MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: Condor Ferries ‘Vitesse’ Weymouth-Guernsey 20 August 2014

Ellen Last Wildlife Officer for MARINElife

Weather;

Outward - sunny, dry with light winds. Good visibility but some glare.
Return - dry, with some glare as the sun set, but quickly became dark.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals:
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus (c.8)

Seabirds:
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus
Gannet Morus bassanus
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Commic Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisaea

We departed Weymouth on a late crossing at 13:15 and the afternoon started with high hopes as there had been reports of dolphins in Weymouth Bay. However, despite keeping an eye out we didn't see any sign of them! A group of six people joined me for the MARINElife day trip down to Guernsey, which included some experienced birders and a marine photography student, as well as some less experienced passengers.

BND Adrian Shephard 01
Bottlenose Dolphin (Archive photo: Adrian Shephard)

The journey was fairly quiet but there were many Gannet sightings interspersed with Manx Shearwater, Commic Terns,  and Great and Lesser Black-backed gulls.

Just as we were approaching Guernsey a school of about eight Bottlenose Dolphin was sighted alongside the ship, but they were soon left behind due to the fast speed of the ferry! For one of the passengers this was her first time seeing dolphins and, even better, she was the one who spotted them!

After disembarking I headed into St Peter Port, finding a lovely pasty shop for my tea. I then headed out of the town and discovered the La Vallette Bathing Pools - a set of tidal sea pools. Most of them were in disrepair but it was nice to see people using one of them. I may have to bring my swimming stuff on my next trip!

On the journey back to Weymouth we were treated to a gorgeous sunset and some sightings of Manx Shearwater but all too soon it became too dark to continue looking.

Guernsey sunset Ellen Last 01
Guernsey sunset (Ellen Last)