MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 19 August 2015

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Julie Hatcher

Weather:
Outward: light southwesterly winds, warm but overcast, fine except for light drizzle later.
Return: moderate southwesterly wind but fairly flat sea with persistent rain and poor visibility.

Summary of Species seen:

Seabirds
Gannet
Cormorant
European Shag
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Kittiwake

A few Cormorant, Herring Gull and a Great Black-backed Gull flew by as we left Poole Harbour and passed Old Harry Rocks in fairly calm sea conditions. Several adult Gannets as well as some in juvenile plumage were spotted as we crossed the Channel, passing quite close to the ferry, and we had a good view of a juvenile Kittiwake with its attractive markings as it briefly followed us before veering off.

Kittiwake Peter Howlett 05a
Juvenile Kittiwake (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

Several passengers booked on the MARINElife day trip came and chatted as we kept a look out from the rear viewing deck. Ortac, the Gannet colony at Alderney, was busy with birds wheeling above and groups of 10 or so birds flying in formation as they set out on foraging trips. Quite a few immature Gannets in their dark plumage were also spotted and a number of Shag as we approached Guernsey.

We docked at St. Peter Port in intermittent light rain, which didn't dampen our spirits as we wandered around the cobbled streets exploring the town for a couple of hours before re-boarding the ferry for our return trip.

St Peter Port Peter Howlett 08
St Peter Port harbour with Condor Liberation docked (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

This time our return route took us between the islands of Herm and Sark giving us close views, but as we headed north towards Alderney the rain came down harder and reduced visibility. At this point we retired inside to enjoy the comforts of the ferry and keep watch through the windows. A number of Gannets were seen as we crossed the Channel but unfortunately no cetaceans on this trip.

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