MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Jersey 14 October 2017

Rick Morris and Glynis Northwood-Long; Research Surveyors from MARINElife
Wind: SSW-S 4 decreasing to 2. Sea state: 1-4 Cloudy with sunny periods

Summary of Sightings:

Seabirds

Gannet Morus bassanus 40
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus 3
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 8
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 2
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 12
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundas 10
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 2
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 6
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Larus gull Sp. 150
Wader Sp.1

We arrived at the terminal and proceeded directly to the boarding gate as we had e-boarding cards on the mobile phone, so it was a simple matter of getting them scanned, then onto the bus and board the ship.

We enjoyed a hearty breakfast before heading up to the bridge to commence our survey just as we were exiting the 'red zone' near Old Harry Rocks. This was Glynis' first survey since being made up to team leader and so I suggested she lead this one

We logged our first effort entry at 09:40 and it was not until 11:01 that we recorded our first seabird, a Gannet. Throughout the survey, seabird species and numbers remained low, with a few small groups of Gannet, some of which were juveniles.

Juv Gannet Rick Morris 15

Gannets (Rick Morris)

Nearing Alderney, Ortac Rock could be seen, now void of the many breeding Gannet that colonise this every year. As we approached Guernsey, many gulls were seen on the surface with some flying and actively feeding.

Once tied alongside in Saint Peter Port we went out on deck for some fresh air in the sunshine where Glynis made friends with a juvenile gull before commencing the onward leg to Jersey. Once in St Helier, Jersey we enjoyed lunch al fresco up on the viewing deck before heading back to the bridge ready for the return

Glynis & Herring Gull Rick Morris

Glynis & Herring Gull (Rick Morris)

We were hoping eagerly for a sight of the resident Bottlenose Dolphin that often make an appearance just outside the port of St Helier, but alas, none was seen. We did have a great sighting between Jersey and Guernsey of 3 Balearic Shearwater though, which Glynis first spotted just in front of the starboard beam.

Balearic Shear Tom Brereton 04

Balearic Shearwater (Tom Brereton)

After a quick turn-around at Guernsey, we were on our way to Poole, this time in fog for the first half an hour. The remainder of the crossing was much like that of the outbound section, with very little in the way of sightings, apart from a brief sighting of a Great Skua that appeared in front of us

As we entered into the Swash Channel in Poole Harbour, we concluded our survey and made our way to join the foot passengers waiting to get off.

We thank Captain Tim Coutts, the bridge crew and cabin crew for all the help and a special thanks to Condor Ferries for supporting MARINElife's work.

Rick Morris and Glynis Northwood-Long, Research Surveyors for MARINElife