MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS ‘Clementine’ Immingham-Cuxhaven 15th - 18th November 2013

Elaine Cursons and Jenny Boatwright, research surveyors for MARINElife

Weather: Outbound: Wind, Southerly 3-5, good visibility. Sea state 2-3
Return: Wind, Easterly 3-5 Good visibility. Sea state 1-3

Summary of sightings:

Eider Somateria mollissima 4
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 201+
Gannet Morus bassanus 12
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 3
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 32
Common Gull Larus canus 7
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 63
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 45
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 31
Guillemot Uria aalge 5
Small Gull Sp. 17
Large Gull Sp. 12
Gull Sp. 13
Diver Sp. 2
Auk Sp. 2

Terrestrial birds:
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos 1
Starling Sturnus vulgaris 1
Passerine Sp. 1
Wader Sp. 1200+

Friday 15th November 2013

We were welcomed aboard by the first officer, but a delayed departure and overcast weather meant it was dark when we left Immingham port, so after our evening meal we retired early for a good night's sleep.

Common Scoter Rick Morris 01We were welcomed onto the bridge at first light the next morning, and recorded mainly gull species and kittiwake as they flew past in small numbers. Mid-morning we were surprised to find that a small Tortoiseshell butterfly was on board, as it came to settle on the front of the bridge in the sunshine. Sightings continued throughout the morning at a steady rate, mainly of individual birds.  Approaching Cuxhaven a few Eider flew past and there was a raft of c200 common scoter. A flock of Black-headed Gull were observed fishing in the swell from the ship as we entered the port.

Common Scoter (Photo: Rick Morris)

Sunday 17th November 2013

We were on the Shag 2bridge again at first light on Sunday and again recorded birds in small numbers, but at regular intervals.
Although these again were mainly gull species, there were more Gannet and Shag. Just after 9am a young starling landed on a window sill at the rear of the bridge and rested for 10 minutes before running up and down the sill seemingly looking for a way onto or through the bridge. It eventually flew to another part of the ship but we continued to see it flying around at intervals until the early afternoon. At lunch time a Song Thrush also landed on the ship in front of the bridge and rested there for about 1 hour, although it then flew around the ship, it also stayed 'on board' for several hours. Sightings throughout the afternoon were of mainly gull species and overall were of similar numbers to the previous day, but without Black-headed gull. In the mid-afternoon 3 Shag flew close to the ship heading north. Later in the afternoon, the cloud cover increased and by 4pm, the light was fading fast.
                                                                                                                       Shag (Photo: Michael Bamford)

We would like to thank captain Belousov and all the crew for their hospitality throughout the entire trip.

Elaine Cursons and Jenny Boatwright, research
surveyors for MARINElife