Heysham-Dublin survey report 16 August Seatruck 'Pace'
Summary of sightings:
Unidentified Dolphin sp. 1
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 14
Gannet Morus bassanus 82
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 3
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 265
European Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 87
Razorbill Alca torda 22
Puffin Fratercula arctica 1
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 37
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 2
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 23
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 1
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis 10
Sunny with slight NW breeze; sea state 4
Arriving in Heysham after a leisurely journey up to Lancashire I met up with Chris Lumb at the Seatruck office. As usual the staff were ready for us and we were soon on our way to join Seatruck ‘MV Pace’, our ship for this survey. Once on board we met Captain Karm and were promptly allocated a cabin each by the very helpful galley staff. After a few hours of sleep, we met up at 05:30 with a view to start surveying but due to the cloud cover we did not have enough light until 06:00!
As the ship was underway, we made ourselves ready on the starboard wing with all the instruments ready for collecting data. Our route was to take us towards the Isle of Man and then on to Dublin.
Birds soon came into view with Gannet being so bright they were easily picked out. Along the way were the usual species seen while at sea, but the ones that stood out were the graceful Manx Shearwater making their way back towards the ocean off Patagonia where they spend the winter. Other notables were two Storm Petrel expertly picked out by Chris, and a great bird species to see at any time! Then a single Puffin frantically ran across the sea before it launched up and off away to the port side. Black Guillemot was also spotted on route.
As we arrived at Dublin, we concluded the first leg of our survey. After a few hours’ sleep, we were under-way again on the second leg heading back to Heysham, which kept us busy with lots of birds to record, and a dolphin species that was very distant.
We arrived back in port at 23:00 when we thanked the captain and his crew for letting us survey. It was a pleasure to survey with Chris and I am sure it will not be long before he is on another route surveying the wonderful wildlife of the Irish Sea.
Steve McAusland and Chris Lumb, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)