MARINElife Survey Report: Condor Ferries ‘ Condor Liberation’ Jersey-St Malo 19 March 2016

Neil Singleton and Allison Caldeira, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: Overcast, wind NE force 4, air temperature 9C

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 1

Gannet Morus bassanus 1
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 4
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 51
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 1
Great black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Razorbill Alca torda 2

We would like to say a special thank you to the Condor Ferries reservations team for their help in organising our places for the survey to St Malo. It had been a particularly busy week for Condor and we really appreciate being able to complete the survey as originally planned.

BND Peter Howlett 06
Bottlenose Dolphin (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

The Cabin Manager, James Hyndman greeted us and informed Captain Peter Falla of our arrival on board. We were advised that as soon as 'red zone' was finished we could commence our survey and were invited up to the bridge shortly after leaving St Helier. This was our first outing on the Condor Liberation and we soon familiarised ourselves with the different layout of the instrument panels.

Survey conditions were ideal with good visibility, little glare and only a slight swell. The birdlife on this first leg of the journey was sparse to say the least. Four Cormorants, a Razorbill, a Herring Gull and two Great Black-backed Gulls. However, the sighting of a single Bottlenose Dolphin crossing our bow more than made up for this disappointing count.

Red zone was called at 14:05 and we arrived in St Malo at 14:25. Whilst we waited to disembark, we were kept entertained by a female Great-crested Grebe feeding energetically in the harbour area.

On the return journey we were greeted by Virginie Johnson who had been our Cabin Manager on a couple of occasions last year. She announced our arrival to Captain Falla and we were escorted to the bridge at 17:30.

Shag Peter Howlett 02
Shag (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

Conditions had improved slightly but to our dismay the seabirds were not very active and we had just four sightings, but that did include a raft of 50+ Shags. As we approached St Helier and soon after recording was finished we were impressed to find two Great Northern Divers resting near the harbour entrance.

We would like to thank all the staff aboard the Condor Liberation who made us feel most welcome and helped us throughout the day.