MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 30 August 2016

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Alan Altoft

Weather: Out and return - sunny, light winds, visibility good, sea state calm

Summary of Sightings

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

This was my first trip as Wildlife Officer (WLO) which suddenly felt quite a responsibility but I was eager none the less. Having been on a WLO training day on this route earlier in the year I felt well orientated and had an expectation of how the day would go.

The morning weather and light were ideal. Poole harbour a blue mirror. The upper deck filled up with passengers and quite a few were interested and wanted to talk about what they might see during the crossing. The harbour itself and particularly Brownsea Island was very active with bird life.

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

As we left the harbour the sea was calm and visibility extremely good so the chances of spotting any marine mammal activity if they were around was encouraging. The number of people on deck thinned out and I was conscious of fewer eyes watching the waters. As it turned on this day we saw no cetaceans.

Halfway across the Channel we entered a narrow band of seafog, fortunately it only lasted fifteen minutes and gave me a chance to get a cup of tea and a croissant.

The rest of the sailing into Guernsey was smooth and clear. The bird life was abundant and the scenery fascinating.

GBBG Peter Howlett 10
Great Black-backed Gull (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

The return journey was again blessed with good weather. The evening light made the Gannet colony on Ortac more beautiful and spectacular than ever. In amongst the adult were quite a few juvenile Gannet.

A lot of the passengers were doing the day trip so there were familiar faces on the return trip and more came up and had longer conversations about MARINELife, research and marine conservation in general.

A good day and thanks to the friendly crew.

If you like the sound of joining one of our trips down to Guernsey, from Poole then you can book online here. What's more, Condor Ferries will kindly donate £5 from the cost of your ticket to MARINElife!