MARINElife Survey - Liverpool to Belfast - 23rd April 2016
Arriving in Birkenhead after an early start I met up with Jenny at the Stena Terminal. As usual the staff where ready for us and we were soon on our way to join the “Stena Lagan” our ship for this survey.
Once on board we were allocated a cabin each by Crystal in reception and then she took us to the bridge to meet Captain Tullio Scocchi. As the ship began to move towards the entrance of the river Mersey we could see many people enjoying Crosby Beach. The ship was soon heading out in to Liverpool Bay and then on towards the Irish Sea with its many offshore windmills and drilling platforms.
Our route was to take us towards the southern tip of the Isle of Man and then on to Belfast. Our first sighting of a Grey Seal which was bottling effortlessly in the water was as we passed Blackpool with its famous tower clearly seen in the distance. We soon had our second Seal which was also doing the same off the starboard side of the ship.
|A very distant Blackpool through a heat haze|
The trip gave us two pairs of Harbour Porpoise, the first were observed before we passed the “Chicken Rock Lighthouse” on the Isle of Man and we also saw another pair as we approached the port of Belfast. During the passage Jenny also caught sight of our only Common Dolphin which was great as this was only her second survey for MARINElife and a good sighting for the day.
Birds along the way were the usual species seen while at sea, however the ones that stood out were the graceful Manx Shearwaters back now from Patagonia to breed in the UK. Other notables were two Great Northern Divers.
|Great Northern Diver|
As the ship started its way in to Belfast Lough we concluded the survey and thanked the Captain and his crew for their continued support and splendid hospitality. I look forward to doing this route again in May.