Rick Morris and Gareth Bradbury Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Southbound: SE-SW 1-3; Northbound: NE-SW 3-5
Cuvier's Beaked Whale Ziphius cavirostris 2
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 501
Striped Dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba 12
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 30
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 4
Large Rorqual sp. 2
Unidentified Blackfish sp. 1
Unidentified Dolphin Sp. 60
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 41
Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea 1
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 37
European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus 35
Gannet Morus bassanus 498
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 8
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 12
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 26
Parasitic (Arctic) Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 3
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 36
Common Gull Larus canus 4
Mediterranean Gull Larus malanocephalus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 323
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 22
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 31
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 7
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 1
Puffin Fratercula arctica 1
Guillemot Uria aalge 14
Unidentified Auk Species 6
Unidentified Gull Species 338
Unidentified Skua species 1
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs 1
Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba 7
Brent Goose Branta bernicla 15
Feral Pigeon Columba livia 1
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 6
Chiffchaf Phylloscopus collybita 1
Robin Turdus migratorius 1
Short Eared Owl Asio flammeus 1
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis 1
Unidentified Duck sp. 2
Unidentified Wagtail sp.1
Unidentified Eared Owl sp. 1
We boarded our research vessel the MV Cotentin just after 07:00,
on a bright and warm Saturday October morning. After being greeted
on board we put our kit in our cabins and went down to the
restaurant for a hearty breakfast before making our way up to the
bridge ready for departure at 08:00. It was good to see the regular
crew again; we exchanged greetings and began to set up on the
starboard side ready for departure.
Leaving Poole harbour we observed good numbers birds including a number of little Egrets on Brownsea Island. Heading out into open water we started recording various sea birds, then just after midday we had our first cetacean encounter, a group of ten Common Dolphins, their position given away by Gannets circling overhead. More Common Dolphins and a Harbour Porpoise were observed through the afternoon followed by a lively pod of Bottlenose Dolphin. We came down from the bridge at dusk and upon entering our cabins, looked out of the window to watch a group of Common Dolphins come in to bow ride, followed by another group just before dinner.
Day two gave us a beautiful sunrise and a sea state of one, our expectations were high! Our first cetaceans of the day came at 07:30 a group of eighteen adults and two juvenile Common Dolphins followed by fifty unidentified Dolphin sp. and an unidentified possible Rorqual Whale logging in the distance.
As the day progressed we encountered a pod of twelve Striped Dolphins, more Common Dolphins including a large pod of three hundred and fifty which were making light work of a bait ball, two Cuvier's beaked whales and an unidentified black fish!
A short eared owl performed a fly by just before arriving in a very warm and sunny Santander.
The return journey saw the weather deteriorate gradually making it more difficult to spot cetaceans although one Harbour porpoise was seen and a few Lions mane jellyfish.
We observed a Chinook helicopter practising retrieving a SBS
speedboat just off Old Harry Rocks, before making the turn into
port and recording a few more sea birds.
We thanked the crew and said farewell as we left the bridge to make ready for disembarkation.
Rick Morris and Gareth Bradbury, Research Surveyors for MARINElife