MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 16 August 2016

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Julie Hatcher

Weather: Outward and return - a stiff easterly breeze with wall to wall sunshine and blue skies. The wind died as we approached Poole on the return journey and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and calm seas.

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds:
Gannet
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Tern
Fulmar
Cormorant
Shag
Swallow

It was already warm with a brilliant blue sky as we left Poole and sailed through the harbour at a leisurely pace. The outside deck was packed with people enjoying the sunshine and watching the gulls, terns and Cormorants flying around the ferry as we passed Brownsea Island and sailed along the coast. I chatted with the passengers and answered their questions about what we might see on the crossing as we left the Purbeck coast and headed out into the Channel.

Gannet Peter Howlett 24
Adult and juvenile Gannet (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

A strong easterly wind was blowing making the sea surface a bit choppy although not at all rough for the crossing. Several adult and juvenile Gannet, with their dark plumage, were spotted, along with a Fulmar and a single Swallow heading south on migration. We passed the Gannet colony on Ortac just west of Alderney and, as we approached Guernsey, entered smoother waters. We kept our eyes peeled for Harbour Porpoise and Bottlenose Dolphin, which are regularly seen there, but unfortunately didn't see anything on this occasion.

Fulmar Peter Howlett 19
Fulmar (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

We disembarked in St Peter Port at lunch time with the hot sun beating down. A leisurely lunch and saunter around the shops and cobbled streets of the town soon filled the few hours of shore time and before long it was time to head back to the ferry for the return voyage. The glorious weather continued and again the outside decks of the ferry were packed with people enjoying the views as we left the Channel Islands behind. More Gannet soaring over the waves kept us company as we sailed north but otherwise there was little wildlife to be seen. Despite this everyone enjoyed the day, especially the glorious sunshine, blue skies and smooth crossing.

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