MARINElife Survey Report: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Jersey 7 July 2018

Steve Boswell and Darren Hughes, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: Wind N-NE 1-3 throughout the survey.

Summary of sightings:

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 11

Seabirds
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 14
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus 21
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 3
Gannet Morus bassanus 227
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 14
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 10
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 215
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 20
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 3
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 20
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 1
Puffin Fratercula arctica 1
Guillemot Uria aalge 19
Razorbill Alca torda 1
Auk sp. Alcidae 1

After boarding the Condor Liberation we introduced ourselves to the staff at the information desk who swiftly escorted us onto the bridge. We could enjoy the sail past Brownsea Island before starting our survey as we exited Poole Harbour.

A couple of Manx Shearwater was a good early sighting along with the usual Gannet and gulls. Our first Harbour Porpoise was seen after two hours. As we approached Guernsey we were asked to leave the bridge due to the many craft in the area plus tenders toing and froing from a large cruise ship anchored in the bay. Bottlenose Dolphin had been seen by the crew earlier in the week but this morning with all the traffic none were sighted.

Balearic Shearwater Tom Brereton 06a
Balearic Shearwater (Library photo: Tom Brereton)

Beautiful calm conditions continued as we departed for Jersey. Then in a ten minute period we had wonderful views of a total of 21 Balearic Shearwater, quite a few resting on the sea.

After a quick turnaround we were on our return, no more Balearic Shearwater but 12 more Manx Shearwater and a Puffin. The Gannetry of Ortac was an incredible sight in the sunshine with the colony on Les Etacs in the background being equally stunning. Then a loud roar from the crew mess told us England had scored against Sweden!

Ortac Christine Arnold 2015 05
Ortac Gannet colony with Les Etacs in the background (Library photo: Christine Arnold)

The calm seas enabled us to record 10 more Harbour Porpoise in four groups before we approached Poole Harbour.

As the pilot boarded we thanked Captain Dowds and made our way from the bridge to await our arrival on time in Poole.