This week started off with flat calm seas and ended with gale force winds. On the 20th May I was lucky enough to watch nine harbour porpoises after we left Amsterdam. They came in small pods of two to three individuals, over a 40 minute period. The sea was so flat that we could see them from quite a long way from the ship.
On the 22nd May I was lucky enough to take this photograph of a common guillemot just before it dived to escape the approaching ship. Since then, the winds have become progressively strong. Yesterday morning, Manx shearwaters were skimming the waves as we approached Newcastle, getting ready for the high winds that were forecast for later in the day. And high winds they were! At 8pm, as we followed the UK coastline south, the sea had turned into a white foaming fury! Great for watching the sea birds as they battled with the winds and waves. Atlantic puffins, razorbills, fulmars, kittiwakes and Northern gannets were all part of the parade, but it was the flocks of common guillemots that stole the show – bombing by like bird shaped bullets with the wind.
Richard Bull – Wildlife Officer