MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 5 June 2015

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Glynis Northwood-Long

Weather: Rain to start, sun at the very end, otherwise overcast with moderate to strong winds, sea state 4-6.

Summary of species seen:

Cetaceans
No sightings

Seabirds
Fulmar
Gannet
Cormorant
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Common Tern


This was my first trip representing MARINElife as Wildlife Officer although I had the privilege of accompanying MARINElife's patron, Maya Plass, Rick Morris, our Wildlife Officer Co-ordinator and volunteer Ali Quinney on a similar trip in April.

Although it was chilly and overcast, I was hopeful that the weather would improve during the day. I was greeted with a warm smile by the friendly staff at the Condor check-in desk and I quickly boarded the Liberation. Shortly after departure, it started to rain and the service manager was kind enough to allow me to view from the fabulous panoramic Ocean Plus lounge. After breakfast, I went out onto the viewing deck but few passengers were tempted outside. So I walked round the ship and had the opportunity to chat to people about how MARINElife aims to conserve marine life through research and education.

Ortac Nigel Northwood 2015 06
Ortac Gannet colony (Nigel Northwood)

Approaching Alderney, I was chatting with a couple from Australia and as the ship passed quite close to Ortac, they were amazed at the spectacular sight of the Gannet colony. After that, I was joined by a couple on a bird watching holiday and as we came into port in Guernsey, we saw adult and juvenile Herring Gull, Cormorant and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

I disembarked at St Peter Port and having a few hours ashore, I wandered around the harbour watching gulls swooping around fishing boats and a group of Cormorant sitting on moored boats, drying out their wings.

Gannet Carol Farmer-Wright 02
Gannet (Archive photo: Carol Farmer-Wright)

On the return journey, I was joined on the viewing deck by several people from Guernsey. As we marvelled at the sight of the Gannets circling around and nesting on Ortac, we wondered how many thousands there were in the Gannet colonies on Ortac and Les Etacs rocks.

As we sailed back towards Poole, the sun came out over Old Harry Rocks and we saw a variety of birds including Common Tern diving for fish, Cormorant were swimming and  gulls were following the fishing boats.

Thanks to Condor Ferries and the crew of the Condor Liberation for making me so welcome onboard.