Succesvolle monitoringstocht met 66 bruinvissen!!

Een blik vanaf de brug op de kalme Nieuwe Waterweg. (E. Schrijver)

Afgelopen weekend, 23 – 24 februari is wederom een team van twee observers voor de maandelijkse tocht van Hoek van Holland naar Harwich en weer terug met de Stena Line meegevaren. En het resultaat mocht er zijn; in totaal werden er 66 bruinvissen waargenomen.

Van deze 66 bruinvissen kunnen we er maar 64 mee in de boeken nemen, omdat twee dieren in de Nieuwe Waterweg, dus niet op het officiële traject, werden waargenomen. Onder de bruinvissen bevonden zich drie jonge dieren. En er werden een groep van 4 en een groep van 6 dieren waargenomen. In totaal zijn er nu in 2019, 76 bruinvissen waargenomen.

Bruinvis in Noordzee vanaf de brug Stena Line

De omstandigheden op zee vanaf de brug waren goed. “Sea state 1-3”. Naast de vele bruinvissen werden er ook nog veel zeehonden waargenomen, 17 stuks.

En een van deze zeehonden was met iets bijzonders bezig.

Lees hieronder de blog van deze trip:


23 – 24 februari 2019

Beautiful sightings in lovely weather (Foto: E. Schrijver)

So before actually going on this survey expedition I had little (actually none) experience in surveying marine mammals for monitoring data collection. So, I expected it to a good learning experience. After three weeks of cancelled weekend trips we finally had good weather prediction for the last weekend of February.

We entered the Stena Line airport-like shipping building in Hoek van Holland and as we were part of the Rugvin foundation and there for work, not vacation, we were part of the crew. So I was able to see what a crew on a ship experienced, the mess hall being the most important place (where they serve the food). The best part of the boat was the bridge, and luckily enough this was where we spent most of our time on the boat, collecting data.

Some porpoises near a wind farm (Foto: E. Schrijver)

Being on the bridge, you are in the very front and highest part of the boat, with the best view (in my opinion). We started the survey at around 2pm in the afternoon, and right off the bat I saw a porpoise directly in front of us, and then we saw it swimming right next to the bow. It was beautiful and also so much smaller than I expected. And with that we started the day.

During the survey the seastate was a calm 1 to 2, so it was a little difficult to find any porpoises. From then on, we saw some groups of porpoises with some groups of 4 and 6. About 2 hours before sunset the conditions were not very good, with almost no way of detecting any porpoises. We ended the day with tired eyes at the Fryatt Hotel.

What is this seal eating? Could it be a porpoise? (Foto: E. Schrijver)

The next morning, with better-predicted weather conditions, we left the port on the Stena Hollandica. The normal schedule of the ferries has been reversed until at least Christmas of this year. At 11am we left Harwich International with a little bit of fog which soon enough cleared up. Soon after coming out of port, we saw no less than 16 seals!

With the great conditions of the water and weather and nearly no glare we expected to make a high number of sightings, but unfortunately we didn’t see many porpoises for the first 2 hours. But then suddenly, in the third hour, there were so many! And after a while we reached the off-shore windmill farm where there were a couple or porpoises swimming around.

A couple of porpoises in the Nieuwe Waterweg on arrival. (Foto: E. Schrijver)

At some point we both saw a group of birds (I don’t remember the species) just floating on the water at about 300m away. We looked closer and we saw a seal in the middle of the birds. But not just a seal, but a seal that was feeding on something, something quite large, like a porpoise!

By the end, we entered Hoek van Holland with tidal changes and a high number of porpoises sighted, the ending of a good survey.



Maguiña Ramilo Henry

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