MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 23 June 2016

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO: Glynis Northwood-Long

Weather: Winds northwesterly 2 to 4, sea  state slight to moderate, with drizzle, intermittent heavy showers and mist reducing visibility from moderate to poor.

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds:
Cormorant
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern
Gannet
Guillemot

Terrestrial birds:
Swallow
Oystercatcher
Greylag Goose
Canada Goose

It was an early, misty start to this week's Wildlife trip on the Liberation and with the forecast of fog and thundery showers, only the really keen spotters and sightseers were out on the viewing deck. The drizzly conditions seemed to also hamper bird activity with only Cormorant, Greylag and Canada Geese and gulls being seen in any number on Brownsea Island Lagoon. The bonus to the early start was that there was more ship activity with both the Barfleur and the Corinthian seen coming into port as well as fishing boats, ferries and Harbourmasters boats within the harbour.

Barfleur Glynis Northwood-Long 01
Barfleur entering Poole harbour (Glynis Northwood-Long)

After passing Old Harry Rocks, the weather deteriorated further and the other passengers left the viewing deck. I also retreated inside and enjoyed a large breakfast from the Casquets Bistro. Unfortunately, conditions did not improve throughout the voyage and even the Gannetry on Ortac near Alderney was shrouded in mist.

Disembarking at St Peter Port, I took a sightseeing tour of the island, the Guernsey Vaeux, on one of the local buses as the intermittent showers seemed to be set in for the day. After the tour, I took a leisurely stroll back through the town, admiring the floral displays which were obviously benefiting  from the wet conditions and had grown significantly since my last visit a few weeks before.

Once back on the Liberation for the return journey and out on the viewing deck, I chatted to a few people from the Channel Islands, around the UK, and from the US about our previous experiences of cetacean sightings. Sadly on this occasion, we didn't spot any dolphin or Harbour Porpoise, as had been seen on previous trips and more rain put a stop to further viewing out on deck.

Birds on buoy Glynis Northwood-Long 01
Birds on one of the channel buoys in Poole harbour (Glynis Northwood-Long)

Thanks to Condor Ferries and the crew of the Condor Liberation for making me welcome onboard and for supporting these wildlife trips.