Sightings Archives: April 2014

MARINElife Survey Report: Liverpool-Belfast 'Stena Lagan' 26th April 2014

Posted 08 May 2014

John Perry and Julia Benson, Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Weather: Partial cloud, wind moderate from South East.  No precipitation.

Summary of Species Recorded

Marine Mammals
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1

Atlantic Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet Morus bassanus 34
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 57
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 34
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 39
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 6
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 40
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 1
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 6
Guillemot Uria aalge 106
Razorbill Alca torda 45

Terrestrial Birds:
Swallow Hirundo rustica 1
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe 1

Herring gullSaturday morning was dry with low cloud restricting the view of the horizon. The sea state was moderate with only a gentle swell, good conditions for our survey to Belfast.  Our tickets were rapidly issued by the efficient Stena Line staff and we were quickly bussed onboard the "Stena Lagan".  We were shown to our cabins and then met by Captain Miller who welcomed us on board who invited to the Bridge as soon as we wished.

Setting up our work station on the starboard side of the bridge, we had excellent views of Crosby beach with its famous Gormley figures.  As we travelled down the estuary, we saw numerous Herring Gull and a few Lesser Black-backed Gull, with Cormorant on many of the marker buoys.  As we approached the Mersey Bar and we noticed a solitary Common Tern and a Swallow flying towards land.  Shortly afterwards an early Wheatear was also spotted.

Common Tern 02 Graham EkinsWe began to see more and more Gannet and Guillemot as we headed between the Isle of Man and the Mull of Kintyre as well as Kittiwake and a couple of Sandwich Tern.  Manx Shearwater and Fulmar began to appear as we approached the Northern Irish coast.

We stayed on the bridge until the ship began making its way to its berth.  After thanking the Captain and officers for their hospitality, we enjoyed an excellent evening meal in the Mess.

The evening was spent writing up notes and collating data in the comfortable Passenger Lounge before we headed for our cabins and an excellent night's sleep as the ship returned to Liverpool.

John Perry and Julia Benson, Research Surveyor for MARINElife