2019-07-20 - Newcastle-Amsterdam
The team met at a surprising quite terminal and quickly got on board the DFDS Princess Seaway. Unfortunately, we were a team member down but we took time to familiarise the new surveyors with the ORCA survey protocol and recall all the information they had remembered from the training.
As soon as we could we arrived at the bridge to start our survey. We were greeted by a fantastic sea state and our first three sightings happened between 18.45 and 19.25. First 3 harbour porpoise and then a magnificent Minke which appeared at the bow of the boat giving everyone on the bridge the most fantastic view but sadly only showing the once. Not long after this the sea state picked up and sightings dropped off.
However, at about 21.10, we were nearing Bempton Cliffs and Flamborough Head when we saw a massive feeding frenzy with diving gannets plummeting into the water at incredible speeds. Not surprisingly, this was quickly followed by another Minke sighting and 3 more harbour porpoise.
The morning survey into the Dutch port was relatively quiet with just 1 harbour porpoise. However, we were treated to a great skua mobbing a herring gull until it dropped its breakfast.
After wandering around Amsterdam for a few hours, admiring the beautiful buildings and exploring the flower market we returned to the boat.
The evening survey saw a sea state 3, no sightings and very little bird activity. However, the next morning, we started our final effort hopeful of glimpsing some more wildlife. The sea state varied between a 4 and 5 and there was a mist hanging over the coastline. Despite this, we did manage to see another harbour porpoise and finally 3 White-beaked dolphins made a brief appearance close to the bow.
All in all a successful survey with a great team.
Thanks to DFDS for allowing us to conduct these important North Sea Surveys
Harbour porpoise x7
Minke whale x2
White-beaked dolphins x3
Heron, gannet, cormorant, shag, fulmar, manx shearwater, greater black-backed gull, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, black-headed gull, kittiwake, common tern, sandwich tern, guillemot, razorbill, great skua and swift.
Survey team members
Tracy Guild, Daisy Hunt, Hazel Masson