpoise on the port side. It was great to have the crew participating in the wildlife spotting.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Helen Turnock)


Keeping our eyes peeled, we were excited when we saw what was definitely another Harbour Porpoise. It surfaced several times which was a real treat.


Wheatear_Helen TurnockWe also saw a variety of bird species. We sighted Lesser Black-backed gull, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Sandwich Tern and Gannet. We also spotted a species of bird that we weren't quite expecting; a small feathered passenger on the bow of the boat in the form of a Wheatear.

After a scrumptious breakfast, we docked in Zeebrugge and left the ship for the day. We enjoyed a relaxing day exploring the delights of Bruges before returning to the Pride of Bruges in the early evening.

With calm conditions and atmospheric skies we started our evening of surveying as the Belgian coastline faded behind us. We managed to see some gull species including Lesser Black-backed Gull plus some Gannet before finishing the survey and heading down from the bridge.

Wheatear (Helen Turnock)

Our Monday morning round of surveying brought us a whole host of birds, particularly the Black-headed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull. We were particularly pleased with sightings of Little Tern. On sighting a Carrion Crow flying over the river we knew we were deep into the River Humber so decided it was time to call it a day.

We very much thank Captain Lex van der Wal and all the crew for a pleasant and very hospitable crossing on the 'Pride of Bruges'.

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

Helen Turnock and Jenny Boatwright; Research Surveyors for MARINElife