Sightings Archives: March 2012

MARINElife Survey Report: Liverpool-Belfast 'Stena Mersey' 24 - 25 March 2012

Posted 26 March 2012

Steve Hughes and Jo O'Hanlon Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather: SE 2

Cetacea / Sea Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocena phocena 1
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1
Unidentified Seal Sp 1


Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 3
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus
Gannet Morus bassanus 57
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 106
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 1
Common Gull Larus canus 31
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 72
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 30
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 30
Guillemot Uria aalge 114
Razorbill Alca torda 157
Eider Duck  340
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle 20
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 4
Great Northern Diver Gavia immer 1
Unidentified auk sp 73
Unidentified large gull sp 30
Unidentified Diver sp 3

Terrestrial Birds
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 2
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 2
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 7
Robin Erithacus rubecula 1
Unidentified Wader Sp 5

 Robin in hand

We left Birkenhead with calm seas and a low wind of 4 to 6 knots from SE. No swell.

Visibility was down to less than 800 metres. This was not going to be easy!! But as always with nature, something always pops up to delight you. We literally had two small visitors to the Bridge of the ship. Our first was a Meadow pipit. One of the crew had spotted the little creature walking bold as brass from one end of the bridge to the other. The pipit was so relaxed it allowed one of the crew to handle it.  Our next visitor was a small and exhausted Robin which we gently took off the bridge to rest.

The visibility varied throughout the trip as the mist came and went, but we still encountered a number of birds including Cormorants, European Shags and Black Guillemots.

We had almost given up seeing any Cetaceans but just as we were approach Belfast Joe spotted some movement in the water. There it was a single Porpoise off the starboard bow travelling parallel to the ship but in the opposite direction. Marvellous. Joe also spotted two grey seals around our journeys end.

The crew on the bridge were fantastic, so a big thank you to all for making us welcome aboard the Stena Line 'Stena Mersey'

Steve Hughes and Joe O'Hanlon, Research Surveyors for MARINElife