MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 19 July 2018

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Julie Hatcher

Weather: Fair with light winds and calm sea conditions throughout the day.

Summary of sightings:

Cetaceans:
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 5
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2

Seabirds:
Manx Shearwater
Gannet
Cormorant
Oystercatcher
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Black-headed Gull
Common Tern
Sandwich Tern

The outer deck was busy with people enjoying the morning sunshine as we sailed through Poole harbour aboard the Condor Liberation. Common and Sandwich Terns were busy flying in and out of the harbour and diving for fish as we passed Brownsea Island and the harbour entrance. The sea was flat calm, the winds light and the sun was shining and as we left Old Harry Rocks behind we started to spot a few solitary Gannets.

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Bottlenose Dolphin (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Sea conditions were smooth for the crossing and a good number of people stayed on the outer deck enjoying the fine weather. Lots of people were interested to learn the variety of animals we might see from the ship and we watched a steady stream of Gannets and a few Manx Shearwater fly past as we crossed the Channel. As we neared the Channel Islands we saw several fishing boats, one with a flock of around 50 Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls following it.

After a lovely afternoon in St Peter Port we boarded the ferry for the return crossing. Again the outer deck was packed with people and as we picked up speed and passed the island of Herm we were delighted to spot five Bottlenose Dolphins just off the starboard side.

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Ortac Gannet colony (Library photo: Rick Morris)

We were treated to a spectacular sight as we passed the Gannet colony near Alderney with large numbers of birds both in the air and on the water. Several birds, including some juveniles with their darker plumage, flew close alongside the ship giving us good views. The sea grew calmer and glassy as we headed north and as the Dorset coast came into view we spotted a couple of Harbour Porpoise as they surfaced several times behind us.

Thanks to Condor Ferries and the crew of the Condor Liberation for their interest, support and assistance.