John Little and Mike Mackay; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Summary of Sightings:
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 12
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 3
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 4
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 17
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 11
Guillemot Uria aalge 3
Razorbill Alca torda 4
Common Gull Larus canus 1
Unidentified Auk sp. 3
We left Immingham Docks at 0600 on a flooding tide prior to dawn. Conditions were overcast and misty which kept visibility to no more than 4-6 km. We were set up and ready to observe at first light as we entered open water.
Out of the morning gloom we were soon encountering a couple of the few seabirds seen including Lesser and Greater Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Gannet and the occasional species of Auk as well as a curious Fulmar. This constituted the species we were to see during the day. A combination of low cloud and light rain kept observation conditions to moderate at best.
However, as light fell we retired to the confines of the ship anticipating that the morning would find us in the Skagerrak, ultimately close inshore, surrounded by land and in a relatively confined waterway. All increasing our chances of seeing marine mammals and birds in abundance.
A reluctant dawn eventually broke over the Skagerrak and our approach to Brevik. This saw us complete a happy couple of hours sighting birds as we headed up the Fjord. Primarily Herring and Black-backed Gull with Guillemot heading our way for a festive squawk.
As dawn broke we were just approaching the open North Sea and were ready for a full day of survey effort. Throughout the day we faced challenging conditions with mist in the morning and rough seas in the afternoon.
However, we were able to get our eye in on the birds seen on the way out with the addition of Razorbill to the species list. Also, we were able to spread the MARINElife word to fellow passengers who had joined us in Brevik. The sight of two guys in the bracingly cold Nordic wind, staggering about the upper deck and discussing the intricacies between a Fulmar and a Kittiwake, was too much for them not to come and join us.
A huge thank you to the Captain, Crew and Shore Staff of the DFDS Charter, MV Antares for their unfaltering support and hospitality throughout.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. John Little and Mike Mackay; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Kittiwake: John Little
Razorbill: John Little
Guilimots: John Little
Survey cancelled due to operational reasons