Sightings Archives: August 2016

MARINElife Survey Report: Immingham to Brevik August 2016

Posted 26 August 2016

Survey cancelled due to operational reasons.

MARINElife Survey Report: Immingham to Gothenburg DFDS ‘Freesia Seaways’ 4th - 6th August 2016

Posted 12 August 2016

Janet Shepherd and Carol Farmer-Wright, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Eastbound: 4th August. SW 5 increasing W 6. Sea state 4-6. Good visibility, dry with variable cloud cover. Eastbound: 5th August. SSW 7 decreasing 5. Sea State 3-2. Good visibility with increasing cloud cover Westbound: 6th August. WNW 7-8 decreasing S3 increasing 5. Good visibility with decreasing cloud cover.

Summary of Species Recorded

Marine Mammals
Unidentified Seal sp. 7

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 328
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 25
Gannet Morus bassanus 230
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 4
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 2
Common Gull Larus canus 16
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 12
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 38
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 13
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 8
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 536
Little Tern Sterna albifrons 12
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 11
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 42
Puffin Fratercula arctica 9
Guillemot Uria aalge 996
Razorbill Alca torda 22
Sabine's Gull Xema sabini 1
Gull sp. 10 Tern sp. 18
Auk sp. 5 Larus sp. 7

Terrestrial birds
Passerine sp. 1
Swift Apus apus 5
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus 1
Eider Somateria mollissima 241

Guillemot Adrian Shephard 01We arrived at the Mayflower Car Park and were greeted by helpful staff who ensured we were fairly swiftly through customs and ticket checks and then driven to our vessel, the Freesia Seaways. Once aboard we were given keys to our cabins and took advantage of getting some sleep before an early start next morning. Daylight hours meant we would be in for a long day. Thank you to Captain Hall for allowing us on board so early.

The survey started at 5.40am and we soon had sightings of Kittiwake, Fulmar, Gannet and Little Gull, joined, after an hour, by small groups of Guillemot, Puffin and a large flock of Manx Shearwater. The variety of species continued during the morning with sightings of terns, Common Gull, Sabine's Gull, Razorbill and Lesser Black-backed Gull. We also had two Swift appearing flying around the ship on several occasions.

After an excellent lunch, sightings continued including one of a Wood Pigeon and large rafts of Guillemot appearing with this year's young offspring. Passing through the Gas Fields we heard, over the radio, notification of a vessel ahead that was undertaking a seismic survey and our ship altered course to give it the wide berth it requested. The sunshine played its part in giving us a glorious summer's day although there was some glare to contend with, especially on the Starboard side. With a lovely sunset we continued the survey until 20.33 after which two weary surveyors finally made it to their beds.

Eider Adrian Shephard 02Up bright and early next morning for a 04.50 start, we had a couple of hours surveying into Gothenburg Docks. We had sightings of several gull species, Cormorant and large numbers of female Eider Duck and their offspring around the many islands on the way in. Also hauled out on one of these small islands were 7 seals but a bit too distant to make a clear identification.

In port for 18 hours we decided to go into Gothenburg via bus and tram and spent a few interesting hours walking around the city. We found an excellent restaurant with a typically Swedish buffet lunch, then walked around the Tradgardsforeningen and, finally, back to the ship to start writing up and inputting the data collected so far. Departure next morning was at 02.00 so after another good night's sleep we started surveying at 5.03am.

Stronger winds were experienced than either the surveyors or the ship's crew had expected and cetacean sightings were going to be difficult in the choppy seas. However bird sightings continued although with a far less variety of species. Most sightings were of Fulmar, Gannet and Guillemot. At 01:45 next morning an alarm call by the crew awoke us from our slumbers and we had a snack before we disembarked at 3.30 am.

Gannet Carol Farmer-Wright 10
Thanks to the Captain and crew for their support, helpfulness and friendship (my special thanks to the Chef - the meals were excellent especially Saturday evening's dinner- which just happened to be my birthday - the ice cream cake was delicious!).

Thanks too to the other passengers, including the canoeists and musicians for their interest and good company. And finally a big thank you DFDS and their port staff for their help in making this a very rewarding survey.

Janet Shepherd and Carol Farmer-Wright, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Guillemots Photo: Adrian Shephard
Eider and Chick Photo: Adrian Shephard
Gannets Photo: Carol Farmer-Wright