MARINElife blog: DFDS Transmanche Ferries ‘Seven Sisters’ Newhaven-Dieppe 12 September 2015

Carol Farmer-Wright and David Doxford, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather
Outward - Brisk winds, sea state 5-3, increasing cloud.
Return - Brisk winds, sea state 3, sunny.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Seabirds
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 102
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 5
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 1
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 6
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 1
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 2
Gull sp. 5

Terrestrial Birds
Swallow Hirundo rustica 31

On completing the initial manoeuvres out of Newhaven Harbour we were escorted to the bridge, welcomed by Captain Quenoil and settled down to begin our survey. The survey began with sporadic sightings of adult Gannet with a single sighting of Fulmar. September is migration time for passerines and as we travelled south we encountered small groups of Swallow flying low over the water. A single Great Skua appeared as we neared Dieppe before we stopped the southbound transect.

Fulmar Peter Howlett 10
Fulmar (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

At Dieppe we walked into the town as David was interested in finding the Rue d'Ecosse which was as far as his uncle managed to reach in an invasion operation during the Second World War prior to the D-day landings. Having located the street we then headed to a café for some refreshment prior to visiting the outdoor market and returning to the ship.

Leaving Dieppe we entered an area where shallow gravel and sand bars can be seen to the north which can be a good area for feeding marine mammals and birds. The tide had dropped whilst we were in port and Gannet together with Sandwich Tern were seen feeding. David spotted a single Harbour Porpoise moving swiftly away from the ship.

Harbour Porpoise Graham Ekins 03
Harbour Porpoise (Archive photo: Graham Ekins)

As we moved into the English Channel sightings slowed. We mainly saw Gannet, the majority of which were adult with a couple of birds under 2 years of age. Four Great Skua were also recorded before the setting sun called a halt to our survey efforts.

We would like to thank DFDS Seaways/Transmanche Ferries for enabling us to survey on this route. Special thanks to Captain Quenoil, his officers and the crew of the Seven Sisters for their hospitality.