Weymouth or Poole-Channel Islands

Sightings Archives: May 2014

MARINElife survey report: Condor Ferries 'Condor Vitesse' Weymouth-Jersey 17 May 2014

Posted 28 May 2014

Fiona McNie and Rachel Davies (first leg only), Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: N-ENE 1-2, sunny, visibility 3 and 4

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 7

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 108
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 3
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 3
Guillemot Uria aalge 8
Gull sp.  55
Auk sp.  1

Terrestrial Birds
Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus 1
Swallow Hirundo rustica seen

It was an early start from Weymouth and a good start weather-wise.  The staff were accommodating as ever, and informed us of the training exercise which was occurring on the vessel during the day.  Surveyors were allowed on to the bridge 20 minutes after leaving the harbour, and exited 20 minutes before arriving into port as the vessel was in the 'red zone'.  The bridge remained in the 'red' so was inaccessible for the return journey between Jersey and Guernsey but access was allowed 20 minutes after leaving Guernsey on the return leg to Weymouth.

Harbour Porpoise Peter Howlett 07
Harbour Porpoise (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

Although the survey did not cover the coastal strip, a number of seabirds were spotted including over 100 Gannet and many gulls, quite a few of which were juveniles.  Several Swallows were seen throughout the journey, presumably on migration to the UK.

As the ferry headed out into the Channel on the return leg to Weymouth, the conditions remained very good, with a constant sea state of 1 and clear visibility. Despite there only being one surveyor for the return journey, a number of Harbour Porpoise were clearly seen, including one with a smaller animal next to it - likely a mother and calf - and a small group of three.

Our thanks to the Captain and crew of the Condor Vitesse for accommodating us and to Condor for supporting the work of MARINElife.