After a rather quiet time last week things have warmed up quite considerably in the North Sea with increases in sightings and the temperatures. This week all of the whale and dolphin sightings have taken place near the north-eastern coast of England. They include a minke whale and harbour porpoises as well as a range of seabirds.
As the hot weather has steadily arrived the seas have become much calmer with only the odd wave visible this morning. This has helped to increase the sighting of marine life at the surface. On Sunday morning a lone minke whale was sighted about 20km east of Sunderland. This majestic animal ignored the ferry as it travelled southwards along the English coast. The creature had moved on by the time we headed out in the evening but the presence of large groups of gulls and diving gannets suggested the there was plenty of fish to be found below the surface.
These sizeable schools of fish were still around on Sunday evening when a large variety of birdlife could be seen including Manx shearwaters, fulmars, eider ducks, kittiwakes, sandwich terns, comorants, gannets, razorbills, puffins and guillemots. In the middle of a large flock of gulls two harbour porpoise could be spied helping themselves to the plentiful bounty of fish. Several of these large flocks were seen and many could have contained porpoises and dolphins but the density of birds made spotting difficult. At one point a flock of birds was so dense it shielded a fishing trawler from view. Not far from the sea-side town of Whitby a few more porpoise were seen crossing the bow of the ship in pursuit of more food later in the evening.
With these conditions due to remain for a few more days hopefully more whales, dolphins and porpoises will appear at sea and close to land as well. I’m going to stop writing now as the black keys on my laptop have absorbed the suns heat and as burning my fingers.
Good luck wildlife watching!
ORCA Wildlife Officer
DFDS Seaways King Seaways
25th June 2012