MARINElife blog: DFDS Seaways ‘Seven Sisters’ Newhaven-Dieppe 17 February 2018

Steve Boswell and Katie Bye, research surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: A cloudless sky with intense glare forward and then moving to starboard forward. Very little wind, sea state 1-2.

Summary of sightings:

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 1
Great Northern Diver Gavia immer 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 209
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 6
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 7
Common Gull Larus canus 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 22
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 9
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 36
Guillemot Uria aalge 58
Razorbill Alca torda 4
Auk sp.  13

We arranged to meet in suitable time before the 10.00 departure to enable Katie to familiarise herself with the data input forms, as it was her first survey after doing the training course in Brighton last year.

On boarding the Seven Sisters we made ourselves known at reception and were immediately escorted to the bridge prior to departure. This gave us an opportunity to introduce ourselves to Captain Delarue and to become acquainted with the bridge.

We left the berth on time and started surveying into a strong glare forward which continued throughout the day. Bird sightings were constant, but identification was sometimes challenging in the glorious clear conditions on an almost flat sea reflecting and accentuating the glare.

Gannet Peter Howlett 08
Gannet (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Gannet were seen in good numbers especially towards the French coast, some seen diving spectacularly into the sea close to the bridge, no immature birds were seen.  A Red- throated Diver trying to swim away from the ship was an interesting sighting as was a close Great Northern Diver heading parallel to the French coast.  A group of 12 adult Kittiwake sat on the sea was a lovely sight. Just before we manoeuvred into position into our berth in Dieppe we thanked Captain Delarue and his crew and headed down to await disembarkation.

RT Diver Mike Bamford 01
Red-throated Diver (Library photo: Mike Bamford)

We did manage to walk into Dieppe in warm sunlight and enjoy a drink in a cafe by the quay. Lots of people were out and about enjoying the warm February sunshine.

We headed back to the ship in time for prompt boarding and then enjoyed an evening meal. Due to the time of year we were only able to survey on the outward leg.