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Heysham-Dublin survey 9 May

Summary of Species Recorded:

Marine Mammals

Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncates 1

Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2


Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 10

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 1

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 5

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 389

Gannet Morus bassanus 57

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 15

Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 5

Cormorant/shag sp. 2

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 141

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 27

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 3

Common Tern Sterna hirundo 3

‘Commic’ Tern Sterna Hirundo/paradisaea 124

Guillemot Uria aalge 666

Razorbill Alca torda 44

Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle 2

Puffin Fratercula arctica 1

Gull sp. 13

Auk sp. 196

Land Birds

Swallow Hirundo rustica 3

Birds recorded in Dublin Port

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 1

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 84

Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 4

Dunlin Calidris alpina 25

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 20

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 5

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 27

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 1

Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 1

‘Commic’ Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea 71

Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle 11

Feral Pigeon Columba livia 3

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix 2

Jackdaw Coloeus monedula 1


Outward: wind W 4-5, visibility good

Return: wind S-SE, visibility excellent

Our arrival at Heysham and boarding of the Seatruck Pennant for the crossing to Dublin was very smooth. We were shown to our cabins and guided and looked after well by the stewards and the crew who always had an eye on our welfare. After breakfast we were shown to the bridge by the steward and welcomed by the officer of the watch.

We started surveying at 06:30, in full daylight. We found ourselves quickly recording numbers of Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater, Guillemot, and Gannet, and more infrequently Razorbill and ‘Commic’ Tern. We also managed to record a migrating Swallow and a solitary Puffin on this leg of the journey.

Arctic Tern (Library photo: Rob Petley-Jones)

On the approach to Dublin, there was a very brief encounter with a Harbour Porpoise and a small flock of Common Scoter, and as we moved into the harbour past the sea wall lighthouses we were able to record several Black Guillemot together with a large number of mixed-age Herring Gull.

With the short turn-around at Dublin, we did not leave the ship but enjoyed good views of the River Liffey, the hustle and bustle of a capital city, the national stadium, and the bird life around the ship, as well as having a hearty lunch. Many gulls and terns enjoyed the ships’ tight turning manoeuvres in the river, churning up all sorts of snacks. One certain Arctic Tern and several certain Common Terns were confirmed among the many ‘Commic’ Terns

Departure from Dublin was prompt and we were once again welcomed to the bridge to undertake the survey for the return journey. Our return journey included the species of birds we had seen on the way out including another two migrating Swallow, Manx Shearwaters, Gannets, Guillemot, Kittiwake, Terns and Razorbills.

Bottlenose Dolphin (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

We were once again provided brief views of Harbour Porpoise and a very close encounter with a Bottlenose Dolphin. A spy hopping Grey Seal with a few attendant gulls and several of the very large Barrel Jellyfish were also seen.

A quiet voyage into Liverpool Bay was punctuated by flurries of Kittiwake and Guillemot, and we ended the survey at dusk just as the lighted-up Blackpool Tower came into view.

Once again, our thanks go to Captain Jaak Karm, and the staff and crew of the Pennant who made this a very enjoyable crossing.

Chris Hilder and Rob Petley-Jones, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

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