Sightings Archives: May 2016

MARINElife Survey Report: Immingham to Brevik May 2016

Posted 22 May 2016

Survey cancelled due to operational reasons.

MARINElife Survey Report: Immingham to Gothenburg DFDS ‘Super-Fast Baleares’ 10th - 12th May 2016

Posted 14 May 2016

Philip Dutt, Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Weather: Eastbound: E - NE 5-6; Westbound: E-NE 4-5

Summary of Species Recorded

Marine Mammals
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncates 3
Harbour Seal Halichoerus grypos 3

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 159
Gannet Morus bassanus 34
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 32
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 6
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 76
Guillemot Uria aalge 47
Razorbill Alca torda 5
Gull Sp. 95

I arrived at the Immingham DFDS office at about 11 p.m. and after being driven on board the Superfast Balearus. I settled down in my cabin hopeful of getting some sleep before the engines started up early in the morning.

Although the weather was gloriously sunny for most of the trip the winds were fairly strong and there were whitecaps for much of the time.  There was no access to the bridge for the first part of the outward leg so I surveyed from the starboard side of the accommodation deck using my own GPS.

Fulmar Adrian Shephard 06There were a few Guillemot visible on the surface but the total number was much lower than it would have been from the bridge as many of them would have dived before they came into view.  The main seabird species were Kittiwake, Gannet and Fulmar.

On arrival at Gothenburg there were Hooded Crow, Oystercatcher, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Goosander, Eider, Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull on the small island opposite the mooring.

It was a glorious day so I headed north-west for the nearest beach.  There is a dedicated bird protection area managed by the port authority between part of the Volvo site and an oil terminal along Hjärtholmsvägen.  Lagoons edged with extensive reedbeds backing onto woodland looked quite promising and there were plenty of birds singing, including Blackcap, Willow and Cetti's Warbler. Passing a small farm at Bulyckegård holding out against urban sprawl I made for the other side of Torslanda and the small islands. The dedicated cyclepaths were well signposted and Swedish drivers are very bike-friendly.

Common Seal Adrian Shephard 03I looked for any name with a 'vik' in it in the hope of lunch by the shore.  In a small woodland reserve at Hästevik maintained by the Hjuvik Wildlife Association I had the spot of the day which was a Lesser Grey Shrike perched amongst an explosion of blackthorn blossom.  A Sparrowhawk flew low along the woodland ride which was still lined with Wood Anemone. I spent a pleasant afternoon by the shore watching Common Tern, Eider, Oystercatcher, Common Gull and the small car ferries plying between the small islands.

We left just before 8 p.m. and as we swung round the Nya Älvsborgs Fästning Island three Common Seal played just off the port beam.  The following morning I had hoped to see some Harbour Porpoise in the calmer waters off Denmark but as It was quite choppy so I was not optimistic.  Bird-wise it was fairly quiet apart from some birds drawn toward fishing vessels.  A Dunlin which may have been on board overnight, flew down from above the bridge and headed west.

BND Adrian Shephard 07After we passed the northernmost shallow water 'fingers' of the 'Dogger Tail End'  (due east of Alnmouth)  a splash on the starboard side revealed a Bottlenose Dolphin speeding away from the hull.  A few minutes later there were two more bow-riding.  They never fully emerged, their dorsal fins just scoring the water.

As we approached the wind farm off Spurn Head the bridge crew were making ready to take on the pilot so I stopped surveying.

My thanks go to ship's master Ramon Alvarez Izquierdo and the crew for all their help and the stewards for their hospitality throughout the voyage.

Philip Dutt, Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Fulmar Photo: Adrian Shephard
Common Seal Photo: Adrian Shephard
Bottlenose Dolphin Photo: Adrian Shephard