Sightings Archives: June 2011

MARINElife Survey Report: Rosyth-Zeebrugge "Tor Finlandia" 12 - 14 June 2011

Posted 06 August 2011

Karen Dick, Janet Shepherd, Marinelife Research Surveyors
Weather: Southbound E 3-4. Northbound S-SW 0-3. Good visibility.

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 3
Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 8
White-Beaked Dolphin Lagenorhynchus albirostris 12
Unidentified Dolphin Species 7

Grey Seal
Halichoerus grypus 9
Harbour/Common Seal Phoca vitulina 17

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 109
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 18
Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 4823
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 19
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 32
Arctic "Parasitic" Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 2
Common Gull Larus canus 18
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 242
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 111
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 15
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 483
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 100
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 136
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 19
Puffin Fratercula arctica 846
Guillemot Uria aalge 1075
Razorbill Alca torda 219
Eider Duck Somateria mollissima 2
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 2
Gadwall Anas strepera 1
Unidentified Auk Species 2

Carrion Crow Corvus corone 3
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 2
Swift Apus apus 1
Racing Pigeon 5


Outward (Southbound)

Leaving Rosyth with north easterly winds and a force 4 sea state, the ships course kept as within sight of land. We settled into the survey with expectations for lots of seabirds during the busy breeding season and were not disappointed with Bass Rock, the Farne Islands and the areas further south living up to expectations with many Gannets, Auks and Gulls. It was exciting to see the numerous Gannets carrying nesting materials and the Auks with beaks full of sandeels. We also played host to a group of racing pigeons which rode a good proportion of the way south.

It was midday before we encountered our first mammal, a Common Seal which was lying on a buoy, shortly followed by a Grey Seal. By mid-afternoon, we had the first cetacean sighting of the trip, Common Dolphins slowly approaching the vessel and a further sighting of the same species occurred late evening.

Return (Northbound)

The winds slackened as the trip progressed with almost mirror calm conditions by the time we reached the Farne Islands. We morning started with an early distant dolphin sighting which went unidentified before a close view of a Harbour Porpoise. As the day progressed, we encountered more cetaceans with the highlight being bow-riding White-Beaked Dolphin which stayed there for around 3 minutes. We also encountered numerous Common Seals and at lunch time a mother and juvenile Harbour Porpoise. Again, good numbers of seabird sightings especially Gannets, Guillemots and Kittiwakes. 

In total we counted 8275 birds, of which the most unusual was a Gadwall out at sea and 24 sea mammal sightings totalling 56 animals.

Karen Dick and Janet Shepherd, Research Surveyors for MARINElife