Sightings Archives: May 2013

MARINElife Survey Report: Liverpool-Dublin 'MV Seatruck Progress & Seatruck Power' 30 - 31 May 2013

Posted 05 June 2013

Stephen Dunstan and Jack Allum, Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Conditions:  Westbound: NW 2-4;   Eastbound: E 1-3


Cetaceans and mammals:
Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata    1
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 13
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 7

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 112
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 963
Storm Petrel    Hydrobates pelagicus 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 24
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 25
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 56
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 305
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 23
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 1
Large Gull sp. 47
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 242
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 6
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 71
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 65
Common or Arctic Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 38
Black Guillemot Cepphus grille 10
Puffin    Fratercula arctica 4
Guillemot Uria aalge 518
Razorbill Alca torda 120
Auk sp. 73

Terrestrial Birds during survey effort

Swift Apus apus    1
House Martin Hirundo urbica 22
Swallow Hirundo rustica    5

Grey sealWe arrived at the Seatruck Liverpool terminal with weather conditions looking promising for surveying.  We walked across to the Seatruck Progress and were escorted aboard.  Whilst we waited for the ferry to depart we watched a pair of Shelduck rather incongruously escorting their newly hatched ducklings across Gladstone Dock.  Common Tern from nearby colonies were conspicuous in the river mouth.  As we left the Mersey we started to see some of the expected seabirds including Kittiwake and Guillemot, and one or two Grey Seal.

After an hour or so the first Fulmar were gathered over something floating just under the surface.  When we got closer it appeared that this was a dead dolphin, and probably a Common Dolphin.
Manx Shearwater numbers increased as we headed west along the North Wales coast.

MinkeA couple of Puffin were added to the trip list but live cetaceans were proving rather tricky.  This was rather spectacularly ended by a Minke Whale that breached some way to the north of us as we approached Dublin Bay, unfortunately it didn't reappear.

On Friday morning we arrived at Seatruck Dublin and were transferred extremely efficiently by minibus onto the Seatruck Power.  Black Guillemot were evident on the water around us as we departed, as well as terns nesting on a pontoon.  At sea we saw several groups of House Martin and Swallow migrating north, though one of the latter migrated west for several hours with us.
We picked up a number of small groups or single porpoises in the very calm conditions, racking up a total of twelve to add to one from the westbound crossing.  The calm conditions also enabled us to see a tiny Storm Petrel pattering over the water off the North Wales coast.

Storm PetrelWe docked early evening in Liverpool after a successful trip, particularly what appears to be the first whale seen from any MARINElife survey from north west England.  Thanks to the crew of the Seatruck Power and Progress, and the shore staff at Liverpool and Dublin who were all very welcoming and helpful.

Stephen Dunstan and Jack Allum, Research Surveyor for MARINElife