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

Emma Howe-Andrews and Sean Graham, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather: Outward: good visibility with glare at times, sea State 2-5; Return: reduced visibility with some mist, sea State 2-6

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 6

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 36
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 16 
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 34
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 9
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 4
Guillemot Uria aalge 4
Razorbill Alca torda 10
Gull sp. 50

We arrived in Weymouth at the Condor Ferries terminal on a beautiful sunny day and, after an efficient check in by the friendly staff, we were advised that once on board, we would be met by James, the Duty Manager. After a swift embarkation and an early departure, James showed us to our workstation on the bridge and introduced us to Captain Steven Crowe and his crew, who couldn't have made us feel more welcome.

Manx Shearwater Peter Howlett 12

Manx Shearwater (archive photo: Peter Howlett)

With a sea state 4, good visibility and winds blowing from NNW, we headed out into the Channel and our first seabird sighting was a Razorbill skimming across the water in front of the ship. Further sightings of Fulmar, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Cormorant, Guillemot and a single Manx Shearwater were recorded.

Before our arrival in Guernsey, a small pod of Common Dolphin were sighted on the starboard side, providing spectacular views of these amazing animals as they leapt over the waves. A single individual came in to enjoy a brief bow ride whilst the remainder of the group continued down the side and into the wake of the ship. Fantastic!

Common Dolphin Carol FarmerWright 02a

Common Dolphin (Archive photo: Carol Farmer-Wright)

After a short stop in Guernsey and a brief view of the beautiful harbour, we again left early and headed towards Jersey in a sea state 2. As the ship approached the coastline we had stunning views of the small bays and inlets that the island had to offer. We also encountered a few fishing vessels with a number of rafting Herring Gull and Great Black-backed Gull nearby.

After leaving Jersey the weather began to deteriorate, and at times produced a sea state 5-6 with reduced visibility but the number of bird sightings remained fairly constant with Gannet frequently recorded until the survey concluded on our arrival back in Weymouth.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Captain Steven Crowe, James and the crew of the Condor Express who were very friendly, helpful and extremely accommodating throughout our time on board.


Emma Howe-Andrews and Sean Graham, Research Surveyors for MARINElife