2019-04-15 - Ullapool-Stornoway
The team met in the ferry terminal at Ullapool and were soon on board MV Loch Seaforth. The OSM informed us that the captain and crew were happy for us to survey as soon as we left port, meaning we would get to survey through Loch Broom rather than having to wait until we were past the Summer Isles. This was fantastic news for us as the Loch can often be very productive for harbour porpoise.
It had been a very windy few days and even in the Loch the sea state reached 4 sometimes but we did pick up 2 harbour porpoise near the mouth of the Loch. We also had a fabulous sighting of 6 great skuas mobbing other gulls and scavenging for scraps around a small creel boat in the Loch. Plus a golden eagle was spotted over one of the inland peaks.
Out in the open sea and crossing the Minch the wind conditions rose and we didn't pick anything else up. There were also a number of naval vessels operating in the area in the aftermath of the NATO Joint Warrior war games. Despite the wind the visibility was clear and sunny and whilst the ship turned round in Stornoway it was warm enough to sit outside and have our lunch in the sunshine. Bith red throated and great nortehr divers were seen in the harbour.
The return journey was much of the same but with increasing wind conditions which reached sea state 7 as we approached the mainland coast and therfore we called it a day.
Marine Mammals -
Harbour porpoise 2
Bird List -
Kittiwake, great skua, black guillemot, guillemot, razorbill, great black-backed gull, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, golden eagle, gannet, puffin, manx shearwater, fulmar, shag, great northern diver, red throated diver, common gull and cormorant.
Survey team members
Andy Gilbert, Alistair MacGuggan, William Anderson