MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 13 May 2015

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Maggie Gamble

Weather: Sunny with large patches of cloud, light winds. Sea state 1-3

Summary of species seen:

Cetaceans:
Bottlenose Dolphin 3

Seabirds:
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Cormorant
Sandwich Tern
Oystercatcher
Gannet
Shag
Guillemot

This was my first time on the new Condor Liberation, a very impressive vessel with good side and rear views from the top deck. We enjoyed a very smooth crossing to Guernsey in good conditions but quiet on the wildlife sightings. As we approached Alderney the number of Gannets increased and we had nice views of Ortac rock showing white with nesting Gannets and its surrounding halo of flying birds. The return trip from Guernsey passed even closer, providing great views of the larger colony and two smaller ones behind it nearer to the Alderney coast.

At Guernsey Condor Liberation manoeuvred into the harbour and moored with seemingly much less trouble than I have parking my car. Once ashore I made use of the excellent bus service (£1 per trip) and went to the north of the island and had lunch at one of the many small food huts that are dotted all around the Guernsey coast. I had considered staying on the bus for a round the entire Island trip but lunch beckoned.

The return leg started in brilliant sunshine but then a bank of cloud and the top deck catching the wind meant that passengers retired to the comfort of the inner decks and I followed for a warm up! The announcement by the Captain that we were approaching the Dorset coast brought a resurgence of passengers back to the top deck to admire the beautiful coastal scenery  and some impressive real estate.

BND Peter Howlett 04
Bottlenose Dolphin (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

Near Old Harry Rocks we slowed down for the approach to Poole Harbour where I succumbed to the bane of the wildlife officer by looking the wrong way at the right time. Some passengers on the lower back deck quietly enjoyed some good views of 3 exuberant Bottlenose Dolphins having a thoroughly good time around 2 smaller boats following us in. Frustratingly I'd inspected those boats a short time previously thinking that they looked tempting to any thrill seeking dolphin but to no avail!

Thank you to Condor Ferries for having MARINElife aboard and apologies to the wildlife seeking passengers for missing the dolphins.