Tag: Survey

Citizen science

by on Feb.28, 2012, under Surveys

Saturday saw an early start and a long drive  south to Far Ings Nature Reserve in the shadow of the Humber Bridge.  The reason for our journey was that Martin was one of the MARINElife researchers delivering a training course for potential volunteer researchers.  MARINElife have survey teams on several passenger and freight ferry routes around the UK, gathering data on whales, dolphins, porpoises, seabirds and other marine wildlife, and those survey teams are made up of volunteers.  Consistency and credibility of the data gathered is ensured by land-based training sessions, followed by ‘on the job’ training alongside experienced research team leaders.

If you would like to get involved, and add to the valuable sum of knowledge that we have about our offshore wildlife, then you can contact MARINElife through their website or e-mail martin.kitching@marine-life.org.uk and we can point you in the right direction.  We’re always keen to add new surveyors to our North East Cetacean Project research team, and you’ll get your hands-on training off the beautiful Northumberland coast.

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Masters of all we survey?

by on Dec.13, 2009, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland

I’ve just finished my 3rd consecutive day of survey work (ok, today was just a couple of hours around dawn, but you get the idea).

Friday and Saturday saw me up to 20 miles offshore, leading a survey team of Alan Tilmouth, Ross Ahmed, Allan Skinner (our boat skipper) and Jimmy (erstwhile SarahJFK crew member and very diligent data-recorder).  Friday didn’t look promising as we drove to Royal Quays in thick fog, and the marina was mired in the gloom as well as we met up with Tom Brereton from Marinelife.  However, once out of the Tyne we quickly passed out of the fog bank and into some stunning weather.

Martin and Tom scanning for cetaceans

Martin and Tom scanning for cetaceans

Ross, Alan and Tom observing and recording seabird distribution and abundance

Ross, Alan and Tom observing and recording seabird distribution and abundance

 On the return there was a superb sunset but the fog had extended to almost 6 miles offshore and we had one of those real pelagic experiences.
Tom scanning ahead of the SarahJFK for cetaceans

Tom scanning ahead of the SarahJFK for cetaceans

Ross still recording, Alan looking cheerful as we approach a fog bank

Ross and Alan still recording as we approach the fog bank that ended Friday's survey

Tom, Martin, Ross and Alan heading home

Tom, Martin, Ross and Alan heading home

Yesterday had overall better visibility but slighty lumpier seas, as we covered the area from Blyth to Druridge Bay.  Having completed about 80 miles of transect surveys in 2 days we’ve already gathered a lot of seabird data.  The North Sea (which is relatively small) seems pretty big when you’re far enough offshore to not be able to see any land.  When 3 experienced seawatchers look around and say “we don’t really have a clue what’s out here do we?” then it hammers home the importance of what we’re doing.  Having found Puffins on both surveys so far, and five Little Gulls on Saturday, we’re all eagerly anticipating the rest of our winter surveys.  We’ve got a few spaces on most of the survey trips (which will run when the weather allows us the opportunity) which are available for a contribution of £20/person/trip (a much lower rate than our commercial pelagics trips in July-September).  Give us a call, wrap up warm and join us on a journey into the unknown.

On dry (well, drier) land, Sarah and myself set out this morning for the December Icelandic Goose Census.Two Barn Owls were a bonus in the bone-chilling temperatures.  Last month I drew a blank with our goose monitoring and this month was hardly any better; just 3 Greylag Geese at the roost site that is designated as part of the census.  Looks like we’ll be out again at dusk, trying to locate the birds as they fly to roost.

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