MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 21 October 2016

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Alan Altoft

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds
Gannet
Cormorant
Great Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Black-headed Gull

Weather: sunny spells, dry with fair winds, visibility fair, sea state ranging from 3-5 throughout day.

This was the last of the MARINElife day trips for this year and it really felt like the end of the season. The Liberation had a slightly earlier sailing because of the tides and a land mist hung over Poole harbour. Atmospheric and beautiful it may have been but it wasn't great for wildlife watching. Even  Brownsea Island lagoon which is full of a variety of birds was veiled.

Cormorant Peter Howlett 03
Cormorant (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

Out into the channel and up on deck after a brief safety film I met with a few local bird enthusiasts, although no one had specifically booked a MARINElife ticket. The mist still hung over the coast and out over the water limiting our sightings to several passing Cormorants heading into the harbour.

It was late October and cold and often I was the only one on the deck. The view cleared enough to make being on lookout for any cetacean activity worthwhile but alas no there were no sightings on either leg of the trip.

Approaching the Channel Islands usually means that Gannets start appearing in ever larger numbers but this did not happen and as we sailed past Ortac the colony seemed deserted. This Gannet colony has been the high point of the trips throughout the summer and early autumn but it looked like they had left now for other waters.

Liberation sunset Alan Altoft 2016
Sunset over the Channel (Alan Altoft)

The sun was setting before we reached Poole on the return leg, bringing observations to a close. It has been an interesting year, let's hope 2017 is as good.