Carol Farmer-Wright and Joanne Reynolds Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)
Weather: Southbound: overcast, rain with reduced visibility,
south-westerly wind force 6-4
Return: Brighter, improved visibility with glare at times: south-westerly wind force 4-5
Summary of sightings
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 307
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 5
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 13
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 5
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 13
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 2
Unidentified Auk Sp. 15
Feral Pigeon Columba livia 3
Unidentified Duck Sp. 41
Unidentified Passerines 5
We arrived at Newhaven to overcast skies, where we boarded our ship and were welcomed by Captain Quenoil and his officers to the bridge to begin our survey.
Juvenile Gannet (Archive photo: Rob Petley-Jones)
Shortly after leaving the port, it started to rain, which continued throughout our southbound crossing. This hampered our observations somewhat and meant that the smaller birds were sometimes frustratingly difficult to identify. That said, we were soon encountering Gannet of all ages travelling the Channel in search of food, including juveniles with their fresh brown plumage. These sightings were occasionally peppered with Herring Gull, Great and Lesser Black-backed Gull and the opportunistic Great Skua.
Great Skua (Archive photo: Mike Bamford)
We arrived at Dieppe and went ashore to start compiling our sightings at the port's café. The return journey started three hours later. During that time the skies had cleared and the rain had stopped. The hour of daylight on the north-bound section resulted in sightings of more Gannet, Herring Gull and Great Skua before the glorious sunset brought our survey to an end.
Once again our thanks go to DFDS Seaways, Captain Quenoil, and the officers and crew of the Cote d'Albatre who always make us feel so welcome on this route.