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Newhaven-Dieppe survey 13 May

Summary of sightings:

Marine mammals

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1


Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 20

Gannet Morus bassanus 65

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 16

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 12

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 1

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 3

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1

Gull sp. 1

Auk sp. 5

Terrestrial birds

Swallow Hirundo rustica 2


Outbound: wind NE 4-6, sea state 2-4, dry, moderate visibility with light mist and glare

Return: wind NE 7, easing 3 then inc. 6, sea state 5, dry with moderate to good visibility with glare

We arrived at Newhaven port on a bright day looking forward to the survey. The forecast was dry but we were expecting a little wind and hoped that wouldn’t impact our observations too much.

Harbour Porpoise (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

We were welcomed to the bridge by the Captain and crew who were very interested in the work we were completing. This led to conversations about the types of cetaceans we might observe and how the data was used afterwards. It was great to discuss the research we do before leaving port and starting the survey.

Only a few minutes into the survey, we saw a slow rolling fin in the water and were able to identify a single Harbour Porpoise. This was an early sighting but did prove to be the only cetacean we would see that day.

Bird observations kept us occupied with Gannet and Herring Gull sightings being added too with a single Swallow passing close to the ship. As we approached Dieppe, a Sandwich Tern added to the variety of birds recorded on the outward journey.

Sandwich Tern (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

As there was a very short turnaround in Dieppe the Captain invited us to use the crew mess and stay on board whilst awaiting departure for the return sailing. A relaxing hour was spent reading and resting our eyes from scanning the water so that we were ready for the return trip.

Gannet and a good number of Fulmar were seen as the ship headed back to Newhaven and another single Swallow made an appearance. We ended the survey as the light faded and thanked the captain and crew for their hospitality before leaving the bridge.

Mandy Bright and Carol Farmer-Wright, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

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