MARINElife Survey Report: Immingham to Gothenburg DFDS 'Fionia Seaways' 26th-28th May 2015

Cassie Bye and Angela Needham, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena 3
Common Bottlenose Dolphin  Tursiops truncates 1
Grey Seal  Halichoerus grypos 1

Seabirds
Great Northern Diver  Gavia immer 1
Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 102
Gannet Morus bassanus 50
Eider  Somateria mollissima 4
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1
Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus 1
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 46
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus 52
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 82
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla 58
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 10
Guillemot  Uria aalge 63
Razorbill Alca torda 4
Gull Sp. 124

On 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. Before retiring for the night we made contact with the bridge who assured us we would be welcome on the Bridge at dawn the next morning.

Fulmar_Graham Ekins 03

Fulmar (Graham Ekins)

After a good night's sleep in our separate cabins, to which we had been happily upgraded, and a welcome cup of coffee we made our way onto the bridge at 4-30 in the morning. The light was good and the sea quite calm so we were soon seeing Gannet and Fulmar, passing by in single numbers.

What was to be our only dolphin appeared, passing off the port side at 6-50. It was a tantalisingly brief glimpse but was identified as probably a Bottlenose Dolphin. Shortly afterwards we saw our first Harbour Porpoise The only one to be seen on our voyage outbound, this time passing to starboard.

The small numbers of Guillemot mainly preferred to travel in threes. Kittiwake and a variety of other gulls also passed in small numbers. At 9-15 we had the pleasure of a single Sooty Shearwater, flying low and quickly with some beautiful gliding typical of this species.

Eider Female_Graham Ekins

Eider Duck (Graham Ekins)

The rest of the day was uneventful with further passage of the above-mentioned species and some quite long periods with empty sea and sky until mid-afternoon when a small flock of ten Sandwich Tern were observed feeding.

The rest of the day was uneventful, with occasional gulls, Fulmar and Gannet. We observed our last bird, a Kittiwake, just before 7pm so at 8-45 although the light was still quite good, we decided to end the watch and get an early night ready to start early in the morning.

We were able to observe for a couple of hours the next morning before the ship entered into the river at Gothenburg but saw little other than Great and Lesser Black-backed Gull and four lovely Eider Duck.

We spent a pleasant and relaxing day in Gothenburg taking in a walk in the botanical gardens alongside the canal, where we observed a number of Fieldfare. I have never before seen them on their breeding territory and so heard them singing. We also enjoyed a trip on the paddan boat along the canal and out into the harbour and some delightful food in the old town.

We were back on board in time for tea, and as soon as we were out of the river we were able to resume our position on the bridge until dusk. The last species to be observed that evening being two Manx Shearwater.

The next morning we had expected to be on the bridge at sunrise, but the weather had changed and we were sailing through a very heavy rain cloud with very poor visibility. We waited therefore until the sky's cleared a little. The morning saw regular single Fulmar passing until a fishing vessel appeared some distance away to port. This and a slightly later one to starboard gave us a feeding frenzy of mainly gulls. Because of the distance away we were unable to definitively identify many of them, nor see whether there were any other animals joining in.

The most exciting bird of the morning was a single Great Northern Diver. The rest of the day past uneventfully with intermittent movement of mainly Fulmar in the late afternoon and mainly Gannet in the evening including one chocolate coloured one year old.

We also observed two more Harbour Porpoise, and shortly before we entered the Humber we saw one Grey Seal. We watched the vessel docking from the drivers lounge window and were then efficiently escorted off the ship and very promptly driven to the car park via the gate house to make our way home.

We wish to thank the captain and all the staff for their helpfulness and friendliness throughout the journey and DFDS Seaways for their generous support and interest taken in this work.

Cassie Bye and Angela Needham, Research Surveyors for MARINElife