MARINElife Survey Report: DFDS Finlandia Seaways Rosyth-Zeebrugge 17-19 November 2017

Vince Green and Peter Crossley surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: Wind W-NW force 4-5 but up to 8 or 9 at times. Fair but occasional rain northbound.

Summary of sightings:

Cetaceans:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Seabirds:
Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica 1
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 2
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 9
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 297
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Common Gull Larus canus 22
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 22
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 4
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 17
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 118
Razorbill Alca torda 1
Guillemot Uria aalge 303
Gull sp. 51
Tern sp. 1
Auk sp. 1

After a steady drive up from Leeds to Rosyth with Pete and a warm welcome from the port staff, we were able to board the Finlandia Seaways a couple of hours before she departed for Zeebrugge.

We had an early start up on the bridge after breakfast served, as always, by the lovely staff. We had a nice chat with the bridge officers, catching up with Captain Julius a little later, it is always good when you get to see some faces from previous trips.

Kittiwake Peter Howlett 31
Kittiwake (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

During the early part of the survey we shared coffee and chocolates while recording a few seabirds. We had a moment of excitement when we spotted a Harbour Porpoise off the starboard side of the vessel around 800 metres - sadly this was to be the only cetacean we saw in the entire survey.

We did, however, see many Kittiwakes, Gannets aplenty of various ages and Guillemots galore throughout both legs of the survey. With sunset now very early we got plenty of rest as we headed into port through the early hours.

On the journey back we had some slight rain and we didn't get so many sightings but did manage to come across a Great Skua and also add Red-throated and Black-throated Diver to the list for the survey.

Great Skua Peter Howlett 10
Great Skua (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Myself and Pete enjoyed the trip and notched up some interesting birds, despite the less than ideal weather conditions at times and again thank Captain Julius Nagaitis and all of the crew for their hospitality.