Sightings Archives: February 2013

MARINElife Survey Report: Rosyth-Zeebrugge "Finlandia Seaways" 7 - 10 February 2013

Posted 10 February 2013

Francesco Germi: Research Surveyors for MARINElife 
Southbound (8th Feb): Wind WSW, force 4, sea state 3, visibility moderate.
Northbound (9th Feb): Wind W, force 2-3, sea state 3, visibility moderate.

Marine Mammals
White-beaked Dolphin  Lagenorhynchus albirostris 1
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena  2
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus  1
Dolphin sp. 4 

Red-throated Diver  Gavia stellata 8
Great Northern Diver  Gavia immer 8
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 2
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis  57
Gannet Morus bassanus  111
Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 10
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 208
Common Gull Larus canus 224
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 52
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus  17
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 22
Guillemot Uria aalge 144
Razorbill Alca torda 9

Common GullI was welcomed aboard the 'Finlandia Seaways' (formerly Tor Finlandia) in the late evening by the friendly crew and retired to my cabin, looking forward to the first day of the survey.

The ship left Rosyth docks, as scheduled, at 04:00 in the morning. I woke early having had a good night's sleep and, after breakfast, took position on the starboard side of the bridge to start the survey. Seabirds were evident straightaway with a few Kittiwake, Guillemot and Fulmar cruising alongside the ship. The Farne Islands soon came into view and I had a Grey Seal lazily swimming on the surface, clearly coming from the roosts on the islands. Bird recording continued with a mix of Great Black-backed Gull, Gannet and Herring Gull. The southbound journey across the North Sea (with the east coast of England well in view) went smoothly and despite an overcast sky the sea conditions were calm. In the early afternoon, as we passed Flamborough Head to our right, the numbers of Gannet and Fulmar increased. The rest of the afternoon passed happily counting seabirds and, after an early dinner, I retired to my cabin for some reading.

Ferry WBDWe docked at Zeebrugge in Belgium at 04:00 in the morning and by 9:30 were underway again on the return leg. After breakfast I duly took up my position on the bridge, eager for some exciting sightings. After a few Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, a couple of Great Crested Grebe and hundreds of gulls of six different species (and many more plumages!), I had my first cetacean sighting of the day: a pod of four unidentified dolphins swimming off to the side of the ship. The morning passed recording Guillemot, Razorbill, Gannet and hundreds of gulls (Common, Herring, Great Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, Black-headed and Kittiwake). Then after lunch, my second cetacean sighting, a White-beaked Dolphin swimming in front of the bow, the white saddle clearly visible! The dolphin was closely followed by two Harbour Porpoise. This lucky day finished with a hearty dinner and a good night's sleep whilst the ship was heading north, back home.

On behalf of MARINElife, I would like to thank DFDS for their continued support with this survey.

Francesco Germi: Research Surveyors for MARINElife