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Newhaven-Dieppe survey 16 April

An early start saw me witnessing a glorious sunrise over the South Downs as I made my way to Newhaven for an 05:30 rendezvous with my co-surveyor Stephen. We were made welcome on our arrival on the ship and taken up to the bridge where we met Captain Bidet Matthias. We departed Newhaven at 06:56 and started the survey once we had cleared the harbour at 07:04.

On our outward journey we observed a large number of Gannets, with good numbers of Guillemots, Fulmars, Kittiwakes and Great Black-backed Gulls and one sighting of a pair of Razorbills. We had our attention drawn to an unidentified dolphin sp. by the crew and we saw two Harbour Porpoise ourselves. Migrating songbirds were in evidence with a group of five Meadow Pipits and a lone Swallow seen.

Seven Sisters alongside in Dieppe (Chris Hilder)

Dieppe was sunny and packed with day trippers. It was my first visit, and I particularly enjoyed the visit to the Chapelle Notre-Dame de Bonsecoure standing on the cliff above the harbour and dedicated to sailors with touching memorials to many who have lost their lives at sea. We managed to undertake more birdwatching before embarking for the return trip including Common Gull, Kestrel, a magnificent Linnet, and more Meadow Pipits.

As we embarked for the crossing back to Newhaven, we watched fishing boats returning to harbour with their catches and eight to ten jet skis which whooshed past the harbour entrance at a great rate and with some noise.

Arctic Skua (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Our return journey to Newhaven set off promptly and we were able to start our survey as soon as we had left harbour. Again, we observed a large number of Gannets, with Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and an Arctic Skua appearing as we neared the English Coast. We managed to see seven more Harbour Porpoise, five Common Dolphin and a Grey Seal.

Our thanks go to Captain Bidet Matthias and crew of the Seven Sisters who made this a very enjoyable crossing.

Chris Hilder and Steve Boswell, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)


Outward: overcast, good visibility with glare at times, wind NW force 1, increasing to 3

Return: overcast, good visibility, wind W-SW force 3, increasing to 5-6

Summary of sightings

Marine Mammals

Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 5

Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 7

Unidentified dolphin sp. 1


Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 1

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 5

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 6

Gannet Morus bassanus 158

Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 17

Guillemot Uria aalge 14

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 16

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 6

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 3

Razorbill Alca torda 2

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 4

Diver sp. 1

Auk sp. 4

Terrestrial Birds

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 5

Swallow Hirundo rustica 1

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