Sightings Archives: December 2019

MARINElife Survey Report: Liverpool-Belfast 'Stena Lagan' 7th December 2019

Posted 22 December 2019

Alan Sumnall and Nicola Simpson Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Visibility: Mostly clear with occasional fog; Cloud: 80%; Wind: Light; Swell: low

Summary of Sightings

Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 103
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 20
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 41
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 14
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 15
Guillemot Uria aalge 32

BH Gull Peter Howlett 09Upon checking in at Liverpool we were welcomed on board by the friendly crew, who called up to the Captain on the bridge to arrange for us to set up for our survey. We headed up to the bridge and met the Captain and crew who made us very welcome and showed us to our survey location. We left Liverpool at 10.30, the weather being clear with a couple of brief patches of fog.

Seabird sightings began shortly after we set off with a variety of gulls observed as we headed out to sea. Throughout our journey we observed a variety of seabirds, including Great Black-backed Gull, Cormorant and Guillemot. The highlight was spotting two large flocks of Common Scoter, one of which included over 70 individuals.

Mid-journey we passed by the Isle of Man and the swell picked up slightly which made cetacean spotting more difficult. We continued 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.

Surveying on the Stena LaganWe 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 but instead we had a comfortable night's sleep, arriving back into Liverpool at 06.30 the following morning.

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 Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Black-headed Gull Photo: Peter Howlett
Surveying on the Stena Lagan Photo: Alan Sumnall