MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Jersey 6 July 2017

Steve Boswell, Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: Variable wind with calm seas throughout, very bright glare in the first part of the survey

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 12

Seabirds
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 87
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 9
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 25
Black- headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 27
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 58
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 19
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 14
Guillemot Uria aalge 6
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 10
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 27

Once on board I reported to reception and was escorted to the bridge to introduce myself to Captain Tim Coutts. We departed early and were soon passing Brownsea Island and Studland Bay.

Sighting of birds were steady as we crossed the Channel but were not seen in big numbers as would be expected at this time of year with most birds still close or at their breeding grounds.

Common Dolphin Graham Ekins 05
Common Dolphin (Archive photo: Graham Ekins)

As we headed towards Alderney I spotted splashing on the waters surface and then the appearance of 4 Dolphins. As we approached more Dolphins appeared and they began to leap out of the water. As we passed them they played in the wake. A total of 12 Common Dolphin, including 2 Juveniles, a lovely sight in the calm sea and on the starboard side with no glare.

A cruise ship was tendering passengers into Guernsey for the day so we had to alter our approach into the harbour slightly. After a short stop we headed for Jersey

On the return journey out from Jersey a group of 15 Shag with 2 Cormorant were seen flying showing the difference in size of these two species. A Balearic Shearwater was seen resting on the sea.

Balearic SW Peter Howlett 03
Balaeric Shearwater (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

One of the highlights of the trip was sailing passed Ortac with its impressive Gannet colony. A Gannet managed to fly beside the bridge with us for more than ten minutes, amazing as we were travelling at 33 knots.

No more Cetaceans were seen and I concluded the survey as we approached Poole Harbour. Thanking the Captain as he manoeuvred through the many yachts in the harbour entrance I left the bridge to await instructions for embarkation.