Newhaven-Dieppe survey 26 February DFDS Seven Sisters
Summary of sightings:
Harbour Porpoise Phoceana phoceana 1
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 5
Common Gull Larus canus 7
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 85
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 5
Gannet Morus bassanus 440
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 5
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 5
Guillemot Uria aalge 106
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 137
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 47
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 13
Razorbill Alca torda 6
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 5
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 1
Diver sp. 3
Grebe sp. 1
Auk sp. 159
We arrived in Newhaven in good time to board the 10am crossing to Dieppe. This was our first survey since Covid struck in March 2020 and very welcome return to marine wildlife recording for MARINElife. After checking in at the refurbished ferry terminal we were soon on board and receiving our cabin key from reception.
With Covid restrictions still in place we had to survey from the open deck, so we made our way to deck 8 and began surveying in brisk south easterly soon after leaving the harbour. Almost immediately we sighted a single Harbour Porpoise and a few minutes later a Grey Seal which was surrounded by feeding gulls. No further cetacean sightings were made but constant bird encounters especially towards the French coast kept us busy.
Gannet weren’t seen until half an hour into the survey but were constant after that, all adult birds. A group of twelve Lesser Black-backed Gull in a tight group was a lovely sight. Great Skua and Red-throated Diver were other highlights. A less welcome sighting was a large mass of fishing net floating on the surface, an entanglement danger for our marine wildlife.
After arriving in a sunny Dieppe on time we made our way into town for a coffee, sat outside by the quay before making our way back for check in with our Covid passes and Passenger Locator forms at the ready. Birds seen en route from town included four Stonechat, Great Crested Grebe, Meadow Pipit, Robin, Great Tit, and a Rabbit!
Leaving on time we managed to survey for an hour before sunset and watched 73 Cormorants flying in formation along the French coast. As the light faded, we headed inside for fish and chips!
Steve Boswell Team Leader and Margaret Boswell Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)