Heysham-Warrenpoint 10-11 November
Summary of Sightings:
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 1
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 23
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 1
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 4
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 4
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 4
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 1
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 21
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 55
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 53
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 2
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 4
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 3
Black Guillemot Cepphus grille 4
Guillemot Uria aalge 262
Razorbill Alca torda 2
Diver sp. 1
Gull sp. 1
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 5
Rook Corvus frugilegus 1
Outward: overcast; wind SW force 9
Return: Brighter with glare at times; wind SW force 9
We met early morning at Seatruck’s office at Heysham Port and we were soon onboard the Precision and enjoying a cooked breakfast before going up onto the bridge to begin our survey. Our outbound route had been extended to avoid the worst of the forecast bad weather in the Irish Sea.
We saw a small flock of Common Scoter in Morecambe Bay and in the Lune Deep we observed a large flock of Little Gull, we enjoyed good views of these small, dainty gulls and were able to pick out their very dark grey underwings, a key identification feature for this species.
There was a steady trickle of Guillemot and Kittiwake whilst we were south off Anglesey and heading to the Irish coastline.
After a restful night’s sleep in our accommodation in Warrenpoint we walked the short distance to the port to begin our return crossing.
At the exit from Carlingford Lough we saw a good number of Grey Seal hauled out on one of the islands, and it was here too that we saw a Bottlenose Dolphin (possibly the resident ‘Finn’) which surfaced slowly on our starboard side. It is always exciting to see these charismatic animals so close to the ship.
An unidentified Diver and a Red-throated Diver were also seen in the vicinity.
Thanks to the Captain and crews of the Precision for their hospitality, and to Seatruck for the continued opportunity to carry out MARINElife wildlife surveys across the Irish Sea.
Robin Langdon and Nik Grounds, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)