MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Seaways Finlandia Seaways Rosyth-Zeebrugge 14-16 November 2014.

Janet Shepherd and Alice Murphy, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather
Outward: Overcast, wind SE 5, intermittent light rain, becoming heavy and persistent in the afternoon.
Return: Overcast, wind SW-NW 1-3, intermittent light rain, visibility good to poor with fog banks in the distance.

Summary of species recorded

Marine Mammals

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 5
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 7
White-beaked Dolphin Lagenorhynchus albirostris 3
Unidentified Dolphin 3

Seabirds

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 12
Gannet Morus bassanus 162
Common Gull Larus canus 15
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 10
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 16
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 3
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 42
Guillemot Uria aalge 79
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 5
Diver Sp. 2
Gull Sp. 11

Terrestrial Birds

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos 1
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 5
Passerine Sp. 21
Wader Sp. 23

On arrival at Rosyth docks we boarded the Finlandia Seaways and settled into our cabin. As bad weather was forecast for Scotland the ship departed early and we woke to fairly unsettled seas. In spite of the wind easing as we headed south, heavy rain in the afternoon meant the survey was finished early. Nevertheless a good variety of seabirds were recorded, species included Gannet, Fulmar, Great Skua and a large number of Guillemot.

WB Dolphin James Phillips 01a

White-beaked Doplin (Archive Photo by James Phillips)

The following day brought calmer seas with many Gannet fishing, at one time in association with dolphin feeding. Harbour Porpoise, Common and White-beaked Dolphin were sighted in the calmer seas. We were intrigued by a small group of birds, just off the Norfolk coast they were too young to fly and we decided by their appearance and behaviour - trying to get out of the way of the ship by semi-diving and trying to run across the water - they were, in fact, immature Great Crested Grebe. A very late brood. Other birds included many Gannet, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Great Skua and Common Gull.

Once again our thanks go to DFDS, Captain Kucinskas and the crew of the Finlandia Seaways who made us very welcome.

 

Janet Shepherd and Alice Murphy, Research Surveyors for MARINElife