Sightings Archives: April 2014

MARINElife Survey Report: Liverpool-Dublin 'MV Seatruck Progress & Seatruck Power' 10th - 11th April 2014

Posted 16 April 2014

Stephen Dunstan and Melissa Goulton - Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Conditions westbound:     Wind W force 1-4
Conditions eastbound:     Wind W force 1-4


Cetaceans and Seals:
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 3
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 7
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 5
Harbour Seal Phoca vitulina 1
Dolphon sp. 3

Great Northern Diver Gavia immer 1
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 10
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 141
Gannet Morus bassanus 69
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 118
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 9
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 9
Black-headed Gull Croicephalus ridibundus 1
Common Gull Larus canus 62
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 192
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 7
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 11
Little Gull Larus minutus 4
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 264
Large gull sp. 337
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis 15
Guillemot Uria aalge 427
Razorbill Alca torda 47
Puffin Fratercula arctica 6
Black Guillemot Cepphus grille 6
Auk sp. 131

Terrestrial Birds:
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 2
Presumed Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 4

We were smoothly transferred onto the Seatruck Progress and made welcome by the crew.  Conditions suggested the survey might be fairly productive, and leaving the Mersey some initial excitement was provided by a Grey Seal and four diminutive Little Gull.  A small group of Common Scoter headed across the front of the boat off the Sefton Coast.

Little Gull Peter Howlett 09The expected seabirds were seen as we headed along the North Wales coast, though Harbour Porpoise were conspicuous by their absence.  Eventually a cetacean was seen, a Common Dolphin with so brief a view that Melissa didn't see it.  As we came close to the Irish coast a couple of Puffin were a very welcome addition to the survey list.  Brent Geese were seen entering Dublin harbour.

We docked early evening and had a pleasant evening in Dublin, including excellent hospitality in the room kindly provided by Jury's Inn at their Parnell Street hotel.  

The conditions for the return sailing on the Seatruck Power were calmer than some weather forecasts had suggested and we had renewed optimism for the crossing.

Leaving Dublin a rather distant Great Northern Diver was nevertheless a very welcome addition to the survey list.  The lack of cetaceans was becoming something of a concern, eventually though Melissa picked up a couple of splashes ahead of the boat.  These proved to be a couple of Common Dolphin that eventually lingered close to the boat offering decent views.

Red throated diver by MBWe saw several feeding seabird groups.  Each time we looked hard for cetaceans, and were eventually rewarded with several porpoise sightings.  The bird list was further augmented as we neared Liverpool when a single Red-throated Diver lifted off the sea in front of the boat.

All in all it was a successful survey, particularly given a relative lack of seabirds in the Irish Sea during and following the winter storms.  We are very grateful to Seatruck and Jury's Inns for their ongoing assistance on this route.

Stephen Dunstan and Melissa Goulton - Research Surveyors for MARINElife