Weymouth or Poole-Channel Islands

Sightings Archives: January 2014

MARINElife Survey Report: Condor Ferries "Condor Vitesse" Weymouth - Guernsey - Jersey 20th January 2014

Posted 23 January 2014

Adrian Shephard and Thomas Fisher, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Wind: NW 2 - 4 with 1 - 2 metres of swell. Clear skies with occasional rain showers

Summary of Sightings
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 110
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 12
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 1
Common Gull Larus canus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 91
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 21
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 48
Unidentified mixed Gull Sp. 7
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Guillemot Uria aalge 50
Razorbill Alca torda 17
Puffin Fratercula arctica 1
Unidentified Auk Sp 31
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 18

Gannet Adrian

Gannet (Adrian Shephard)

We had an early start for this first survey with Condor Ferries aboard Condor Vitesse from Weymouth. We introduced ourselves to the staff in the terminal before heading aboard to meet the ship-based crew who all welcomed us and were keen to hear about our research and share their wildlife encounters.

Shortly after departing Weymouth, we headed onto the bridge and started recording seabirds including Kittiwake and Gannet. The conditions were fairly good with a mild swell and few white caps but we were not destined to see any dolphins or porpoises on this first survey.

We continued to survey adding Guillemot, Fulmar and Great Black-backed Gull to our seabird list which included over 400 seabirds from 13 different species by the end of the trip. Most of the seabirds were still in the winter plumage, but a few species were already getting ready for the summer, particularly Guillemot and European Shag which all seemed to have their crests as they fished around the Channel Islands.

Shag Adrian

European Shag (Adrian Shephard)

We did see a large group of feeding Gannet at some distance from the ship, but despite careful observing of the seas beneath them, we were unable to pick up any dorsal fins.

After a brief turn around in both Guernsey and Jersey, we were all too soon heading back towards Weymouth, this time with a few white-caps making the viewing more challenging.  A brief sighting of a Puffin and then a little later, a Great Skua passing in front of the ship were our seabird highlights.

We concluded our survey on arrival back in Weymouth and thanked Captain Mark and his staff for an enjoyable and productive first survey and their hospitality.

Adrian Shephard and Thomas Fisher; Research Surveyors for MARINElife