Carol Farmer-Wright and Cheryl Leaning; Research Surveyors
Overcast; good visibility; wind WSW-SSW force 4-5
Summary of sightings
Atlantic Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 956
Gannet Morus bassanus 77
Cormorant Phalacrocroax carbo 14
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 11
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 4
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 3
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 10
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 68
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 14
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 8
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 1
Common Guillemot Uria aalge 271
Black Guillemot Cepphus grille 1
Razorbill Alca torda 15
Puffin Fratercula arctica 1
Large gull sp. 26
Tern sp. 1
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 1
The day was sunny with the occasional showers as we drove to Dublin Port Terminal 3 to join the European Endeavour for the afternoon survey. Our booking was processed quickly and it wasn't long before we were able to board the ship. We had a lovely meal before Captain Philip Hill met us and we were invited to join him on the bridge.
Whilst waiting for departure we observed three Black Guillemot feeding in the harbour and squabbles for scraps of food between Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull.
Herring Gull (Rob Petley-Jones)
Leaving Dublin behind, we entered the Irish Sea and immediately began recording Common Tern, Cormorant, Shag, Herring Gull and Kittiwake. Soon we were to encounter small rafts of Common Guillemot, some birds with small fish or sand eel in their beak ready to take back to their growing offspring. Manx Shearwater were also rafting offshore, taking flight as soon as the vessel neared them to skim the surface of the water. Guillemot, shearwaters and Gannet were to dominate the rest of the survey.
The light started to fade as we approached the wind farms in Liverpool Bay and we thanked the bridge crew and descended to the restaurant to have a hearty supper before the ship docked in Liverpool.
Manx Shearwater (Peter Howlett)
Sadly we didn't record any cetaceans on this survey but that was more than compensated for by the good number of birds we saw whilst traversing the Irish Sea.
Our thanks go to P&O ferries, Captain Philip Hill, his officers and crew for looking after us so well whilst surveying. It was lovely to see so many familiar faces from former routes working on board.
Carol Farmer-Wright and Cheryl Leaning; Research Surveyors for MARINElife