MARINElife blog: DFDS Seaways ‘Cote D’Albâtre’ Newhaven-Dieppe 17 November 2018

Mandy Bright & Michael Mackay; Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: Sunny with little cloud, visibility excellent, sea state 4

Summary of Species Recorded

Seabirds
Gannet Morus bassanus 148
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 3
Auk sp. 1
Gull sp. 23

I arrived at Newhaven in sunshine but knowing the forecast was for a bit of a windy crossing.  Having met up with Michael and enjoyed a quick breakfast whilst chatting to a couple interested in the work we were doing, we boarded the Cote d'Albatre.  We were warmly welcomed aboard and once we were clear of the port made our way up to the bridge and settled in for the crossing and the survey.

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

A couple of initial Kittiwake were followed by regular sightings of Gannet, and we were treated to several gliding just outside the bridge window so allowing us to enjoy their graceful beauty close up. A couple of large groups of Gannet further into the crossing perhaps suggested a good food source under the surface but we couldn't spot any associated mammals.

About half way across we saw a Great Skua in between yet more Gannet, which remained the primary species sighted for the remainder of the crossing.  As we neared Dieppe, large groups of gulls flocked together including a Black-headed Gull in its winter plumage.

BH Gull Peter Howlett 02
Black-headed Gull (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

We disembarked in Dieppe and found the town very busy due to the herring and scallop festival.  This is held every year and celebrates the produce that is a staple in this coastal town, and this was the 49th year of it being celebrated in this way.  We had time to wander round some of the stalls and enjoy the atmosphere before heading back to the ship for the return crossing.

As it was too dark to survey on the return journey, we made ourselves comfortable and enjoyed a quiet crossing.  We would like to thank DFDS and Captain Conquet and his crew for continuing to support MARINElife's work.