Sightings Archives: September 2012

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Hafnia Seaways’ Immingham - Cuxhaven 14-16 September 2012

Posted 19 September 2012

Maggie Gamble and Kate Wilson: Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Eastbound: 3-5 W. Westbound: 3-5 predominantly SW

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 621
Gannet Morus bassanus 292
Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus 3
Storm Petrel Hyrobates pelagicus 5
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 51
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 18
Parasitic (Arctic) Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 5
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus 1
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus  59
Common Gull Larus canus 5
Little Gull Larus minutus 114
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 35
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 12
Kittiwake Risa tridactyla 45
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 4
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 1
Commic Tern Sterna hirundo/ paradisaea 5
Guillemot Uria aalge 27
Razorbill Alca torda 1
Gull Sp. 1112
Auk sp. 62

Migrant Birds:

Barn Swallow  Hirundo rustica 2
Goldcrest Regulus regulus 1
Phylloscopus Warbler 1

Immingham LockOn arrival at Immingham, Kate and I were quickly ferried on board Hafnia Seaways by the ever helpful DFDS staff and offered a very welcome lunch. Afterwards, upon departure, we were duly impressed by a demonstration on how to navigate a large ship through a very narrow lock.

Once clear of the coast we were welcomed onto the bridge to commence surveying.  As there was a patch of poor weather moving through the area, the Captain steered a more northerly and slower than usual course to enable us to come into Cuxhaven behind it.  This was doubly excellent, as not only did we have a smooth crossing, but we passed close to Dogger Bank where we had some good bird sightings.

It was a great day for Little Gull, which is a species I seldom see and it was a real treat to get such good views of this delightful bird as several flocks passed by on their autumn migration. Great Skua were also abundant with particularly good views of a pair tussling with a small group of Fulmar over a fish.  Also seen were the more dashing Arctic Skua in light and dark colour morphs on their way south for the winter. We had an unexpected visit to the bridge by a small migrant, a diminutive male Goldcrest. We managed to remove him and show him the door, wherever he was heading, I hope he made it!

Storm PetrelThe next two days were quieter but a succession of birds to be identified kept us entertained, with Sooty Shearwater and British Storm Petrel an unexpected bonus for me.

A single Harbour Porpoise was the only cetacean sighting for this survey.

Many thanks to all, for their assistance in getting on and off the ship, the steward who fed us so well and the Captain and bridge crew for allowing us access during the survey.

Maggie Gamble and Kate Wilson, Research Surveyors for MARINElife