Sightings Archives: March 2017

MARINElife blog: DFDS Seaways ‘Seven Sisters’ Newhaven-Dieppe 18 March 2017

Posted 26 March 2017

Keith Morgan and Peter Jones, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: wind 32-45 Knots, dry and overcast, visibility moderate.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 3
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet  Morus bassanus 79
Great Skua  Stercorarius skua 10
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 42
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus 7
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 11
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla 9
Guillemot  Uria aalge 21
Red-throated Diver  Gavia stellata 2
Gull sp. 5
Wader sp. 8
Auk sp. 8

We headed to the Seven Sisters bridge shortly before departing at 11:00. We started our survey once we'd left the shelter of the harbour and found windy conditions with a swell of 2-3 metres. We initially had some glare to contend with, although it was cloudy throughout our trip.

We left a group of mixed gulls in the harbour but soon picked up individuals including Herring, Lesser and Great Black-backed, then Gannet, Guillemot and Great Skua as we headed further into the Channel.

Common Dolphin Carol Farmer Wright 03
Common Dolphin (Archive photo:Carol Farmer-Wright)

On the stroke of Noon, Peter picked up dorsal fins and we had an excellent view of three Common Dolphin bursting out of a wave, line abreast, on the starboard side of the ship.

We had a steady flow of birds throughout our passage to Dieppe where the harbour was strangely empty of birdlife.

We had a brief stroll into the outskirts of Dieppe centre then returned to the port. For the return journey, one of our fellow travellers had a cat in a travel basket.  As we went to board the bus back to the ship, the cat caught the attention of security dog and must have been alarmed to have just a piece of plastic netting between them!

GC Grebe Thomas Fisher 01
Great Crested Grebe (Archive photo: Thomas Fisher)

We left a group of Great Crested Grebe in the harbour.

Our return journey was cloudy with a strong wind and swell but we managed to survey for about an hour before the light grew too poor.  Peter's eagle eyes spotted a Harbour Porpoise soon after we left Dieppe and we again had a steady flow of birds.