MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: Condor Ferries ‘Express’ Poole-Guernsey 17 September 2014

Abi Parsons, Wildlife Officer for MARINElife

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals

Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Gannet Morus bassanus
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Swallow Hirundo rustica
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Little Egret Egretta garzetta

At 8:50 the ferry left Poole harbour and we sailed through the morning sunshine on our way to Guernsey and Jersey. Passing Brownsea Island a flock of Oystercatcher were feeding in the sheltered bay along with some Mute Swan and a Little Egret flew over. There were Shag perched on the large buoys around the harbour and some in the nature reserve, warming up in the early sun. As we sped up and left the harbour I picked out a few Great black-backed Gull circling in the air over Studland beach.

Herring Gull Abi Parsons 01
Herring Gull eyeing up my lunch in St Peter Port (Abi Parsons)

Nearing Alderney there was plenty of Gannet activity with many diving into the sea and others seemingly enjoying the windy weather. On a few occasions during the trip I noticed small flocks of Swallows flying past, strangely they were heading in both directions, towards the UK and also Guernsey!

It was beautifully sunny when we arrived in Guernsey and I had time for a lovely walk around after lunch, before boarding the ferry for the return journey.

It was a little windier on the journey home, which made looking for cetaceans a little tricky, I kept an eye out for Harbour Porpoise and dolphins near Guernsey but with no luck. At one point, just out of Guernsey, I spotted a little bit of seabird activity and managed to convince myself I'd seen a porpoise, before I looked again and realised it was only a buoy!

Despite the lack of cetaceans I spoke to many passengers who told me they had seen lots of dolphins on the way to St. Malo and around the waters of Jersey and Kimmeridge too.

Dorset coast sunset Abi Parsons
Dorset coast sunset (Abi Parsons)

We arrived back in Poole at 7pm, to a lovely sunset!

Many thanks to Condor Ferries for having me aboard! It was a very enjoyable trip.

If you like the sound of joining one of our trips down to Guernsey, either from Weymouth or Poole, then you can book online. What's more, Condor Ferries will kindly donate £5 of the cost of your ticket to MARINElife!