Survey Reports

2019-07-30 - Aberdeen–Lerwick

Survey details

Survey route: Aberdeen–Lerwick

Company: NorthLink

Sea region: North Sea

Survey start date: 2019-07-30

Number of nights: 2

^ Sumburgh puffins

The ever-accommodating crew of the Northlink ferries welcomed us onboard the bridge of the MV Hjaltland before we set sail from Aberdeen towards Shetland. As we exited the harbour mouth, we were seen off by one of the locals, a bottlenose dolphin. The weather was promising but as we headed north, the famous Har (fog) started creeping in which was set to stay with us for much of our survey. However, with the fog, generally comes a decent sea state, so we managed to hold out to record harbour porpoise, Minke whale, grey seals and white-beaked dolphins. We only managed to do three of the four watches, as the final morning was thick fog.

This route allows you several hours to play with on Shetland, which is always a treat. We had hoped to see the orcas but were not lucky this time. We enjoyed a drive around the mainland, a headland walk and of course, a visit to Sumburgh Head to drop by the puffins.

The crew on this route are always friendly and accommodating and are becoming very accustomed to our presence which makes this a lovely route to do. We recorded a total of 30 animals which was very impressive given the visibility! A very enjoyable survey.  

Marine mammals:

Bottlenose dolphin x1

Harbour porpoise x21 

Minke whale x1 (plus one incidental) 

Grey seal x4

White-beaked dolphin x 2 


Guillemot, Arctic tern, common tern, gannet, great skua, cormorant, puffin, razorbill, oystercatcher, kittiwake, greater black-backed gull, herring gull, fulmar, lesser black-backed gull. 

Survey team members

Nikki Taylor; Kelly Macleod; Alice Doyle; Eunice Pinn