MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Jersey 24 February 2018

Steve Boswell and Sarah Hodgson, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: NE wind gusting up to 30 knots on the return leg. Full sun in Poole and the Channel Islands with cloud cover in mid-Channel. Excellent visibility throughout.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 11

Brent Goose Branta bernicla 1
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 1
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 18
Gannet Morus bassanus 54
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 14
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 9
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 194
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus 7
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 42
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 10
Guillemot Uria aalge 20
Auk sp.  4

We boarded the Condor Liberation and after reporting to reception waited on deck until we passed through the harbour entrance. Sarah explained to me the work she did in the summer as a Wildlife Officer on this route.

BND Peter Howlett 04
Bottlenose Dolphin (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Captain Ainscow soon called us up to the bridge and after introducing ourselves to the crew we began our survey. We encountered the usual seabirds expected at this time of year with a Red- throated Diver being the highlight. As we approached Guernsey a large group of gulls were sat on the sea in the bright sunshine. A lone Brent Goose flew close by. We were then asked to move to the port side of the bridge as we were about to manoeuvre into harbour. As we arrived with our survey forms we saw a group of Bottlenose Dolphin which took an interest in us, a few even following us into the harbour.

On the journey between Guernsey and Jersey we saw a group of 13 Fulmar wheeling in the increasing North-easterly wind. A feeding party of 8 Shag were also seen. All Gannets seen were adults.

Shag Adrian Shephard 01a
Shag (Library photo: Adrian Shephard)

As we sailed passed Ortac Captain Ainscow requested that we leave the bridge and remain seated downstairs as the wind increased further as we entered the open Channel. We thanked the crew and positioned ourselves in the lounge area.