Sightings Archives: October 2012

MARINElife Survey Report: Newhaven-Dieppe ‘Seven Sisters’ 20 October 2012

Posted 23 October 2012

Adrian Shephard and Thomas Fisher, Researchers for MARINElife
Weather: SE - ESE 1-3

Cetaceans and mammals: 
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 4
Unidentified Dolphin sp 1 

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 1150
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 48
Common Gull Larus canus 6
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 52
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 8
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 9
Little Gull Larus minutus 7
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 8
Unidentified mixed Gull sp. 84
Guillemot Uria aalge 24
Razorbill Alca torda 3
Unidentified Auk sp. 3

Terrestrial Birds
Unidentified Warbler sp. 3 (at sea)
Starling Sturnus vulgaris 11 (at sea)
Unidentified small Passerine sp. 20 (at sea)

NewhavenTidal conditions meant a mid-day departure for this survey which was ideal as it gave time for the morning fog to dissipate. We checked in and talked with the Newhaven shore-based team about seabird movements at this time of year before boarding 'Seven Sisters'. We headed to the bridge shortly after departing to meet the Captain and his crew and started our survey - in calm conditions.

Initially we picked up a variety of gulls including Herring, Common and Black-headed, then Gannets as we headed further into the Channel. There were a few fishing vessels seen on route and around a number of these there were a Migrant Starlingsconcentration of seabirds and behind one in particular, there were almost 1000 tailing back on the waters surface. A few migrants were also encountered with a couple of small groups of Starlings passing ahead of the ship heading for the continent.
One of the bridge officers mentioned that three dolphins had been seen on the last crossing, so hopes were high, especially with overcast conditions (no glare) and calm seas.

After around an hour of surveying, Thomas picked up dorsal fins far ahead of the ship and three Harbour Porpoise rolled slowly, clearly visible despite the distance in the calm sea state. A further porpoise followed sometime later and Surveying from Seven Sistersa distant dolphin surfacing just a couple of times before disappearing proved frustrating and defied identification. 
Bird sightings remained fairly constant throughout the survey with a few Little Gulls making an appearance as we neared Dieppe together with a number of Guillemots.

We concluded our survey on arrival in Dieppe and thanked Captain Quenoil and his staff for their hospitality before heading into Dieppe for a sandwich.



Adrian Shephard and Thomas Fisher, Research Surveyors for MARINElife