MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries (Commodore Clipper) Portsmouth – Cherbourg (24th May 2015)

Nick Adams, Hazel Pittwood and Wanda Bodnar, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Outward - initial patchy thick fog which cleared, wind westerly force 3
Return - mostly overcast, good visibility with glare at times, wind westerly force 4

Summary of sightings:

Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 7
Gannet  Morus bassanus 55
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 26
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus 2
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 5
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla 3
Unidentified large gull sp.  2
Unidentified auk sp.    1

Terrestrial Birds:
Swallow Hirundo rustica 2

We were rapidly escorted aboard by the friendly Condor Ferries staff and introduced ourselves to the friendly staff. Once clear of the Solent we headed to the bridge to meet the captain and start our survey.

Gannet Nick Adams 01a

As we left the Isle of Wight behind us, we started to pick up gannets heading east. There were also a few great black-backed gulls and a kittiwake or two. Perhaps the most interesting bird was a male swallow heading north to the UK. Some of the gannets decided to use the ship as the 'lead bird' in their formation.

Bird sightings remained fairly constant throughout the return survey with a number of gannets, gulls and fulmars being seen as well as another swallow heading north.

We concluded our survey as we reached the Isle of Wight and thanked the bridge staff for their hospitality before heading ashore.

Photo: Gannet (Nick Adams)