Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Santander Ferry 15th & 16th March

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the Santander Ferry, both in terms of the weather (the sea could be very rough at this time of year) or the wildlife (this isn't the peak time for sea mammals or bird migration.
However, the trip was a great success and full marks to Brittany Ferries, the level of service was fantastic and both Pam and I really enjoyed the journey. The weather was very kind with sunshine on the first day with cloud on the second but with an almost flat calm sea. 
The bird list is quite interesting with very few migrant seabirds but a decent count of migrant passerines.
Gannet - landing
Gannet was the commonest seabird with Guillemot a close second with about 100 of the former and 60 of the latter. I also saw singles of Fulmar, Kittiwake and Mediterranean Gull plus 4 Great Skuas.
Great Skua
The first passerine was a White Wagtail but as we neared the French coast a Skylark appeared and circled the ship for some time.
The following morning, there were fewer Gannets and auks but a Song Thrush appeared, closely followed by a Collared Dove and a Chiffchaff and Robin. The Collared Dove was most unexpected where would it be heading in the middle of the Bay of Biscay?
Collared Dove
I had seen perhaps 40 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the first day and this was repeated on the the 16th. As we neared Santander Yellow-legged Gulls appeared and a cheeky Chaffinch flew in off the sea and landed on my camper van.

Chaffinch - female
Cetaceans were disappointing I saw nothing on the first day and just 4 of what I took to be Bottle-nosed Dolphins on the second day. Although a school of about 15 briefly appeared at the bow but I missed them. I sea watched for about 10 hours over the two days and despite the low sea bird count thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Now on to the Picos De Europa!


  1. You can always rely on a cheeky Chaffinch eh Andy?

    Enjoying very much reading about your trip and looking forward to seeing some wildlife most certainly outside the neighbourhood !!

  2. Thanks Martin, I hope to be able to post updates fairly regularly but will depend on internet access.