Sightings Archives: March 2013

MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS ‘ClipperPoint’ Immingham-Cuxhaven 15th-18th March 2013

Posted 26 March 2013

John Perry and Cliff Morrison, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Summary of sightings
Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena 5
Grey Seal  Halichoerus grypus 2
Common (Harbour) Seal  Phoca vitulina 1

Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus 1
Brent Goose Branta bernicla 46
Eider Somateria mollissima 41
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 14
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator 98
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 7
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 63
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 129
Shag Phalacrocoraxaristotelis 1
Arctic(Parasitic) Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 125
Common Gull Larus canus 25
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 12
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 57
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 23
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 34
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 12
Guillemot Uria aalge 108
Razorbill Alca torda 6
Auk Sp.10
Diver Sp. 9
Grey Goose Sp.10

Terrestrial Birds:
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 1
Pintail Anas acuta 46
Wigeon Anas penelope 14
Goosander Mergus merganser 34
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 84
Curlew Numenius arquata 1
Dunlin Calidris alpine 6
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 1
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 2
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus 3
Skylark Alauda arvensis 1
Blackbird Turdus merula 3
Song ThrushTurdus philomelos 2
Robin Erithacus rubecula 1
Starling Sturnus vulgaris 119
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs 10 

We were welcomed aboard the 'ClipperPoint' by the crew and were provided with an excellent lunch, a good start to the trip. We were able to visit the bridge at 13:30hrs and were greeted by Captain Jameson, who very helpfully described the outbound route. Predicted southerly gales meant he had decided to take a more southeasterly route so that the ship would benefit from the protection of the Dutch and German coasts, before it then turned towards Cuxhaven the following morning. Scheduling meant a similar return route was planned.

Fortunately, the strong winds blew overnight, but did not disturb a good night's sleep and we were able to observe throughout all the daylight hours each day.

Harbour PorpoiseOn the Friday watch, we were very pleased to see a Harbour Porpoise just a couple of minutes out of Immingham port, being the first record of the day. Interestingly, two just off Grimsby on the previous week's Esbjerg - Immingham trip was also the last record of that trip. With regular porpoise records now from the shore on the south bank of the Humber mouth, it would appear that there is a local population here. Two other Harbour porpoise and two Grey Seal were also seen during the afternoon, along with 55 Gannet, moving mainly in a northerly direction, 46 Guillemot, 11 Little Gull and, surprisingly, a Shag on the water well out to sea.

The following morning was excellent for a northeasterly duck migration, with 95 Red-breasted Merganser, 34 Goosander, 46 Pintail, 12 Wigeon and 36 Brent Geese being counted. An early light phase Arctic Skua moving north was also interesting.

Three individual Harbour Porpoise Little Gulland a Common Seal were recorded on the return trip. A flock of 124 Cormorant were assumed to be  birds flighting from the Dutch coast to feeding areas, whilst 23 Little Gull were also in this area. There was an easterly passage of 54 Black-headed Gull and a southeasterly passage of 90 Lesser Black-backed Gull, but the main feature of the day was a migration of terrestrial birds towards the Dutch coast, including 119 Starling, some resting on the ship, along with a Robin, Blackbird and Wood Pigeon. Lapwing also regularly flew past the ship with 72 being counted in small groups.

Our thanks to Captain Jameson and his crew and to DFDS for the continued support.


John Perry and Cliff Morrison, Research Surveyors for MARINElife