MARINElife Survey Report: Seatruck ‘Progress’ / ‘Power’ Liverpool-Dublin 13-14 October 2016

Robin Langdon and Alan Altoft- Research Surveyor for MARINElife
E3-4 - SSE 2-4

Marine Mammals:
Atlantic Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 4

Seabirds:
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 6
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 192
Cormorant Phalacrocroax carbo 192
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 601
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 42
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 7
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 106
Common Guillemot Uria aalge 505
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Black-Headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 7
Large gull sp. 12
Auk sp. 2
Gull sp. 3
Shearwater sp. 2

This was Alan's first MarineLife ferry-based survey from the bridge of a ship, although he has done some trips for MarineLife as a Wildlife Officer.  It was also his first time in Dublin so it was nice that we got a guided tour to all the sights in Dublin from a friendly taxi driver that picked us up from the port.

The usual array of birds were spotted including Herring Gull, Guillemot, Kittiwake, Cormorant and Gannet.  About thirty minutes outside Liverpool there was a large raft of gulls and Guillemots, the birds sitting closely together on the water but not doing any feeding that you would normally expect in a raft of birds like this.  We spent a while studying the raft in the hope that we might see some associated cetacean but alas none were observed.

Great Skua Peter Howlett 10

Great Skua (Peter Howlett)

Manx Shearwater numbers were much reduced from earlier in the season with only 3 being seen.  The most unusual bird spotted was a single Great Skua that crossed the bow of the ship on the return journey.

Conditions were not ideal for spotting cetacean but we did our best, as previous survey reports showed a number of Harbour Porpoise having been seen in the bay just outside Dublin.  On the return leg we started the survey as soon as we got to the bridge but no cetaceans were spotted, and it looked like there were to be no marine mammals on this trip.  Right at the last minute Alan trained his binoculars on a sand bank just outside Liverpool and spotted a small family of Grey Seal basking on the sand and playing in the water.

Grey Seals_Robin Langdon

Grey Seals (Robin Langdon)

We would like to thanks Master James Clarke and his crew aboard the Seatruck Progress and Master Simon Townsend and his crew aboard the Seatruck Power for making us welcome.

Robin Langdon and Alan Altoft- Research Surveyor for MARINElife