Felixstowe-Vlaardingen survey report 2 August
Summary of Species Recorded
Harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena 4
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 112
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 8
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 113
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 23
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 13
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 42
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 114
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 68
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 1
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 1
We were welcomed on board the Ark Dania by the friendly crew on Monday evening, and shown to our cabin to get some rest before a busy day surveying the following day.
We headed up to the bridge to meet the crew and start our survey just before 07:00 the next morning, conditions were excellent for surveying, although visibility was a little hazy. Seabird sightings were regular throughout the morning, mainly an array of gulls, but we also recorded several Common Tern, Cormorant, Gannet, Common Scoter and Whimbrel.
Once we entered the river channel for our final leg into Vlaardingen we started to see numerous species of bird on the banks of the river – including a large number of Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot and Greylag Goose.
We arrived into Vlaardingen at just after 10:00 and stayed on the ship to get some rest and lunch. The ship prepared to leave and head back to Felixstowe at around 14:30 and we set off straight up to the bridge to start our survey.
Again the river corridor was very busy with birds and we spotted several Oystercatcher on the banks, and a variety of gulls on the water and a Great Crested Grebe. Once out to sea bird sightings were similar to our outward journey. However, we also were delighted to record four brief sightings of Harbour Porpoise. The first sighting was a group of two and were exhibiting fast swimming behaviour.
Survey conditions were again very good, however, sunshine caused some glare on the starboard side which made it tricky to view our full survey area. Visibility began to drop at around 19:00 and light conditions became too poor at around 20:00 so we finished the survey, thanked the bridge crew for their hospitality and returned below deck.
We arrived back in Felixstowe at around 22:00 and were guided off the ship by the helpful DFDS crew. Once again our thanks go to Captain Torben and very helpful and friendly staff and crew of the Ark Dania who made this a very enjoyable crossing.
Alan Sumnall and Nicola Simpson Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)