Maggie Gamble and Michael Bamford, Research
Surveyors for MARINElife
Conditions: Outward - Wind SE-S Force 5-4; Sea state 3-5; Visibility 3; continuous light/heavy rain Inward - Wind SE-SW Force 2-4; Sea state 2-4; Visibility 5; Cloud 7 increasing 8
Cetaceans and Seals:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 8
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 7
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 29
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 80
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 67
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 62
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 89
Common Gull Larus canus 9
Guillemot Uria aalge 126
Razorbill Alca torda 9
Auk sp 54
Landbirds seen at
We found our way to the Seatruck terminal and were shown on board the very modern Seatruck 'Power' where we were allocated cabins and had a late breakfast.
After setting off through the lock, we joined the bridge as we left the harbour in quite gloomy conditions and continuous rain. The sea state was better than we anticipated following a pretty alarming forecast, and shortly after leaving the harbour a single Harbour Porpoise surfaced close to the ship and gave the usual tantalising brief view. Thereafter we saw some Cormorant festooned buoys before a variety of auks and gulls with a couple of Fulmar before the light closed in.
We stayed in the 'Charles Stewart' guesthouse and took a stroll down O'Connell Street with the late Christmas shoppers and a very agreeable taste of the Black Stuff before we settled in for the night.
The next day, the shortest day of the year, we took the taxi ride to the dock where we joined the 'Clipper Pennant' where we were again given cabins and a full breakfast. Before departure, we had good clear views of the very calm Dublin docks as the sun rose, with groups of Red-breasted Merganser and a few Black Guillemot in their less familiar winter plumage.
We were welcomed to the bridge, which provided excellent all-round views. The sea was unexpectedly calm which allowed a quite distant view of two Harbour Porpoise in the harbour. Following that we saw three further singles of Harbour Porpoise on the trip. The seabird count was quiet with sporadic auks and gulls, and a large feeding group of Black-headed Gull and Kittiwake.
Light closed in at 4 p.m. before we docked on time, and were helpfully escorted off the vessel, with many thanks to the helpful Seatruck shore staff and crews of 'Power' and 'Clipper Pennant'.
Maggie Gamble and Michael Bamford, Research Surveyors for MARINElife