MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation‘ Poole-Guernsey 29 June 2016

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Tony Chenery

Summary of sightings:

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

As always thanks to Condor Ferries and the crew of the Condor Liberation for the support and assistance. This was my first trip alone as WLO on this route, although, having completed my MARINElife WLO training on this route it was familiar to me and I was very much looking forward to another visit to St Peter Port the capital of Guernsey.

Common Tern Peter Howlett 10
Common Tern (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

The weather forecast was not very good, with rather a lot of rain predicted, especially for the return leg. In the event, however, I managed to survey for three quarters of the journey each way, before rain set in. For the journey out to Guernsey there was a strong south-westerly breeze with intermittent showers and sea state was generally five. The return journey was less breezy and the sea state fell to three or four. Cloud cover on the way out was generally about 75%, while on the way back it tended to rise above 75% for the majority of the time to 90% or at times total cover.

Leaving Poole we saw good numbers of Common Tern around the ship, joined by several Sandwich Terns as we headed out to sea. On my first trip on this route we had nine Bottlenose Dolphins as we left Poole. I was attentive and expectant! But not this trip and as we progressed the weather remained too lively to have much chance of sighting cetaceans especially smaller ones.

Gannet Peter Howlett 04
Gannet (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

There were plenty of Gannets, however, moving very swiftly and effortlessly in the breeze. Occasional gulls and terns came into view, initially giving the impression of being something unusual when catching the stronger gusts of wind. Despite the wind It was quite warm and enjoyable being up on deck and I had some good conversations about MARINElife with the hardier souls that braved the wind with me.

All in all an exhilarating trip with some spectacular skies. All out for cetaceans the next trip!