David Doxford and Caroline Race, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)
Weather: Good, wind north-northwesterly force 5, sea state moderate, visibility good.
Summary of sightings
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 11
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 105
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 1
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 8
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 12
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 5
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 23
Guillemot Uria aalge 38
Razorbill Alca torda 9
Juvenile gulls Larus sp. 15
We were swiftly escorted aboard by the friendly DFDS staff, left on schedule and were immediately welcomed to the bridge by the Captain to start our survey.
Caroline Race surveying (David Doxford)
We started to record birds straightaway and it proved to be a very busy trip with a total of 222 birds recorded in total.
As we headed towards Dieppe, we saw numerous Gannet, Kittiwake, juvenile gulls and Great Black-backed Gull along with Guillemot, Razorbill, Great Skua and the occasional Fulmar and Manx Shearwater. Interestingly almost all the Gannets were flying west and no juveniles were seen.
Midway through the trip, as I was recording effort data, Caroline gave an excited yelp. I looked up to see two Bottlenose Dolphin (an adult and calf) off the bow. They were soon joined by others to give 11 in total! They briefly attempted to bow-ride but the ship was too fast for them and they soon disappeared in our wake. It was good to see such a big group and heartening that they had two calves amongst their number.
Bottlenose Dolphin (Archive photo: Graham Ekins)
Due to the season we could only survey on the outward leg so we spent the return trip entering data and typing up our notes.
On arrival back in Newhaven we thanked the Captain and his staff for their hospitality before heading ashore.