MARINElife Survey Report: Immingham to Gothenburg DFDS 'Fionia Seaways' 21st -24th April 2015

John Perry and Robin Langdon, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Summary of sightings:
Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena 2
Common Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncates 5
Dolphin sp 2

Seabirds
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellate 3
Diver sp 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 78
Gannet Morus bassanus 39
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3
Eider Somateria mollissima 10
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 4
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 3
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 5
Common Gull Larus canus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 8
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 45
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 136
Tern sp. 1
Guillemot Uria aalge 8

Land birds
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus 1
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 3
Greylag Goose Anser anser 2

Fionia SeawaysOn arrival at Immingham Dock we quickly had our passports checked and were driven by the helpful DFDS staff to the Fionia Seaways where we were shown to our cabins.

After a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, we were escorted to the bridge by 07:00 where we were made welcome by the ships officers. The conditions were good for observation with the sea fairly calm and the skies clear.

As we travelled east we encountered a number of Gannet, Fulmar, and Kittiwake. At 09:15 two dolphins briefly broke the water at just under a kilometre from the ship, but dived before full identification was possible.

Great Skua Adrian Shephard 04

With most seabirds at their breeding sites, numbers were relatively low but we did have a hitch-hiking female Reed Bunting keeping us company for some time on the Bridge deck before it left to continue its migration. After a pleasant evening meal we retired to our cabins and prepared for an early start the next morning. We gained access to the Bridge at 05:00 the next day and enjoyed looking at the unfolding archipelago leading into Gothenburg port.

We decided to spend the day on board and after a morning of data entry, spent a very pleasant and warm afternoon on the Bridge deck. Here we were able to practice our ID skills on the various races and ages of gulls, which were around the port as well as watching the land birds on the adjacent island. We also found the superb driving skills of the Port's drivers fascinating as they loaded trailer after trailer with impressive speed and accuracy. It was better than watching Top Gear!

The next morning started with thick fog and so we did not begin watching until it had cleared sufficiently, which meant we were not on the bridge until 06:50. As we travelled westwards the weather improved and most of the day was clear sky and calm seas. Just after midday we had good, if fleeting, views of two Harbour Porpoise, which we suspect had been sleeping on the sea before being wakened by the ship's approach.

BND Adrian Shephard 05A couple of hours later we had the best cetacean sighting of the trip when we watched 5 Bottlenose Dolphin feeding at about 200 metres from the ship. Luckily for us they were swimming in parallel to the ship's course and we were able to watch them and their accompanying seabirds for about 20 minutes.

We closed the survey at 19:45 when the light made it impossible to identify anything accurately. We thanked Captain Valter Fransson and his officers and left the Bridge to prepare for our arrival and disembarkation back at Immingham.

 

John Perry and Robin Langdon, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

 

Fionia Seaways Photo: Adrian Shephard
Great Skua Photo: Adrian Shephard
Bottlenose Dolphin Photo: Adrian Shephard