MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries 'Condor Express' Weymouth-Jersey 14 February 2015

Julie Hatcher and Kevin Bainbridge, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather NNW 4-5, Swell 3-4 metres and good visibility.

Summary of species recorded

Marine Mammals

Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 6
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 6
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 36
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 8
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 4
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 17
Guillemot Uria aalge 20
Razorbill Alca torda 12
Auk species 16
Gull species 1

We were welcomed aboard the Condor Express by the friendly Condor staff and, once we had left port, were escorted to the bridge to begin our survey.  As the ship moved out of the harbour straight away the first bird spotted was a Red-necked Grebe sitting on the water, which was a nice surprise.

Kevin Bainbridge surveying on the Condor Express (Photo: Julie Hatcher)

The strong glare from the sun shining on the water hampered our survey a little as we scanned the sea for marine life. As we left the Isle of Portland behind and headed out into the Channel we began to spot a number of Guillemot and Razorbill and as we reached mid-Channel these were joined by a small number of adult Gannet and a Kittiwake.  We kept our eyes peeled for cetaceans as we approached Guernsey but unfortunately we were unlucky on this occasion.  However, we saw a Cormorant, several Shag and a variety of gull species as we came into port at Guernsey, where the captain Waldermar Sinecki swiftly manoeuvred the ship into the harbour.

As we left Guernsey and headed towards Jersey, a small flock of Black-headed Gulls flew across the bow and we continued to see a variety of seabirds in small numbers, including Guillemot, Razorbill, Gannet, Kittiwake and a Fulmar. There were also a number of Herring Gull and Great Black-backed Gull between the islands.

Guillemot Peter Howlett 02
Guillemot (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

We concluded our survey as we entered the port at Jersey. Due to the timing of the evening sailing we were unable to survey on the return voyage, so we thanked the Captain and his staff for their hospitality before leaving the bridge.


Julie Hatcher and Kevin Bainbridge, Research Surveyors for MARINElife