Carol Farmer-Wright and Stephanie Good, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Outbound: Partial cloud, 2-3, return leg: Overcast, 3-1
Summary of sightings:
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 3
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 8
Unidentified Cetacean sp. 2
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 26
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 88
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Parasitic (Arctic) Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 90L
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 3
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 12
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 17
Guillemot Uria aalge 39
Undidentified Gull sp. 8
Feral Pigeon Columba livia 1
Swallow Hirundo rustica 1
We arrived at Newhaven and checked in ready for a 10am departure. We boarded the Seven Sisters and waited until we had cleared the outer breakwater at Newhaven before heading to the bridge to begin our survey. Within 15 minutes, we saw our first migrant, a solitary Swallow heading towards the south coast of England. Guillemot, Gannet, Fulmar and Herring Gull were seen sporadically on the southbound journey.
Guillemot (Photo: Graham Ekins)
An hour and a half into the survey a solitary Harbour Porpoise was sighted and half an hour later, we were rewarded with a brief sighting of three Bottlenose Dolphin riding the pressure wave created by the bow of our ship. We docked at Dieppe and Captain Quenoil kindly allowed us to remain on the ship to compile our sightings before returning to survey the northbound leg.
Within five minutes we had a brief glimpse of a cetacean, sadly too brief to identify. Half an hour later, we saw several Gannet feeding ahead of the ship. Concentrating our attention on that area resulted in a further sighting, this time a Harbour Porpoise rolling slightly to the west of the Gannet activity.
A further hour and a half elapsed before more Harbour Porpoise were encountered, five animals within fifteen minutes with a further Porpoise seen an hour later.
Manx Shearwater (Photo: Rick Morris)
During the northern leg, Gannet, Fulmar, Guillemot and Kittiwake were in evidence and we were fortunate to see Manx Shearwater, Great Skua and Arctic Skua as we headed towards England.
With Newhaven harbour in sight and dusk falling rapidly, we thanked Captain Quenoil, his Officers and crew for their hospitality and left the bridge after a very satisfying survey.