Yesterday saw the finale to the winter phase of the Northeast Cetacean Project...and there couldn't have been a more appropriate way to do it. Our specially invited list of participants gathered at Royal Quays marina just before 9am ready to board the SarahJFK for a trip to the Farne Deeps. We'd invited all of the key organisations so there were representatives from Natural England, Marinelife, Northern Experience Wildlife Tours, Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Newcastle University and the Sea Fisheries Protection Office. Sadly, David Steel was stuck on the Farne Islands so couldn't join us, and the Chief Exec of the NWT had had a breakdown in his car (not him personally, his car had broken down).
As we set sail on a flat calm sea (so very, very different from any of the survey dates...) the draft report for the initial project was available for discussion, plans were formulated for the next stage of the project and we were able to enjoy some very relaxed birdwatching. Puffins were probably the most numerous bird seen during the day, Kittiwakes followed the boat for much of the trip, being their endearing selves, Gannets passed by, an occasional Fulmar glided along effortlessly and we managed to see two cetaceans; both were very brief - one Harbour Porpoise and one unidentified animal. As we returned to Royal Quays there was great deal to ponder; our report will draw some interesting conclusions, which will surely lead to more questions, more surveys, more seawatching, more pelagics.