MARINElife Survey Report: Liverpool-Belfast 'Stena Lagan' 25th - 26th November 2017

Alan Sumnall and Nicola Simpson, Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Weather: Visibility clear; 50% cloud; Slightly windy; Short period of rain mid-survey

Summary of Sightings

Marine mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2

Great Northern Diver Gavia immer 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 3
Gannet Morus bassanus 5
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 15
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 44
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 4
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 99
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 40
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 98
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 52
Razorbill Alca torda 1

Upon checking in at Liverpool we were welcomed on board by the friendly crew, who called up to the Captain to arrange for us to set up for our survey. We headed up to the bridge and met Captain Steve Miller who showed us to our survey location. He and his crew were very welcoming, offering us refreshments and were very keen to help, and we set off from Liverpool at 10.30, the weather being clear although a little windy.

Fulmar Rob Petley-Jones 02Seabird sightings began shortly after we set off with a variety of gulls observed, as well as several Oystercatcher which we observed feeding on the banks of the River Mersey as we headed out to sea. Throughout our journey we observed a variety of seabirds, including Razorbill, Common Scoter, Fulmar and fantastic views of a Great Northern Diver.

Mid journey we passed by the Isle of Man and shortly after this had two brief sightings of Harbour Porpoise. The windy weather did make cetacean spotting difficult, so these two sightings were very welcome! We continued surveying until the light became too poor for accurate sightings, and we arrived in Belfast on time at 18.30 where we left the ship for a short visit into Belfast.

We spent a couple of hours looking around the City Centre, including a visit to the lovely Christmas market, and returned to the ship at around 21.30 ready to depart at 22.30. Due to the time of year, we did not undertake a survey on the return leg of the journey and instead we had a comfortable night's sleep, arriving back into Liverpool at 06.30 the following morning.

Nicola Simpson - Liverpool-Belfast


Alan Sumnall - Liverpool-Belfast

Once again, our thanks go to the very helpful and friendly staff and crew of Stena Lagan who made this a very enjoyable crossing.

Alan Sumnall and Nicola Simpson, Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Fulmar Photo: Rob Petley-Jones
Nicola Simpson surveying Photo: Alan Sumnall
Alan Sumnall surveying Photo: Nicola Simpson