MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 21 May 2015

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Julia Benson

Weather: Sunny, strong winds. Sea state 3-4


Summary of species seen:

Seabirds
Gannet
Cormorant
Shag
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Common Tern
Guillemot
Razorbill
Oystercatcher

Despite the sun shining when I arrived at Poole it was quite a cold morning but the forecast and sea conditions were looking good for the day. Following a swift check-in I was soon boarding the Condor Liberation and, after finding my seat, made my way to the outside top deck to join the passengers who were braving the chilly morning. As we sailed slowly out of Poole harbour we saw a variety of birds including Black-headed, Herring, Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Cormorant and Common Tern.

Gannet Peter Howlett 06
Gannet (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

As we headed out into open water, the passengers returned to the warmth and comfort of their seats and shortly afterwards I joined them to warm up with a nice hot cup of tea from the café. I returned to the outside deck a few times throughout the outbound journey armed with my binoculars and camera. There was only the occasional bird to be seen, mostly Gannet and the odd gull. Soon we were passing the unmistakable Ortac Rock topped off in white with many Gannets circling above it. There were also a few formations of Gannet seen flying close by, all in a line.

As we arrived in Guernsey more gulls species were seen flying close by.

With a few hours to spend onshore I wandered around the town before buying a picnic to lunch to enjoy in Candie Gardens where I enjoyed the beautiful plants and sunshine.

Guillemot Peter Howlett 09
Guillemot (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

It was soon time to board the ship again for the return journey and soon after boarding I headed out on to the top deck but despite the sun shining the wind was quite chilly. I remained on the top deck with some of the passengers and saw a Guillemot sitting on the water, followed a short while later by a Razorbill which was also sitting on the water. As we neared Ortac Rock Gannets began to appear, many were flying around whilst others sat on the water. Once the bird activity had died down I went inside to warm up with another hot drink. I had been hopeful of seeing dolphins as they had been sighted by the WLO on the previous trip. Unfortunately they were a no show for us today. We were soon back in Poole harbour and it was time to head home after a very enjoyable day.

Thanks to Condor Ferries and the crew of the Condor Liberation for their continued support.