MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 27 September 2017

Christine Arnold; MARINElife Wildlife Officer (WLO)

Summary of sightings:
Bottlenose dolphin 1
Unidentified Dolphin Spp. 2

Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Black-headed Gull

Terrestrial birds:
Rock pipit
Black-tailed godwit

I boarded Condor Liberation and collected the vest and leaflets then went out on deck where I was met by those people who were booked on the MARINElife day and were excited about what they were hoping to see.

I chatted away to them telling them about the local area and the Brownsea lagoon which hosted 7 Spoonbill, many Black-tailed Godwit, Cormorant and Avocet. Suddenly all the birds flew up and circled round probably put up by the Peregrine Falcon which often sits on the sea wall.

Passengers were keen to find out more about Brownsea and the area as well as MARINElife, so I handed out some leaflets. As we left the harbour, we saw several Great Black-backed Gull, Cormorant, Shag and Herring gull.

Herring Gull Graham Ekins 08

Herring Gull - Adult and Juvenile (Graham Ekins)

We passed Portland Bill in the distance and then as we made our way across the Channel we saw many Hirundine species (Martin and Swallow). They looked like Swallow and I was surprised at how many there were, they were flying just above the level of the boat.

After passing Alderney, we saw the Ortac rock with many hundreds of Gannet on, they were circling round the top. During the crossing people often asked what the big dark grey coloured birds were, this caused slight confusion because most people could not work out what they were. I informed them that they were in fact juvenile Gannet which are darker in colour.

On reaching Guernsey, we were just making the turn when people reported seeing 2 separate groups of dolphins, a group of 2 and a single one playing near the smaller boats and in the open water.

Guernsey Harbour_Christine Arnold

Harbour Views (Christine Arnold)

Had a walk round Guernsey seeing Turnstone, Oystercatcher, Rock Pipit and 2 Red Admiral butterflies.

After re-boarding and as the Condor Liberation made the turn out of Guernsey we were delighted to see 2 dolphins jumping out of the water in the distance, too far away to see which species they were, but a closer Bottlenose Dolphin leapt vertically out of the water on several occasions - it was absolutely magical!

BND Adrian Shephard 03

Bottlenose Dolphin (Adrian Shephard)

On the crossing back, we saw several freight vessels which were enormous travelling across the channel. As it got dark I went inside and chatted to the passengers and handed out more leaflets. It is always lovely to hear stories of other people's wildlife sightings, holidays and day trip experiences.

Another successful trip. Thanks to Condor Ferries and the crew of the Condor Liberation for the support and assistance.

Castle Cornet Lighthouse_C Arnold

Castle Cornet Lighthouse (Christine Arnold)

Christine Arnold; MARINElife Wildlife Officer (WLO)