Carol Farmer-Wright and Emma Bateman Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: West: W2-5; East W5-4
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 13
Gannet Morus bassanus 225
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 20
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 4
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 5
Unidentified Gull sp. 3
Unidentified larus sp. 4
Guillemot Uria aalge 3
Unidentified Auk sp. 2
We arrived at the port and were welcomed on board the Seven Sisters by the crew and were taken up to the bridge to begin our survey.
We left harbour with the sun shining intermittently between the clouds. Soon after departure we started encountering Herring Gulls and Gannets. The latter were showing beautifully as the cloud cover decreased as the day went on and their distinctive plumage evidenced their presence in the channel. We also saw the occasional Fulmar gliding over the waves with consummate ease.
We docked in Dieppe just after 14.15 and spent a short time ashore looking at the birds in and around the harbour area which included Herring Gull, Cormorant and Carrion Crow that were all enjoying the spring sunshine.
At 17.00 we rejoined the crew on the bridge of the Seven Sisters to return to Newhaven.
The seas were choppier on our northbound trip but we were quickly rewarded by the sight of a small group of Herring Gulls feeding at the mouth of the river Seine. As we moved north-west into the English Channel bird activity increased. We encountered Great Black-back Gulls and small groups of Gannets on the water.
Half an hour into our journey we encountered 2 groups of Gannets feeding. The second group numbered around 60 individuals, feeding and diving into a small area. We looked for dorsal fins amongst the Gannets but were unable to see any. The sun was shining brightly by now, the clouds having melted away and the rest of the journey was interspersed by sightings of Gannets and Fulmars with the occasional Cormorant. The highlight of our survey was seeing a Great Skua which was also seen by one of the ship's officers.
As the light started to fade we left the Bridge having thanked the crew for being so very helpful whilst we were surveying. We enjoyed an excellent meal aboard ship whilst watching the lights of Seaford, Newhaven and Brighton appearing on the horizon.
Overall we had a very productive survey and are most grateful to the LD Lines staff and crew for their hospitality.
Carol Farmer-Wright and Emma Bateman, Research Surveyors for MARINElife