MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Jersey 15 October 2016

David Doxford and Christine Arnold, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: Slight Breeze, sea state 4-5, visibility mainly good with some cloud and rain.

Summary of sightings:

Gannet Morus bassanus 27
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 1
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 6
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 4
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 6
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius 1

Terrestrial Birds
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 4
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 9
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa c200

We boarded the Condor Liberation and waited for her to sail past the chain ferry before beginning our survey. As we sailed past Brownsea Island, we were able to see Shelduck, Spoonbill, Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher on the lagoon.

Christine Arnold surveying David Doxford
Surveying on the Liberation (David Doxford)

After passing the chain ferry we went up to the bridge and began our effort-based survey. The crew were welcoming and friendly as ever. After observing for a while we saw a Grey Phalarope flying quickly in the direction of Portland Bill which was rather exciting. We passed Ortac rock and Gannet colony and began to see more Gannet flying over the water along with several Manx Shearwater. It seemed that the Gannet colony was pretty empty today.

Today's approach to St Peter Port took us between Sark and Herm due to the tides. This enabled us to get good views of these islands. We went off effort and after collecting passengers went back on effort to survey between Guernsey and Jersey. Whilst docked in Jersey, we made the most of the lovely food served from the Casquettes Bistro.

After departing Jersey and travelling past the castle, we recorded Fulmar, Shag and Oystercatcher. We also passed the one of Condor's other ships the Commodore Clipper whilst a beautiful rainbow could be seen over the channel as we made our way back into Guernsey.

Sark rainbow Christine Arnold 2016
Rainbow over Sark (Christine Arnold)

After departing sunny Guernsey, we made our way down the channel between Guernsey and Herm and continued towards Ortac where we saw Great black-backed Gull and more Gannet.

We continued to survey until dark at about 6.30. It was great to see several big container ships all illuminated in the dark. The moon was out also which was picturesque.

We filled in the data recording sheets onto the databased whilst enjoying the comfort of the Ocean Plus lounge. Eventually we viewed land from all the illuminations on the Bournemouth Sea front. We then docked and thanked the crew for their interesting company, friendly hospitality and service.

Many thanks to Condor Ferries, the Captain and crew of the Condor Liberation for their assistance and support throughout this survey.