MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 23 June 2015

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Sarah Hodgson

Weather: Sunny, light breeze, sea state 2 (3 at times), good visibility

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds:
Manx Shearwater
Fulmar
Gannet
Cormorant
European Shag
Herring Gull
Black-headed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Common Tern
Sandwich Tern
Guillemot

Other birds:
Shelduck
Little Egret
Oystercatcher

I arrived in Poole in glorious sunshine and once on board Condor Liberation, made my way to the outside viewing deck along with many other fellow passengers. There was barely ripple on the surface of the water within Poole harbour and I was looking forward to a smooth crossing and great viewing conditions.

Brownsea lagoon was a hive of activity with numerous gulls and terns, diving into the water after small fish, no doubt with hungry chicks to feed. I also managed to spot a deer at the water's edge, just emerging from the reeds. Leaving the harbour I noticed lots of barrel jellyfish just below the surface of the water, which have been a familiar sight along the south coast this summer.

 

As the boat sped up many passengers retreated inside but I was able to have a good chat with several people who were keen to learn more about the wildlife that we might encounter on the crossing to Guernsey. We spotted the occasional Fulmar and Manx Shearwater and plenty of Gannet, especially as we neared Alderney. On arrival in Guernsey we were treated to the sight of a large group of Shag just outside the harbour walls.

Fermain Bay Sarah Hodgson 2015 01
Fermain Bay, Guernsey (Sarah Hodgson)

Once ashore I was feeling adventurous and determined to make the most of the lovely weather, so I caught a bus out of St Peter Port to find a secluded bay I had seen pictures of. Fermain Bay definitely didn't disappoint and was the perfect spot for lunch. Having consulted my map, I decided I had enough time to walk back into St. Peter Port along the cliff path and was rewarded with some spectacular views along the south east coast of the island and across to Sark and Herm.

 

Still bathed in sunshine and ever hopeful of spotting cetaceans we set off on the return journey back to Poole.  Wildlife sightings weren't much different from the outward leg, with the addition of a few Guillemot. At one point a lone Gannet appeared right above us on the outside deck and impressively kept up for a while, which was probably the highlight of the trip for me. Unfortunately the cetaceans eluded us this time.

Gannet Graham Ekins 04
Gannet (Archive photo: Graham Ekins)

Thanks to Condor Ferries and the ever helpful and friendly crew of the Condor Liberation for the support and assistance.