Jun11

Feeding frenzies

Categories // North Sea Wildlife Officer

Feeding frenzies

A super Saturday on board the DFDS KING Seaways

Oh my word what an amazing day we had on board the DFDS KING Seaways on the North Sea along the English coast on Saturday. It started with an early bird passenger spotting several harbour porpoises and during the morning watch we spotted 3 white beaked dolphins passing by.

Having had sightings of dolphins in the morning it made passengers during the evening journey even more eager to join us on deck. Having just stepped onto the observation deck the shout of “dolphin” was heard. There were quite a few keen eyed birders on board travelling back from a trip to the Farne Islands with Delta Safari. Thankfully the weather conditions were amazing; not a white cap in sight, barely any swell and visibility all the way to the horizon. I had not seen such brilliant conditions in this area before. With the help of the good spotting abilities of these birders aided by the optimum spotting conditions, we saw another 7 sightings of harbour porpoises and dolphins during the watch. Even after the watch, the passengers and I kept an eye on the water whilst in the lounge and we saw an additional 5 white beaked dolphins, 3 of which exhibiting feeding behaviour. I even saw a grey seal swimming past. I closed up due to other activities, knowing we had a very successful evening. During Sunday morning’s deck watch the Delta Safari guides told me, that during the activities the night before they were kindly allowed to stay up on the observation deck past the general 10pm closing time, as they were very interested in the several groups of feeding birds. First they saw several harbour porpoises in amongst the birds and then the lunge feeding minke whales! Within half an hour they recorded 15 feeding minke whales! Just before the light faded too much they spotted a group of 10 white beaked dolphins socialising. What an amazing evening it turned out to be!

This morning I was excited to see the English coast beyond the fairly calm seas, but by the time I stepped onto the Observation Deck the mist had come right in and we were barely able to see any wildlife. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the mist has lifted and that we will have calm seas for this evening’s crossing. Check in again in a week to see if the North Sea has been kind and we were at the right place at the right time to see the wildlife feed on her bounty.

Ingrid

ORCA Wildlife Officer, North Sea

Photo credit: Daniel Beuker