Julia Benson and Karrie Langdon, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)
Weather - dry, sunny and varying cloud cover, good visibility, sea state 4-5.
Summary of species recorded
Harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1
Unidentified dolphin sp. 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 6
Gannet Morus bassanus 39
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 2
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 5
Unidentified gull sp. 3
Swift Apus apus 2
We arrived at the Newhaven ferry terminal on a misty morning but, luckily, the mist had cleared by the time we boarded the ship and were leaving the harbour. The sun was shining and much of the cloud had cleared.
Shortly after leaving the harbour we were escorted to the bridge and began surveying. The sea state was not ideal for spotting cetaceans, however, within the first 15 minutes of surveying, the back and dorsal fin of a dolphin was seen breaking the surface of the water just ahead of the ship on the starboard side. Unfortunately, we did not see it surface again so were unable to identify the species.
Kittiwake (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)
As for seabirds, Gannet was the most sighted bird of the day. We regularly saw them throughout both crossings, though not in great numbers. We also saw Fulmar, Kittiwake, Herring Gull and a couple of Swift. As we approached Dieppe harbour, we saw two Shag flying low to the water.
Whilst we waited for the return crossing we headed into the small town of Dieppe. Here we wandered around the street market before finding a nice bar by the harbour where we enjoyed a coffee on what was a gorgeous sunny afternoon.
Shortly after leaving the harbour on our return journey we were back on the bridge surveying. Again, we saw Gannet and Herring Gull and a couple of Fulmar. We stayed on the bridge until the sun dipped below the horizon and there was not enough light to continue with the survey.
Fulmar (Archive photo: Rob Petley-Jones)
Many thanks to DFDS, Captain Fontint, his officers and crew for making us feel so welcome and allowing us on board to conduct our survey work.