MARINElife blog: DFDS Seaways ‘Cote D’Albatre’ Newhaven-Dieppe 15 December 2018

Adrian Shephard and Thomas Fisher, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: Continuous rain and windy conditions SE7

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 4

Seabirds
Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet Morus bassanus 92
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 18
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 2
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 1
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 15
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 38
Common Gull Larus canus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 18
Guillemot Uria aalge 51
Razorbill Alca torda 4
Diver sp. 2

With the forecast for strong winds and bitter cold rain from the south-east, we wondered whether there would be much visible on the crossing this month. After a short wait at Newhaven, we boarded and headed out ahead of schedule. We joined the bridge team after passing the breakwater and were greeted by some swell and a strong head wind which was blowing at force 7 for the entire crossing.

Thomas Fisher surveying Adrian Shephard 03
Thomas Fisher surveying (Adrian Shephard)

Seabird sightings were fairly steady with Gannet, Great Black-backed Gull and Guillemot most obvious. A fast flying white bird caught my attention ahead of the vessel and with its characteristic black underwings was identified as a Little Gull battling the winds.

A dark shape and a dorsal fin were observed, followed by a second. After some close observation, 2 Common Dolphin were seen moving through the waves, but not being as acrobatic as they can be. A further 2 animals were seen later in the survey with the same general behaviour.

Common Dolphin Adrian Shephard 18
Common Dolphin (Library photo: Adrian Shephard)

Around mid-Channel, a small group of Fulmar moved across the bow and a little later, a Great Skua took off in search of food. With Dieppe in sight, small groups of Common Scoter and occasional Diver species were seen with only 1 confirmed as Black-throated Diver.

Despite the weather, a productive trip and or thanks go to Captain Bidet and the crew of Cote D'Albatre for making us feel most welcome.