MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 2 September 2015

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Charles McGibney

Weather: Bright and sunny, some wind, very good visibility, sea state 1-2

Summary of species seen:

Seabirds:
Fulmar
Northern Gannet
Cormorant
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Black-headed Gull

It was a bright and sunny morning on the 2 September when I boarded Condor Liberation for another trip to Guernsey. Visibility was excellent, sea state was relatively calm and hopes were high!

There were quite a few passengers on the upper deck viewing platform who were also enjoying the fresh weather and view, so I introduced myself and talked about the fantastic marine life that one could hope to see on the crossing to Guernsey including the variety of seabirds, cetaceans and other marine mammals.

Ortac Charles McGibney
Ortac rock with its Gannetry (Archive photo: Charles McGibney)

Despite many eyes sharply focused on the waters around Poole Harbour, Studland and Old Harry Rocks, no sightings were made. During the crossing we saw a steady number of Gannet scanning the seas for prey, with the occasional making an effort to keep up with the Liberation before gliding off in a different direction. As we sailed past Ortac there was a huge mass of Gannets covering the rock and circling above, but sadly not much diving or evidence of cetacean activity beneath the waves.

After enjoying a few relaxing hours on Guernsey it was time to re-board Liberation for the return leg to Poole. With similar viewing conditions and beaming sunshine the viewing platform was fairly busy with passengers. After speaking to one family I found out that there had been a small pod of about 3 Bottlenose Dolphin spotted off Jersey earlier that day, so my hopes were again lifted. The return journey however didn't result in any sightings, other than the usual mass gathering of Gannets around Ortac and a lone Fulmar.

Jethou and Herm Charles McGibney 01
Herm and Jethou (Charles McGibney)

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