Sightings Archives: February 2013

MARINElife Survey Report: Liverpool-Dublin 'MV Seatruck Power & Progress' 28 February - 1 March 2013

Posted 18 March 2013

Cheryl Leaning and Mathew Clough, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Conditions: Outward - Visibility foggy     Inward - Overcast


Cetaceans and Seals:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 6
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 9
Gannet Morus bassanus 6
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 128
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 5
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 34
Common Gull Larus canus 92
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 139
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 5
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 19
Unidentified gull sp. 45
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 25
Guillemot Uria aalge 139
Razorbill Alca torda 1
Unidentified auk sp. 10

Other waterbirds
(Eurasian) Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 7
Unidentified small wader sp 6

We were welcomed aboard by the friendly crew of the Seatruck Power on a calm afternoon in Liverpool.  After being shown our cabins we were then given a full English breakfast for our lunch, before being escorted to the bridge to meet the captain and the chief engineer.

Porps cropThe ship made its way out of the docks and into the Mersey then off towards the Irish Sea and Dublin.  The Mersey Estuary and Liverpool Bay were alive with common gull and herring gull and a large number of cormorant.   However with low visibility, sightings were not easy, although we did spot a grey seal early into our journey.  Although increasing fog steadily reduced visibility, we did see kittiwake and fulmar and a good number of guillemot as we travelled further out into the Irish Sea.  Due to our late departure the sunset and fog called an end to our watch before we got to Dublin.

After a nice evening in our Dublin hotel, we made our way back to the docks to meet the great crew of the Seatruck Progress, and we were given breakfast before making our way up to the bridge.   As we left Dublin we had some excellent views of gannet flying around the ship and of a razorbill flying right across the front of the bridge, closely followed by a sighting of five common scoter.

BH Gull winterAs the voyage continued we saw large numbers of guillemot and kittiwake through the overcast but much less misty skies over the Irish Sea.  About half way through our journey we saw our first cetacean, a harbour porpoise, followed not long after by a second.

However, after this the wind rose and the sea became choppier, making further sightings harder.  The wind calmed as we entered the final leg of our journey and we had another magnificent sighting of three harbour porpoise right in front of the ship, and these surfaced a number of times before we passed them.

As we approached Liverpool Common, black-headed gull and herring gull became more numerous as did cormorant.

As we approached the Mersey we recorded oystercatcher and other small wading birds as well as a last harbour porpoise.

Cheryl Leaning and Mathew Clough, Research Surveyors for MARINElife