Sightings Archives: November 2013

MARINElife survey report: LD Lines Network ‘Cote d’Albatre’ Newhaven-Dieppe 16 November 2013

Posted 19 November 2013

Adrian Shephard and Thomas Fisher, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: N-NE 1-2

Summay of sightings:

Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata 1
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 5

Brent Goose Branta bernicla 3
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 31
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 23
Gannet Morus bassanus 905
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 6
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 10
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 9
Common Gull Larus canus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 314
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 132
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 41
Guillemot Uria aalge 30
Razorbill Alca torda 2
Unidentified mixed gull Sp. 33
Unidentified Diver Sp. 1

Terrestrial Birds
Starling Sturnus vulgaris 58 (at sea)

We arrived at Newhaven and enjoyed a coffee and toast before heading aboard and up to the bridge. After reversing up the channel, Captain Conquet and his crew turned the' Cote d'Albatre' and we were greeted by glorious sunshine and calm seas - we could hardly believe it was November as we donned our shades!

GBB Gull Adrian Shephard 02
Great Black-backed Gull (Adrian Shephard)

There were a constant stream of seabirds to keep us occupied with early sightings of Common Scoter and a small group of Brent Geese. Increasing numbers of Gannet were observed as the survey progressed together with occasional Guillemot, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake and Great Skua.

A large, mixed group of gulls, Gannet and Guillemot heralded our first cetacean sighting of a group of three Harbour Porpoise including a juvenile. Thomas then spotted the highlight of the trip, a Minke Whale, which leisurely surfaced a couple of times before disappearing! This was the first time this species has been recorded during a MARINElife survey on this route. Two further Porpoises completed the cetacean encounters.

Minke Adrian Shephard 03a
Minke Whale (Adrian Shephard)

As we neared Dieppe, Gannet and gull numbers dramatically increased as we crossed the wake of a fishing vessel - over 900 Gannet were encountered in total during the survey. A final sighting of a Red-throated Diver outside Dieppe harbour called the survey to a close.

We disembarked and enjoyed a coffee and crepe in Dieppe as the sun set.

Dieppe 17112013 Adrian Shephard
Dieppe sunset (Adrian Shephard)

A big thank you to Captain Conquet and his crew for their warm welcome and keen interest in our surveys and to DFDS Seaways for their ongoing support on this increasing productive route for marine wildlife.