MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Jersey 3 June 2017

Julie Hatcher & JoJo Southgate, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: Mainly sunny out, more cloud on the return leg, winds light, visibility good.

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 2
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet Morus bassanus 152
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 8
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 72
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 2
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 3
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 18
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 21
Guillemot Uria aalge 1
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 2
Gull sp.   4
Tern sp.   8
Duck sp.   1

After boarding the Liberation we spoke with the cabin manager and cheekily requested if we were able to go onto the bridge slightly earlier than usual because over the last few days a solitary dolphin had been spotted on several occasions in Poole Harbour. Captain Giles Wade allowed us onto the bridge and told us that he had seen the dolphin a couple of days before by Old Harry Rocks.

Fulmar Peter Howlett 16
Fulmar (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

There were plenty of seabirds to record in the harbour but unfortunately, on this occasion, no dolphin. Heading towards Guernsey there were several cargo vessels of different sizes within sight on the calm seas. Bird sightings were sparse with a few Fulmar and Cormorants, a solitary Guillemot and an assortment of gulls and terns recorded.

Between Guernsey and Jersey and vice versa the journey was quiet with only a few sightings of birds.

Manx Shearwater Peter Howlett 13
Manx Shearwater (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

On our way back to Poole from Guernsey the weather remained dry and the waters were calm.  Towards Alderney and the Gannet colony on Ortac the sightings of Gannets, both adults and immatures, increased. There were approximately 60 Gannets circling the skies above the rock and around 20 resting on the water, plus all the birds nesting on the rock itself. Carrying on towards Poole we sighted two Manx Shearwaters, a Kittiwake and even two ducks, which unfortunately were too far away to identify.

We concluded our survey on coming into Poole Harbour, seeing several terns, gulls and two Oystercatchers to round off the trip. Once we completed our survey we thanked Captain Giles Wade and his staff for their hospitality.