MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 14 September 2017

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Terry Bridgwood

Weather: South: Cloudy, NW 5-6, sea state 2-6 with 2m swell at times.
North: Cloudy with occasional showers, NW 4-5, sea state 5 with 1m swell.

Summary of sightings:

Cetaceans:
Harbour Porpoise 2
Bottlenose Dolphin  7

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

Terrestrial birds:
Wood Pigeon
Swallow
Carrion Crow

I really looked forward to this training trip with Glynis and Rick. It was my first hands-on training with experienced officers. This was also Donna's first trip as a Wildlife Officer and our first together.

With the traffic light we had an uneventful journey to Poole to catch the Condor Liberation. Having parked we went into disembarkation to meet up with Glynis and Rick.  We all boarded together, collected our tabards  and took our seats. After the obligatory cheese and bacon baguettes we headed out on deck. The sun was shining and there was plenty of blue sky although it was a little bit lively.

Cruising out of Poole harbour we saw some Cormorant, Shag and Herring Gull. Further out to sea some Fulmar and Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls graced us with their presence. As we passed by Ortac rock we saw a plethora of Gannets still around the colony.

About half a mile from Guernsey we saw seven Bottlenose Dolphin and also a couple of Harbour Porpoise. Then just outside St Peter Port we were treated to an aerial display from the Guernsey Air show, the Liberation even pausing outside the harbour for a short while so we could watch it.

Stone dolphins Terry Bridgwood
Stone dolphins at the Terrace Cafe - the only dolphin photo I could manage today (Terry Bridgwood)

We docked and disembarked then, heading into the town, we window shopped for a while before deciding a much deserved cup of tea was in order. The Terrace Garden Cafe was ahead of us so we went there. Sitting in the sun and enjoying our cuppas we took in the view. After our repast we strolled down Castle pier and past Castle Cornet (no ice cream though) to the end of the pier and the lighthouse. All too soon it was time to head back to the terminal and board the ferry home.

The homeward crossing was less lively although the sun didn't stay with us for long. As we passed Ortac Rock the rain started and we dived indoors for shelter. However, it did present us with some amazing cloud formations and a beautiful sunset after it passed. We even witnessed a tornado forming but sadly it didn't materialise into a water spout.

Channel sunset Terry Bridgwood 01
Sunset after the rain (Terry Bridgwood)

Our day trip came to an end, we said our farewells to Glynis and Rick and started the hour long journey home.

A thoroughly enjoyable day.