MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways ‘Clipper Point’ Immingham-Cuxhaven 8-10 May 2015

Maggie Gamble and Carolina Doran; Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Day 1: Thick fog at times, sea state 3
Day 2: moderate visibility with some rain, sea state 4
Day 3: Good visibility, passing showers, sea state 7 with a 2 meter swell, moderating later

Summary of sightings (counts will be added shortly)

Marine Mammals
None sighted

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 47
Gannet Morus bassanus 38
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Common Gull Larus canus 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 27
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 4
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 2
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 8
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 49
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 14
Guillemot Uria aalge 4
Gull sp.  8

Terrestrial Birds
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1
Swallow Hirundo rustica 4
House Martin Delichon urbicum 2
Small passerine sp.  2

We had the usual efficient boarding arranged by DFDS onto the Clipper Point where we were welcomed by the steward and shown to our cabins. A very welcome and tasty lunch soon followed after which we were allowed onto the bridge in time to watch the manoeuvring of a large modern ship through a lock built on a smaller scale!

Great Skua Rick Morris 01
Great Skua (Archive photo: Rick Morris)

This turned out to be a very quiet survey which possibly had something to do with the storm which had passed through a few days previously. However, there is always something to see (usually the ubiquitous Fulmar and Gannet) if the conditions allow it. Unfortunately it turned very foggy later on in the day and halted the survey until it cleared. We had a good sighting of a single Great Skua and several Kittiwake, many still in juvenile plumage.

Day two of the survey was again quiet but as well as the usual seabirds there were some migrants still to be seen. A single Kestrel and a few Swallows, House Martins and small brown passerines, the last battling along just above the sea surface.

Med Gull Adrian Shephard 01a
Mediterranean Gull (Archive photo: Adrian Shephard)

The return from Cuxhaven started with a "bit of wind" as predicted by the Captain so the final day of the survey started with a fair swell. During the day we saw a steady if sporadic progression of Fulmar, Gannets and various gulls.

We arrived back in Immingham berth prompt at four am and were quickly off the ship and back in the car for the drive home. Our thanks once again to DFDS Seaways and the Captain and crew of the Clipper Point for allowing us to continue this survey and all their assistance and hospitality.