Samantha Blampied and John McLaughlin, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Wind NW 4, sea state 4, mainly sunny, visibility good.
Summary of sightings:
Gannet Morus bassanus
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 13
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 2
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 1
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis 1
I would firstly like to thank the Condor staff and Captains for being so welcoming and accommodating us during the survey and for pointing out dolphins on the opposite side of the ship! Also, thank you to Rachel Gifford for arranging our places onboard.
The day started off lovely and sunny and, with high hopes of seeing dolphins, John and I boarded the Condor Rapide. Once on the bridge we received a warm welcome from the captain and crew and after a quick chat about the survey route we were off. Despite it being a clear sunny day, the wind was quite strong, blowing the sea into a flurry of white horses. However, there was very little swell which made spotting birds sitting on the water much easier, which included the usual Gannets, gulls and Cormorants and also a glimpse of a Guillemot as it flew across the bow.
Gannet (Archive photo: Carol Farmer-Wright)
The sun was still shining when we arrived in St. Malo and we had a few hours to enjoy the town and cafes before the return journey. The wind had been picking up as the day went on and there were even more white horses on the way back which made spotting cetaceans tricky but there were enough birds to keep us occupied. Unfortunately we did not see cetaceans on either crossing, only the crew spotted one dolphin (thought to be a Bottlenose) on the port side as we were passing the Minquiers, but it was good practice for our bird identification skills.