MARINElife Wildlife Officer report: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 26 August 2015

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Christine Arnold

Weather
Outward: Rain and strong winds
Return: sunny with much lighter winds

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds:
Gannet
Cormorant
Little Egret
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Black-headed Gull
Common Tern

On Guernsey:
Herring Gull
Black-headed Gull
Rock Pipit
Turnstone
Carrion Crow
Cormorant
Woodpigeon

I boarded Condor Liberation and was warmly welcomed by the staff on board. As usual they were very hospitable and friendly and were interested in what we were likely to see.

It wasn't promising, standing on the top deck in the rain, but I found many people to talk with about MARINElife and give leaflets to. Many people were just about to begin their holidays on their way to the Channel Islands so were very interested in the places in the Poole Harbour area that they could see from the ship.

We passed Brownsea Island where there were Great Black-backed, Herring and Black-headed Gull, Cormorant, Common Tern and Little Egret to be seen. As we voyaged further out into the Channel graceful Gannets were soaring majestically over the waves.

Turnstone Christine Arnold 01
Turnstone (Christine Arnold)

In Guernsey the rain continued but I still cycled to Castle Cornet where I saw a Rock Pipit sheltering near the castle grounds. At last the sun eventually came out and I saw some Turnstones moving and drying their wings on rocks nearby. I carried on along the coast to Clarence Battery where Red Admiral and Large White butterflies were flying around near the plants on the cliffs and Carrion Crows soared in the updrafts.

The journey back was wonderful, we were now bathed in glorious sunshine. There were many people on deck and they were happily talking about their time in Guernsey. As we passed Alderney one passenger was keen to tell me about the area around Les Etacs rocks, while the Gannet colony on Ortac was more active than I've ever seen before, they were swarming around it. The Gannets were also extremely busy fishing in the waters around the colony and we saw plenty more on the journey north across the Channel. We passed the usual array of large tankers as we crossed the Channel shipping lanes, along with a tall ship which caused excitement amongst the passengers.

Ortac Christine Arnold August 2015
Ortac Gannet colony (Christine Arnold)

The Condor staff were very keen to know what had been seen during the crossing so far, they each had their own story about observations on previous crossings. We had lovely views of the Purbecks, Old Harry Rocks and Brownsea Island with the sun shining on them.

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