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Newhaven-Dieppe survey 14 May DFDS 'Seven Sisters'

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 9


Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 7

Gannet Morus bassanus 122

Guillemot Uria aalge 3

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 87

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1

Skua sp. 1

Gull sp. 82

Auk sp. 6

Weather: outward – clear, good visibility, wind NE; return – clear, good visibility, wind SW.

We arrived at Newhaven port ready for the survey with the weather looking good for a pleasant crossing. We boarded and were, in due course, warmly welcomed up on to the bridge to begin our survey.

Fulmar (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Gannet were the first sightings as we left Newhaven and a Fulmar early in the survey was great to see. The first Harbour Porpoise sighting of the day came quite early in the crossing with a single animal being seen quite close to the ship.

A large group of Gannet and gulls on the water around a fishing boat caught our attention a little later followed by a further Harbour Porpoise sighting with two briefly seen surfacing as they swam in front of the ship. More Gannet, gulls and auks kept us busy with data recording as we continued the crossing.

Harbour Porpoise (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

After a short coffee stop in the Dieppe sunshine, we boarded again and returned to the bridge ready to begin surveying as soon as we left port. The crossing brought more gulls and Gannet throughout the journey.

The continuing calm sea state meant that Harbour Porpoise were relatively easy to spot and our first sighting on the return journey was of two animals swimming slowly together close to the ship. A little later two sightings in quick succession gave us first the opportunity to watch an adult and juvenile swim together and then an adult and small calf surfacing. As the sun was beginning to set, this provided a lovely final mammal sighting of the trip.

Harbour Porpoise mother and calf (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

We continued to see more Gannet and a late sighting of a skua ended an excellent survey. Our thanks go to the friendly and professional staff and crew of the Seven Sisters who helped to make this a very enjoyable crossing.

Mandy Bright and Susan Walsh, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

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