Sarah Neill and Stephen Dunstan, Research Surveyors
Conditions: Visibility remained good both Outward and Inward. Sea state varied between 2 and 4.
Cetaceans and mammals:
Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 2
Birds seen at sea:
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 13
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 27
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 4
Gannet Morus bassanus 85
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 42
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 3
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 900
Common Gull Larus canus 31
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 38
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 12
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 7
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 4
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 94
Guillemot Uria aalge 130
Razorbill Alca torda 63
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle 4
Auk sp 27
Gull sp 30
Brent Goose Branta bernicla 4
Teal Anas crecca 25
We arrived at the port in Liverpool in good time
and were swiftly led on board the Seatruck Progress by the
welcoming Seatruck staff. After being shown our cabins we
were then invited into the comfortable staff lounge to enjoy a full
breakfast before being escorted to the Bridge where we were
welcomed by the Captain.
As we headed out of the Mersey Estuary we started recording. Our first encounters were with gull species including Common Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Shortly after, we spotted groups of Cormorant resting on the numerous buoys. We also had a possible sighting of Harbour Porpoise, but the encounter was too fleeting to be certain.
Visibility remained good throughout the survey, allowing us to identify further bird species including Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake, Gannet, Fulmar and Common Scoter.
After a good night's rest in Dublin we boarded the Seatruck Power the following morning, again welcomed with a hearty breakfast. The return journey began in equally good conditions and we soon recognized a few bird species we did not see on the outward journey, including Shag, Brent Goose, Teal and Black Guillemot.
Shortly after this came the highlight of our trip, when we spotted a black shadow under the surface of the water at the bow of the ship which quickly gave a distinctive flash of the yellow colouring signifying Common Dolphin. In a flash it headed off and I followed it to the Port side of the boat, which allowed me to catch a glimpse of 2 animals rapidly heading off into the distance.
As the survey progressed we saw all the bird species we had seen in the outward journey and towards the end of the survey we added Little Gull and Manx Shearwater to the survey list.
This was my first survey for MARINElife and I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt very welcomed by my team leader and the Seatruck crew. The survey was a fantastic opportunity for me to learn so much more about bird identification and I am already looking forward to the next trip.
Sarah Neill and Stephen Dunstan, Research Surveyors for MARINElife