Sightings Archives: February 2015

MARINElife Survey Report: Immingham to Gothenburg DFDS 'Petunia Seaways' 17th -19th February 2015

Posted 06 March 2015

Cassie Bye and Hannah Finch-Saunders, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Outward: West 3-5 Return: South West 6-7

Summary of Species Recorded
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 115
Gannet Morus bassanus 18
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 10
Common Gull Larus canus 8
Little Gull  Hydrocoloeus minutus 1
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 4
Guillemot Uria aalge 19
Razorbill Alca torda 4
Puffin Fratercula arctica 7
Manx Shearwater  Puffinus puffinus 3
Unidentified Gull Sp. 185
Unidentified Auk Sp. 2
'Commic' Tern  Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 2

After arriving at Immingham docks we were efficiently booked in and immediately taken to board our vessel 'Petunia Seaways' for the trip. We were met by a member of crew who checked our documents and showed us to our comfortable cabin quarters. We settled into our cabins ready for the following day's survey. This was only the second survey on this survey route and Hannah's first survey with MARINElife.

We were on the bridge the following morning by 08:30 am about sun rise. As the ship departed around 2:30 am we were well on our way to Gothenburg as we commenced surveying. We were hopeful for cetacean sightings as the visibility was good and the sea was relatively calm.

Our first sighting was a bird, an unidentified gull species about 1km off the starboard side of the ship, around 20 minutes into surveying. This was shortly followed by a number of further sightings of unidentified gull species and Gannet.

Common Gull Adrian Shephard 01The most common birds recorded were Kittiwake and a number of gull species including Lesser Black-backed Gull and Common Gull. Other birds included Guillemot, Gannet, Little Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Razorbill and unidentified Tern species.

We were hopeful of seeing cetaceans as we approached the Dan gas fields as we knew White-beaked Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise had been recorded here in previous surveys. Unfortunately this was not the case, no cetacean species were recorded on the outward leg of the journey.

Common Gull (Adrian Shephard)

As we approached the mid afternoon around 15:00 the weather changed, the wind picked up and visibility decreased. Sightings were much fewer and further apart. Surveying was finished as the sun set approximately 17:30. We were made very welcome on the bridge by the Captain and all his crew, who were extremely interested in what we were doing.

We arrived in Gothenburg the following day around 08:00 in the morning. We decided to make the most of the time we had and arranged to visit Gothenburg whilst the ship was docked in the port. We were escorted off the ship and taken to the entrance of the port.  From here we made our way to the city on board a bus where we enjoyed the opportunity to explore the city and try the local food. We boarded the ship around 16:00 after an enjoyable but cold and wet day in Gothenburg.

LBB Gull Graham Ekins 01We were back on the bridge at 08:15 on our final day of surveying as we headed back towards Immingham. The visibility was poor due to a mist over the sea and the sea state made surveying conditions increasingly challenging. Sightings of birds were fewer and less frequent today, Kittiwake were again the most common species recorded. Persistent fog, strong winds and sea state 6-7 made viewing difficult but we did manage to record the odd seabird as the afternoon approached.

Bird species recorded included Kittiwake, Gannet, Guillemot, Lesser Black-backed Gull and to our delight Puffin were also seen rapidly flapping their short wings flying low over the surface of the sea. Surveying was finished at 16:20 due to decreasing visibility.

After our last meal on board the ship, we packed up our belongings and enjoyed our last few hours discussing what had been a very pleasurable survey and lovely visit to the centre of Gothenburg. We arrived in Immingham at 22:00, where we escorted off the ship and driven to the car park.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Graham Ekins)

We would like to thank the DFDS port staff, the Captain and all his crew for their help in making this a very delightful and useful survey.

Cassie Bye and Hannah Finch-Saunders, Research Surveyors for MARINElife