MARINElife Wildlife officer report Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 24 July 2018

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Christine Arnold

Weather: Sunny in Guernsey and throughout whole trip, wind ENE force 2, sea state 1 outward and 2 return.

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds:
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern
Shag
Cormorant
Gannet
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Black-headed Gull

Terrestrial birds:
Grey Heron
Wood Pigeon
Blackbird
Feral Pigeon
House Sparrow

It was a sunny morning in Poole and when I boarded to collect my MARINElife vest at the information point I was told that every seat was full for the outbound journey. This included 5 coaches . This time the holiday makers were from Lancashire and were very excited for their journey and people were asking lots of questions about the wildlife. I had many interesting conversations with people both on day trips and going on holiday, one family had come all the way from New Zealand. The Condor staff were also keen to report their wildlife sightings. I believe that lots of people were specifically on the Guernsey day trip this time.

Gannet Peter Howlett 33
Gannet (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

We left promptly and it was lovely to see so many people out on deck. It was really warm and the sun shone throughout the crossing giving great views. As usual the Gannets performed well, sometimes gliding alongside the Liberation. The white of their wings gave a fantastic contrast to the blue sky behind. People were very interested to hear about these awe inspiring beauties.

On approaching Guernsey there were 2 cruise ships anchored outside the harbour entrance, Aegean Odyssey and Europa 2. In the surrounding area were many Great Black-backed Gull which were taking advantage of the nearby fishing vessels.

Aegean Oyssey Christine Arnold
Aegean Odyssey (Christine Arnold)

I couldn't believe the intensity of the heat as we disembarked in St Peter Port and there were loads of insects taking the pollen and nectar from the myriad of beautiful coloured flowers that had been planted all along the harbour walls.

Whilst on Guernsey I caught the bus around the island where the views of the landscapes were quite phenomenal. I had an excellent view of a Buzzard soaring over the bus and it was lovely to see the Swifts catching insects over the fields where the wild flowers had grown tall with the fine weather. The fine weather had also brought out the people and the beaches were packed with people cooling down in the sea. One ubiquitous sight as we travelled around the island was all the Herring Gull perched on the roofs and chimney pots of the houses.

On the return journey we were bathed in glorious sunshine throughout and had amazing views of the Gannet colony at Ortac. Also this time we could see Gannets had also congregated on the smaller rocks nearby.

Many small boats were out making the most of the beautiful weather and the jet skiers were playing in Liberation's wash. The multitude of small yachts with their multicoloured sails made Poole harbour look particularly colourful in the sunshine.

Poole Harbour yachts Christine Arnold
Yachts in Poole harbour (Christine Arnold)

Thanks to Condor Ferries and the crew of the Condor Liberation for their welcome and assistance during the crossing.