Sightings Archives: January 2014

MARINElife survey report: DFDS Seaways Côte d'Albâtre Newhaven-Dieppe 18 January 2014

Posted 22 January 2014

Carol Farmer-Wright and Lee Slater, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: Wind SW 2-6

Summary of sightings

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 89
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 42
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 2
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 5
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 27
Guillemot Uria aalge 49
Auk Sp. 6
Diver Sp. 6

We met in the terminal at Newhaven Harbour, where we enjoyed a cup of tea before we were efficiently ushered aboard. Once on board we received the keys to our roomy cabin and as the ferry entered the Channel, we were escorted up to the bridge.

The sea state meant that spotting cetaceans was going to be challenging, however, the early presence of a range of gull species following the vessel filled us with optimism.

Surveying Carol Farmer-Wright 01
Carol Farmer-Wright surveying the Channel

As we crossed the Channel, we began to get a steady stream of Gannet, Kittiwake and Guillemot. What was apparent, was that some individuals were already in a transitional period, changing to their breeding plumages.

As we neared Dieppe, the sea state lowered and we were once again hopeful for cetaceans, unfortunately though, no 'fins' broke the surface, but we did get good views of Red-throated Diver around the entrance of Dieppe harbour.

Gannet Peter Howlett 04
Gannet (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

Once we finished the crossing, we disembarked and had a leisurely walk around Dieppe, before heading back to the vessel for the return crossing.

The light had significantly diminished and so during the return leg we enjoyed a superb meal in the crew's mess, compiled our sightings and subsequently entered the raw data we had collected.

We would like to thank Captain Conquet, his crew and the staff of LD Lines for their hospitality.