Well, a Happy New Year everyone! This is the first survey of 2024 and hopefully this will be a good year.
As far as cetaceans go this was not an auspicious start, and none were spotted, either on the way out or back. There was only one mammal spotted on the survey, a lone Grey Seal as we were coming up the river from Warrenpoint. Unusually, there were none around the Haulbowline Lighthouse at the entrance to Carlingford Lough where you would normally expect to see them.
There were about 150 Cormorant round the lighthouse, making this the most numerous bird seen. Other species that were numerous were Kittiwake, Herring Gull, and Common Scoter. Apart from the numerous Kittiwake sightings at sea, most sightings of these species were in single flocks, with 30 Herring Gull together at one point, accounting for 3/5th of the number seen, and 35 of the Common Scoter in a single flock as we headed to the wind farm after we left Heysham.
As I mentioned in December’s blog our normal hotel the Lough and Quay has closed, so this time I was trying out a new hotel the Whistledown, which was very nice! They were even kind enough to give me a room with a sea view, but unfortunately, I arrived in the dark and it was still dark when I left to head to the port the following morning! Ah well, it is the thought that counts.
I would like to thank the captains and the crews of both the Seatruck Point and Performance for looking after me so well, being the only passenger on both sailings.
So, what did we learn on this trip?
• If you want to be noticed flock together
• Sea view rooms are best served in the light
Robin Langdon, Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)
Outbound: Overcast, sea state 4-5, wind W force 4-5
Return: Overcast, sea state 4-6, wind NW force 5-6
Summary of Sightings
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra 41
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 160
Gannet Morus bassanus 2
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 25
Guillemot Uria aalge 37
Razorbill Alca torda 13
Auk sp. 26
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 121
Common Gull Larus canus 6
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 5
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 51
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 2