MARINElife Survey Report: Liverpool-Belfast 'Stena Mersey' 6th - 7th January 2018

Stephen Dunstan and Ashleigh Dawson, Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Weather: Sunny; Wind NE force 4-6

Summary of Sightings

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 4
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 22
Gannet Morus bassanus 8
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 26
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus 230
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 15
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 3
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 2
Common Gull Larus canus 88
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 25
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 11
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 39
Guillemot Uria aalge 10
Razorbill Alca torda 9
Auk sp. 6
Large gull sp. 40

Common Gull Peter Howlett 02We arrived in good time and were transferred to the Stena Mersey by bus. When the ferry left the berth, we were taken up to the bridge where the captain and crew made us welcome.

As we left the Mersey estuary we saw quite a few gulls, including good numbers of Common Gull. As we passed Crosby beach two large skeins of Pink-footed Geese passed the boat heading for the South-West Lancashire mosses.

We began to see a few seabirds, including Guillemot and Kittiwake, but not untypically for this route it was some time before the first Fulmar were noted. The most notable birds of the survey were several Red-throated Diver and Common Scoter.

Auks began to include a few Razorbill as we neared and passed the Isle of Man. Gannet sightings were rather thin on the ground even allowing for the time of year. With it being a January survey, we didn't get a chance to record in Belfast Lough as darkness fell before we reached there.

Common Scoter Rick Morris 02Whilst there were no cetaceans, the survey produced a variety of seabirds, and we are very grateful to everyone on the Stena Mersey, and the port staff at Birkenhead for their support for us and MARINElife, and taking an interest in the sightings that we had during the survey

Stephen Dunstan and Ashleigh Davidson, Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Common Gull Photo: Peter Howlett
Common Scoter Photo: Rick Morris