MARINElife Survey Liverpool (Birkenhead) to Belfast 30th September 2017.

Arriving at the Stena Line terminal as team leader for this survey, I met up with a fellow MARINElife surveyor Peter and we were soon boarding the Stena Mersey Ferry for our crossing to Belfast.
Stena Mersey taken from Stena Lagon on a previous survey passing the Scottish coast
Once onboard we were met by the Captain who said he would send a crew member to collect us once all the manoeuvres were complete as the ship left its berth and headed out of the Mersey estuary towards the bay of Liverpool.
We set up to do our survey on the starboard wing of the bridge, which gave us a fabulous view. Our route would take us west towards the Isle of Man, passing its southern point and then on to Northern Ireland and to the port of Belfast.
The first Porpoise was spotted not long out from the estuary and we had two more off Chicken Rock the by Isle of Man.
Sadly, this survey did not produce any unusual birds like Skuas and uncommon Shearwaters. The total list of notable bird species recorded included Gannet, Manx shearwater, Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Kittiwake, Fulmar, and Sandwich tern. We did experience a period of recording no birds for almost half an hour, this we found to be very unusual?
As the ship passed the western side of the Isle of Man we saw the four lighthouses that are lined up behind each other. (4 Candles as I now call them) With an hour from the port of Belfast the weather changed to almost flat sea and we had the one and only Black Guillemot of the day!

As the ship was getting nearer to the port of Belfast, we concluded the survey and thanked the Captain and crew for supporting MARINElife and for their hospitality. Another survey completed on this route for me and I look forward to many more.

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