Dover–Calais

2020-03-07 - Dover–Calais

Survey details

Survey route: Dover–Calais

Company: DFDS

Sea region: English Channel

Survey start date: 2020-03-07

Number of nights: Day sailing

Survey conditions

Highest Sea State: 5-Moderate waves

Lowest Sea State: 2-Small Wavelets

Best Weather Conditions: 1-No precipitation

Best Weather Conditions: 4-Fog/Mist

Best Sea Swell State: 2-Light (<0-1m)

Worst Sea Swell State: 2-Light (<0-1m)

Glare present during the survey?: 1-None

Survey sightings

Cetacean sightings:
3 Harbour Porpoise
2 Common Dolphin

Bird sightings: Guillemot
Gannet
Kittiwake
Fulmar
Peregrine Falcon
Cormorant
Lesser Black Backed Gull

Other animals: 1 Common Seal

DOVER TO CALAIS 07/03/20 WITH A BISCAY MOMENT!


We enjoyed watching the fulmar along with the gulls flying around the Dover Cliffs. On the way to the terminal a peregrine falcon flew past.


We were welcomed on the Bridge by Captain Gilbo. Chief Officer Giles Dieu is a very familiar and accommodating member of the Bridge Crew too, its always a pleasure to meet up with him.


We were swiftly on effort, the winds were light, the clouds overcast with a sea state 3 of a milky jade green, which provided good contrast for observing, so overall super conditions for the first survey of the season.


The bird activity was pretty quiet but we encountered kittiwake, gannet and a few guillemot, cormorant and lesser black backed gulls. Very close to Dover we saw at a distance a pair of ducks one with a black head and the other a white chest, so unable to identify them.


Shortly after the first changeover the recorder on her first ever survey experienced a Biscay moment!  Firstly came a probable common seal 70 or so meters crossing the bow. 2 minutes after that a possible harbour porpoise. 5 minutes after this 2 common dolphins. 4 minutes after that another harbour porpoise and then a further 10 minutes on another harbour porpoise. This was a great experience for recording the data on the paper sheets, with the highest number of sightings I have experienced on this route. There was also another sighting that Giles Deiu got onto that we missed. So who says it’s a quiet route!


The weather on the return leg had changed, with much stronger winds blowing south westerly upping the sea state to 5, causing striations across the waves and with precipitation of fog/mist impeding visibility which presented a more challenging possibility for sightings.


However, we had a great survey with a really good team.


Thank you to Captains Gilbo and Larrieu as well as the Bridge Crew of The Cotes Des Flandres for the privilege of allowing ORCA to survey from their magnificent Bridge.  Thank you also to the Volunteer Marine Mammal Surveyors.

Sightings Map

Survey team members

Team Leader: Cait Cochrane

Surveyors: Stuart Barnes- Emily Roebuck

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2019-10-05 - Dover–Calais

Survey details

Survey route: Dover–Calais

Company: DFDS

Sea region: English Channel

Survey start date: 2019-10-05

Number of nights: Day sailing

Survey sightings

Cetacean sightings: N/A

Bird sightings: N/A

Other animals: N/A

The survey team arrived at the Port of Dover with plenty of time to spare, allowing ample time to go over the use of the electronic recording system ‘Logger’ for survey members who were new to this recording method.


OUTBOUND:


After driving onto the DFDS ferry ‘MS Côte des Flandres’, the team were warmly greeted by reception and immediately invited up to the Bridge to await departure. We were greeted by the Captain and his Bridge crew and soon departed the harbour walls ready to survey. The English Channel presented a calm sea state 3, with few white caps visible, and the swell varying between slight and moderate around the 1-metre mark, increasing more as we ventured out into the middle of Europe’s busiest shipping lane.


Within 5 minutes of surveying on effort, the rapid roll of a harbour porpoise was sighted on the starboard side, less then 50 metres from the ship, giving a clear view of the lone animal. It was then briefly spotted surfacing again as it passed the ship. Among the birds seen on the outbound journey were gannets, greater black backed gulls and kittiwakes.


After a 30-minute observer rotation, over half-way through the Channel, the sea state calmed to a 2 on the Beaufort scale. With Calais now in a sight ahead, a fleeting glimpse of an unidentified seal was recorded on the port side before it swiftly dove below the surface. Approaching Calais, a quick harbour porpoise was seen on the port side, around 100 metres from the vessel.


After steering to port to follow the sandy Calais coastline another seal was spotted, this time it was a grey seal which was nose up, bottling towards the shore. Masses of small blue-coloured barrel jellyfish swarmed both sides of the vesel, quickly disappearing under the bow. Herring gulls, cormorants and a lone female mallard duck were present on the arrival into Calais harbour, ending watch 1 for the team to have a quick lunch on the Bridge before getting ready for watch 2.


RETURN:


On the return leg, the sea state had improved further and the swell had lowered to very slight. Whilst more bird species including an Arctic tern, a line of unidentified geese and a Manx shearwater were seen, no more marine mammals were sighted, despite the team’s eagerness and improved conditions.


We would like to express our thanks to the Captain and crew of the ‘MS Côte des Flandres’ for inviting us on board to collect this all-important monitoring data. We all appreciate the Bridge crew for asking us about what data we collect and what is done with it as we hope to survey again with you again soon.


Sightings:


Harbour Porpoise x 2


Unidentified Seal x 1


Grey Seal x 1


Bird List: 


Gannet, greater black backed gull, kittiwake, cormorant, herring gull, mallard duck, common guillemot, black headed gull, Arctic tern, line of unidentified geese species and manx shearwater


Misc: 
Barrel jellyfish (dozens of blue immature ones)

Survey team members

Ruth Coxon, Andrew Boulton, Grace Johnson

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2019-09-07 - Dover–Calais

Survey details

Survey route: Dover–Calais

Company: DFDS

Sea region: English Channel

Survey start date: 2019-09-07

Number of nights: Day sailing

Survey sightings

Cetacean sightings: N/A

Bird sightings: N/A

Other animals: N/A


 DOVER TO CALAIS 07.09.2019


 I was curious to see a fulmar again this time bothering the Jackdaws and crows on the Dover cliffs. Interestingly, having recently spent a week on North Ronaldsay, Orkney, experiencing close encounters with nesting fulmar, this one had much darker plumage on its wings more like a northerly blue morph. I wonder if it is the same one that I saw last time, which was also dark winged.


The team were eager and keen to practice their fairly recently acquired survey skills. We were welcomed onto the Bridge by Captain Roge.


Conditions were reasonable with a bit of cloud cover but some glare to Starboard on the outbound route. Although we did not spot any marine mammals we saw a few gannets, a black backed gull juvenile and up to 50 Arctic skuas including much lighter coloured young migrating South Westerly which were magnificent.


On the return leg we had a sighting of a harbour porpoise and closer to Dover Port a rather dark feathered fulmar.


 I would like to extend our thanks to the Bridge Crew of the Cotes Des Flandres for allowing ORCA the privilege of surveying on this ferry 


Survey team members

Cait Cochrane, Taras Bains, Laura Hutt

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