Sightings Archives: April 2013

MARINElife Survey Report: Liverpool-Dublin 'MV Seatruck Progress & Seatruck Power' 25 - 26 April 2013

Posted 06 May 2013

Stephanie Czudaj, Research Surveyor for MARINElife


Cetaceans and mammals:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1
Dolphin sp. 3+
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1    

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 18
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 34
Shearwater sp. 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 32
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 23
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus 2
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 3
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 121
Unidentified mixed Gull spp. 21
Tern sp. 21
Guillemot Uria aalge 29
Black Guillemot  Cepphus grylle 12
Razorbill Alca torda 29
Unidentified Auk sp. 201
unidentified species 347

Terrestrial Birds:
Brent Goose Branta bernicla 3

Thursday 25th April: Liverpool to Dublin
Manx Shearwater 099 Tim BalmerHigh tide was very late that Thursday so it was a casual morning start transforming into slight panic when I realised that my navigation system wasn't as smart as I thought it'd be.  The only surveyor onboard this time, I did not want to miss the boat in any way!  But I managed in time and had a warm welcome on the Power from the crew and the steward, who served a good English breakfast.

The weather forecast looked promising so we had good faith that the rain which was falling as we left would soon cease, which it did after an hour.  Over the afternoon the sky cleared and the sea became increasingly calm as we approached Ireland, and viewing conditions steadily improved.  There were a good number of speedy fluttering Guillemot and Razorbill, with Kittiwake and other gull species and some cruising of Manx Shearwater around.  Occasional Gannet and Shag would pass by.  
I caught a glimpse of a Harbour Porpoise and as we approached the Irish coast I noticed the slow movements of at least three larger dolphins in the distance, possibly Bottlenose Dolphin.  When we entered Dublin Harbour three Brent Geese flew up in the evening light, a nice finish of the survey of that day.

Friday, 26th April: Dublin to Liverpool
Lucky as I had been the night before with catching a ride with a friendly truck driver into Dublin, the next morning it was either walk to the ferry or take a cab.  The sun was shining, the ferry was leaving late in the morning, so there was nothing against a nice walk in the morning - nothing but a large backpack filled with liquid Irish souvenirs for my family and my target ferry terminal being the furthest one!  Builds character!

Liverpool sunsetSunny as it was, the wind had increased and sea conditions were rougher than on the previous day. Visibility remained very good and there were many birds to record, with good numbers of Kittiwake, Black Guillemot, Guillemot, Razorbill and possibly some Little Auk.  There was also a group of 'Commic' Tern and quite a few Manx Shearwater around.  A Great Skua passed by, many Gannet flew around, with the occasional Shag, and Fulmar became quite frequent in the afternoon.

The head of a probable Grey Seal popped up and the Captain told me that due to the state of the tide a sandbank should be exposed as we approached Liverpool, and there would be a good chance of seeing seals resting there.  Though this was unfortunately not the case on this day, the sandbank was covered with hundreds of Cormorant and looked magnificent in the last rays of sunlight as we reached Liverpool.

I would like to thank the Captain and crew onboard the bridge who were extremely friendly and helpful, as well as all other staff onboard of the Power and Progress for a comfortable trip and their support.

Stephanie Czudaj, Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)