Sightings Archives: April 2012

MARINElife Survey Report: Immingham-Cuxhaven 'Tor Dania' 20 - 23 April 2012

Posted 25 April 2012

Rick Morris and Sharon Morris Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather: Eastbound: SE-SSW 3-4; Westbound: WSW 3-4

Unidentified Dolphin sp 1

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 3
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 30
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 7
Gannet Morus bassanus 97
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 2
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 195
Common Gull Larus canus 138
Little Gull Larus minutus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 103
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 682+
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 16
Kittiwake Risa tridactyla 224
Guillimot Uria aalge 153
Razorbill Alca torda 9
Commic Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 2
Goosander Mergus merganser 1
Unidentified Large Gull sp 69
Unidentified Small Gull sp 87
Unidentified Auk sp 4

Terrestrial Birds 
Wood pigeon Columba palumbus 1
Feral Pigeon Columba livia 1
Swallow Hirundo rustica 2
Unidentified passerine c300

On arriving at the DFDS terminal at Immingham, we made our way to reception and were then guided to the booking in gate then chauffeured onto our survey vessel to be greeted by a member of the crew and taken up to our very roomy and comfortable cabin.

Tor Dania BridgeThe captain was expecting us and gave his permission for us to go up to the bridge prior to our departure; this gave us the opportunity to observe the ship negotiate the lock from the berth out into the river Humber.

Once out into the estuary we encountered a lone Swallow on the last part of its migration and a Goosander flew past the bridge heading east.

Upon leaving the Humber estuary and entering the North Sea we started to record various sea birds and a passage of around three hundred passerines.

The only cetacean sighting came at 17:50 and was a dorsal fin of a Dolphin species, probably a Bottlenose Dolphin.

The second day Eastbound saw us up on the bridge at first light and whilst setting out our survey forms, were joined by six Great Black-Backed Gulls, the rest of the day was peppered with various sea birds sightings. Upon the approach to Cuxhaven we had seven Cormorants fly past the bridge then just as they had passed we observed in the distance three large flocks of Diver Species, which we're fairly sure were Cormorants but couldn't be positive although the next day the first officer asked if we had seen all the Cormorants leaving Cuxhaven heading out to sea.

Once in port we decided to go for a walkabout around the outskirts of Cuxhaven and after leaving the ship, were greeted by two police officers who knew who we were and after telling them of our plans gave us a lift to the exit gate in their van.


The walk produced sightings of Shelduck, Cormorant, Mallard and Oystercatcher on the shoreline.

Walking towards the railway crossing we disturbed a large Brown Hare which beat a hasty retreat along the rail tracks. Around the wooded area we saw Blue Tits, Chifchafs and Blackcaps.

We awoke on day three in the North Sea and again went up to the bridge at first light. We were feeling confident that we would get some cetacean sightings as the sea state was a 3, but alas it was not to be but at least we had the company of the wide variety of sea birds to keep us busy untill dusk whereupon we said goodnight to the officer of the watch and thanked him for the constant supply of tea and cofee throughout the trip.

Arriving back in Immingham at 04:00hrs we made our way down to disembark thanking the crew as we left.

We would like to express our gratitude to DFDS and the Captain and crew of the Tor Dania for their exceptional help and co-operation, this was a truly enjoyable trip.

Rick Morris and Sharon Morris, Research Surveyors for MARINElife