29th - 30th of June 2015 MARINElife Survey, Felixstowe to Vlaardingen, Holland.

 I arrived at Felixstowe dock 2, on Monday night to meet up with fellow surveyor Fraser at 10:30pm. Checking in at the DFDS offices, we were quickly issued ship passes for the "Anglian Seaways" Ro-Ro Ferry and then escorted through passport control and driven directly to the ship, which was being loaded with trucks and containers. It always amazes me just how busy and noisy docks are even at almost midnight!

Upon boarding the ship we were shown to our cabins and after agreeing to meet up at 05:15am we got some sleep.
At 05:30am we started our survey high up on the starboard side of the bridge. The sun was up over the horizon and we very quickly started to record a great many Gannet, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Great Black Backed Gull and Fulmar. During the crossing my first Common Scoter of the year flew past.
A total of eight Harbour Porpoise were recorded along with five Grey Seal making the early start more than worth while.
DFDS always look after us and this trip was no different with drinks and meals provided for the duration of the survey.
As the ship got within ten miles of the mainland we were joined by sixty two other ships all looking as if they too were heading for the same port! A truly amazing sight and one that had the captain and his crew on full alert watching and communicating with other shipping and Dutch coastguard.

Entering the "river" (the Nieuwe Waterweg) the captain slowly steered the ship towards the docking pier. The river gave us a great many birds, all are listed below.

Arriving in Rotterdam it was time for a power nap before lunch followed by further surveying until 21:00pm. Upon leaving the river we had a oil tanker ship the "Bowfin" on our starboard side at a distance of about a quarter of a mile away. As I looked at her I could see that smoke was coming from her port side, then flames could be seen, thinking the worst, we were delighted to see that the crew had got the flames under control and the ship started to come to a halt.

 Arriving back at Felixstowe at 23:00pm, we thanked the captain and his crew for supporting the MARINElife survey and we made our separate ways home. I'm looking forward to my next survey in July from Newhaven to Dieppe.
Birds seen at sea on this survey were, Gannet, Fulmar, Great Skua, Lesser Black-backed Gull,  Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Cormorant, Common Scoter, Starling, Swallow and Woodpigeon.

Birds seen on the Nieuwe Waterweg:

Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Greylag Goose, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Carrion Crow, Feral pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Mallard and Meadow Pipit.


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