MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: Condor Ferries ‘Vitesse’ Weymouth–Guernsey 9 September 2014

Lee Slater; MARINElife Guernsey Wildlife Officer (WLO)
Weather: Sunny and clear. Sea state 2-3 with light southerly winds

Seabirds:
Gannet Morus bassanus
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
Manx Shearwater  Puffinus puffinus
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Great Skua  Stercorarius skua

Terrestrial birds:
Oystercatcher  Haematopus ostralegus
Little Egret  Egretta garzetta

The sun was shining in Weymouth and even though some of the summer crowds had dispersed, the seafront and the subsequent ferry crossing were incredibly busy. I made my way to the top deck and began my introductions as the Condor Vitesse started its journey. The walls of Portland harbour provided Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull sightings and as we entered the Channel, we saw our first, of a constant stream of Gannet.

Great Skua Adrian Shephard 02I was approached by a range of passengers and they supplemented those who had joined for the MARINElife day trip and soon we were all searching the waves for any sign of a dorsal fin. These were unfortunately not forth coming, but a group of 5 Great Skua made for excellent watching and soon we slipped in to St. Peter Port, Guernsey.

Having never been to Guernsey I was looking forward to exploring St. Peter Port and after a nice walk around this quaint town and a cup of tea, it was time to head to the vessel for the return leg.

Great Skua (Adrian Shephard)

Hope was renewed as we set sail for Weymouth, the clear conditions and bulk of people on the back deck meant that we were all optimistic. The highlight of the return leg was a dazzling flock of Manx Shearwater that were skimming above the water. Soon enough though, the light diminished and we were left to watch the rising of a 'supermoon' as the Condor Vitesse pulled back in to Weymouth.

Thanks to Condor Ferries, the crew of the Condor Vitesse for the support and assistance and to the passengers for their enthusiasm.

Lee Slater; MARINElife Guernsey Wildlife Officer (WLO)