MARINElife Survey Report: Immingham to Brevik DFDS ‘Freesia Seaways’ 18th-21st October 2015

Vincent Green and Carol Farmer-Wright; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Eastbound: Cloudy with occasional rain. Wind speed NE 4-6. Westbound: Visibility cloudy in morning improving as day went on Wind speed SW7 occasionally 8 dropping to WSW5.

Summary of Sightings:

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Seabirds
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 89
Gannet Morus bassanus 448
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 4
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 9
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 983
Guillemot Uria aalge 344
Razorbill Alca torda 15
Auk sp. 20
Skua sp. 1
Larus sp. 13

Terrestrial birds
Robin Erithacus rubecula 1
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus 3

Harbour Porpoise Adrian Shephard 05I arrived at Immingham in plenty of time to have dinner in the Ulceby truck stop, where I watched a bit of World Cup rugby to pass an hour or so while waiting for the Freesia Seaways to return from Scandinavia. On arrival at the dock I was very kindly escorted to the DFDS office, to check in and get prepared for departure on the Freesia Seaways. I met with my colleague Carol, and we both went on board, were greeted by the staff, and shown to our cabins. We both had some light refreshments, and enjoyed conversations about MARINElife and got an early night as we had an early morning start.

At 0630 am the next morning, we met in the canteen, had a lovely breakfast, and headed up to the bridge not long after and set up for the day of surveying. On the first leg of the survey we managed to see over 900 birds and late in the day recorded a lovely sighting of a Harbour Porpoise leisurely swimming by on the starboard side of the ship. With some brilliant sightings of Guillemot, Gannet, Fulmar and many of Kittiwake and also various gulls, we also witnessed a Robin that had tried to cross the North Sea, unfortunately, unsuccessful, as it didn't survive the journey. Our Captain, Jan Adriansonn offered us drinks and even told us of some past sightings.

Kestrel Adrian Shephard 01The Second Officer, Emma was also really hospitable, and she managed to even spot a Short-eared Owl for us. Roughly half way across the North Sea, the darkness set in and we packed up for the night, had some really nice dinner and relaxed for the evening.

We arrived in Norway before sunrise and later Carol showed me the sights of the lovely Norwegian town of Brevik, and we had the most amazing pizza in the port town, which was a quaint, quiet, beautiful place to visit.

The staff at the port in Brevik were really good, even making us a lovely cup of coffee, as we had a short wait to be allowed back onto the ship.

The second day of the journey was pleasant as we had some time off and relaxed on board the ship in Gothenburg. In the afternoon we had a wander outside on the deck and viewed lots of Hooded Crow and Mute Swan, and various ducks and a Kestrel also appeared. In the evening we settled in early for the night as the next morning was an early start.

After breakfast we went up to the bridge around 0730 in the return leg of the journey and were greeted by Captain Lars Gade Olesen.

Fulmar Adrian Shephard 04On the journey back to Immingham we were pleased to spot over 500 Kittiwake, just after seeing lots of Gannet that were diving into the sea, which was an amazing site. Fulmar, Great Black-back Gull, Guillemot and the odd Razorbill were also recorded.

We arrived back in Immingham around 10 pm having had a brilliant journey viewing lots of birds and a Harbour Porpoise, having been fed really well and looked after by all the staff on board and in the ports, we enjoyed our stay in cabins on an amazing ship with really lovely people.

Our thanks go to DFDS Seaways for enabling us to survey the Norwegian and Swedish waters and the Captains, Officers and crew of the Freesia Seaways for making this a rewarding and delightful experience.

 

 

Vincent Green and Carol Farmer-Wright; Research Surveyors for MARINElife

 

Photo Credits:
Harbour Porpoise: Adrian Shephard
Kestrel: Adrian Shephard
Fulmar: Adrian Shephard