MARINElife Survey Report: Condor ‘Vitesse’ Weymouth-Jersey survey 17 August 2014

Ellen Last and Maggie Gamble, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather
Fairly rough conditions with some rain. Wind SW, force 4-5.

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 5
Gannet Morus bassanus 107
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 14
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus 5
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 4
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Common Gull Larus canus 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 20
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 4
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 1
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 2
Unidentified gull sp. 74
Shearwater sp. 1

This proved to be a fairly quiet survey with the choppy conditions meaning that spotting cetaceans was very difficult. Overall the majority of seabirds sighted were Gannet with a few Manx Shearwater. There were also sightings of the critically endangered Balearic Shearwater.

The crossing from Weymouth to Jersey was fairly quiet, although made worthwhile by the sighting of four Balearic Shearwater in the seas around the Channel Islands.

Balearic Shear Tom Brereton 06b
Balearic Shearwater (Archive photo: Tom Brereton)

During the stop in Guernsey we had time to pop into St Peter Port time to sample  some delicious lasagne for tea then on departure we continued with the survey. A small fishing vessel was spotted with around 70 gulls following it and we also saw Shag and Fulmar on this last leg of the journey.

As we approached Weymouth Herring Gulls took over as the most numerous species. By this time it was also beginning to get dark, making identifying the birds more difficult but at least it was near the end of the survey.

Overall a total number of 241 seabirds were seen from a total of 12 species. Many thanks to the captain and crew of Condor Vitesse for their hospitality.