MARINElife Transect Survey: Brixham into Lyme Bay

Sightings Archive

Adrian Shephard, Maggie Gamble and Rachel Davies; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: W-SW 2-4

Marine Mammals
Common Dolphin  Delphinus delphis 11
Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena 9
Unidentified Dolphin Sp. 3

Seabirds
Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 80
Gannet  Morus bassanus 171
Guillemot  Uria aalge 38
Razorbill  Alca torda 7
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 152
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus 9
Mediterranean Gull  Larus melanocephalus 1
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 108
Sandwich Tern  Thalasseus sandvicensis 2
Commic Tern  Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 1
Gull Sp. Larus sp 199
14 Great Skua  Stercorarius skua 14
2 Arctic Skua  Stercorarius parasiticus 2
European Storm Petrel  Hydrobates pelagicus 51
Balearic Shearwater  Puffinus mauretanicus 3
Common Tern  Sterna Hirundo 1
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla 2
Red-throated Diver  Gavia stellate 1
Auk Sp. 2

Terrestrial Birds
Barn Swallow  Hirundo rustica 3

We departed Brixham at 9am in calm conditions ready for our transect survey. We were spotting seabirds immediately with a steady stream of Razorbill, juvenile gulls and Gannet. Our first cetaceans were a slow moving group of Harbour Porpoise which seemed completely unphased by the passage of the boat. We continued to watch and started to pick up small birds flitting erratically over the waters surface, with their prominent white rumps these Storm Petrels proved to be quite numerous during the survey.

Storm Petrel_Adrian Shephard

Storm Petrels (Adrian Shephard)

A brownish pair of birds effortlessly cruising over the waves were quickly identified as Balearic Shearwater, a species of particular interest for MARINElife and one which is globally threatened. Not long after, we encountered the first of two groups of Common Dolphin which came into bow ride the vessel briefly before heading off to feed.

As we continued east, the number of Fulmar and Great Black-backed Gull sightings increased and with a distant trawler drawing in Gannet as well, we briefly stopped for lunch and were soon joined by on-lookers of Fulmar and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Fulmar_Adrian Shephard 08

Fulmars (Adrian Shephard)

After lunch, we continued the transect, sighting another Harbour Porpoise and more Common Dolphin which this time spent some time with the vessel. We also saw a number of Great Skua and an acrobatic display from a pair of Arctic Skua plus a further Balearic S hearwater to add to our tally for the day.

Common Dolphin Adrian Shephard 16

Common Dolphin (Adrian Shephard)

All in all, a productive survey and a great way to spend a Wednesday.

Adrian Shephard, Maggie Gamble and Rachel Davies; Research Surveyors for MARINElife