MARINElife blog: DFDS Seaways: ‘Cote D’Albatre Newhaven-Dieppe 12 November 2016

Adrian Shephard and Hazel Munt, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: wind SSE 5-7, significant rain

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds
Gannet Morus bassanus 119
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 2
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 20
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 42
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 48
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 32
Guillemot Uria aalge 8
Razorbill Alca torda 3
Unidentified Auk sp.  4
Common Gull Larus canus  1
Unidentified Gull sp.  10
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 4
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 5

After a calm and clear Friday I was hoping for more of the same on Saturday for this survey to Dieppe, unfortunately, I was greeted by rain on opening the door for the drive down. This was to be Hazel's first survey and after chatting in the car and having a coffee in the terminal, we boarded Cote D'Albatre and had a late breakfast.

GBB Gull Adrian Shephard 05
Great Black-backed Gull (Adrian Shephard)

Soon after departing, we were invited to the bridge to commence the survey, being greeted by a significant number of waves, whitecaps and rain which plagued the majority of the crossing. We made the best of it and were soon recording Gannet soaring majestically in the distance interspersed with Great Black-backed Gull and the occasional auk.

A large dark bird drew our attention which was identified as a Great Skua, a powerful predatory seabird. We were soon recording good numbers of elegant Kittiwake effortlessly handling the brisk southerly winds.

A further Great Skua was seen taking off from the sea and as we approached Dieppe, we added a few additional species to the tally including Red-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe and Razorbill.

Great Skua Adrian Shephard 08
Great Skua (Adrian Shephard)

The turnaround is quick on this crossing but we still had time for a walk into Dieppe to grab a delicious pastry or two. After re-boarding, we headed back to the bridge with the hope of a little daylight, but alas, we only had a mere 15 minutes before it was time to end the survey.

We thanked Captain Conquet and his crew for their support and headed down for a bite to eat and to enter the data for the crossing.