Sightings Archives: July 2015

P&O Ferries (Pride of Bruges) Hull to Zeebrugge (25 – 27 July 2015)

Posted 31 August 2015

Stephen Dunstan and Jane Dunstan; Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Outward - variable force 4-5. Visibility mostly good.
Return - variable force 3-5. Visibility limited on 26th, good on 27th.

Marine Mammals
Seal sp. 2

Black Tern Chlidonias niger 3
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 40
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 4
Common gull Larus canus 35
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 3
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 5
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 5
Gannet Morus bassanus 20
Great Black-backed gull Larus marinus 20
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 39
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 5
Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus 53
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1
Auk sp. 1
Gull sp. 128
Tern sp. 2


Terrestrial birds
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa 51
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 2
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 19
Swallow Hirundo rustica 1

We arrived at Hull in good time, and were efficiently transferred onto the Pride of Bruges.  Having put our bags in the well-appointed cabins and eaten well in the restaurant, we went to start the survey on the bridge.  There were a few groups of Black-tailed Godwit flying north over the river, and a group of seals were hauled out on the north bank.  As we left the estuary, a few seabirds were seen, including Gannet and Kittiwake as well as a small flock of Scoter flying east.

Gannet Carol Farmer-Wright 01Gannet (Archive Photo: Carol Farmer Wright)

Early morning as we neared the Belgian coast we resumed the watch at 5am and saw Fulmar as well as more Kittiwake and Gannet.  After the survey effort ceased many Common Tern were seen in Zeebrugge harbour.

Kittiwake Peter Howlett 08

Kittiwake (Archive Photo: Peter Howlett)

After a pleasant trip into Bruges we returned to the vessel in the early evening and, as we ate in the restaurant, we saw a juvenile Mediterranean Gull in the harbour as well as many more Common Tern.  When we joined the bridge at sea we soon saw the best birds of the trip; three Black Tern in front of the ship.

Common Tern Peter Howlett 01Common Tern (Archive Photo: Peter Howlett)

We resumed the survey in the early morning as we approached the Humber estuary.  A couple of Little Egret heading south were a bit of a surprise, and a few more Gannet, Fulmar and Kittiwake were added to the tallies.  In the estuary there were again a couple of seals hauled out.

Thanks to the crew of The Pride of Bruges and P&O shore staff in Hull and Zeebrugge for making this a very enjoyable survey.

Stephen Dunstan and Jane Dunstan; Research Surveyors for MARINElife