MARINElife Blog: DFDS Seaways Cote D’Albatre Newhaven-Dieppe 17 January 2015

Andrew Gilbert and Melissa Goulton, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather
Good visibility. Wind: SSW. Sea state: 3-4.

Summary of sightings:
Seabirds

Gannet  Morus bassanus 58
Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo 3
Black-headed Gull  Chroicocephalus ridibundus 2
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 9
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 16
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla
Guillemot  Uria aalge 17
Razorbill  Alca torda 10
Unidentified auk sp.  18
Unidentified gull sp.  91

Terrestrial Birds
Unidentified goose sp.  3

We met in the ferry terminal and were soon on board the Cote D'Albatre and unpacking our day bags in the cabin provided. Reception spoke to Captain Conquet for us and he kindly welcomed us on the bridge before the ship sailed. This allowed us to be ready to start as soon as the ship left Newhaven and we made the most of the limited daylight hours which, in the winter months, prevent us from surveying on the return leg of this trip.

GBB Gull Peter Howlett 02
Great Black-backed Gull (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

As we left the harbour we were pleased to find a moderate sea state of 3-4, relatively clear skies, and a SSW wind. The four hour crossing passed quickly with Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls dominating the coastal waters.  When we moved further into the Channel we spotted good numbers of Gannet, some of which were feeding. An occasional Kittiwake added variety and a few travelling groups of Guillemot and Razorbill crossed our path.

As we neared the French coast three geese flew south but they were too far away to identify. When the ferry arrived off Dieppe a barrage of gulls flew out to meet us. They came at great speed, in large numbers and passed through the survey area before we were able to identify them. There were 91 in total and they flocked to the stern of the ship hoping to feed in the churned up wake.  Looking back we could see Great Black-backed, Black-headed, Common, and Herring Gull.

Razorbill Peter Howlett 02
Razorbill (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

We enjoyed a good survey, a great complimentary lunch on board and the Captain and his crew made us exceptionally welcome. Many thanks to DFDS and the crew for their support of this route.