MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 01 October 2018

Christine Arnold, MARINElife Wildlife Officer (WLO)
Weather: Cloud and sun, sea state 2-3

Summary of Sightings
Marine Mammals:

Bottlenose Dolphin (possible)

Seabirds: 
Cormorant
Shag
Gannet
Herring Gull
Black-headed Gull

Terrestrial Birds
Pied Wagtail
Feral Pigeon
House Sparrow
Oystercatcher
Avocet
Little Egret
Grey Heron
Carrion Crow

It was a lovely autumnal day as I boarded Liberation. I was joined on deck by many passengers and we watched Barfleur leave for Cherbourg.

As we passed Brownsea we were able to view many Avocet on the lagoon along with Oystercatcher and Cormorant and some Little Egret.

The tide was very low, this meant that we were able to view stony island. There were about 10 Carrion Crow and some Herring Gull.  I chatted to passengers, many of whom were on a coach holiday travelling to Jersey for 5 days.  They were keen to obtain more information about the crossing and the anticipated wildlife and surrounding Purbeck area. There was a European Shag sitting on the buoy drying its wings.

The ship gained speed after we had passed Studland bay area. After a while when we were right in the Channel I thought I heard a Pied Wagtail calling overhead although didn't see it.

Gannet JoJo Southgate 01

Gannet (JoJo Southgate)

Later on, the first Gannet started to fly past. I was able to hand out leaflets and tell passengers including some young families about the wildlife in the English Channel.

Just before the Gannet colony at les Etacs many people re-joined us on deck for the marvellous spectacle.

Several aeroplanes flew overheard and some people commented on the brilliant view of vapour trails that were all in the sky at once. The moon was also seen from the ship above us, obviously not illuminated but still visible.

After disembarking on Guernsey I decided to explore Candie gardens. This was extremely beautiful and I was told that flowers are planted so that it remains in flower all year round. There were two pretty little, French style ponds with goldfish in and it was all very well kept.

I even found a large statue of Victor Hugo and there was art in the gardens. The views over the Channel from here were quite spectacular.  The garden was on a slight incline so as the gardens went down the slope you could see some of the other islands in the distance. I would thoroughly recommend it.

Victor Hugo_Christine Arnold

Victor Hugo Statue (Christine Arnold)

I watched the boats moving around in the harbour, especially Travel trident and then watched Huelin Dispatch unload its cargo.

I bought a stuffed Guernsey cow toy as a souvenir. I re-boarded Condor Liberation and spoke with some very happy passengers about their holidays including the man who lives near the New Forest who was very excited to tell me that during his holiday in Jersey he had purchased an old vintage Austin and was having to make arrangements to have it transported back in a big container on a ship.  We had excellent view of Herm, Sark, Jettou, Berhuoi islands.

I thought I saw a very distant Bottlenose Dolphin jump out of the water and a splash but no one else saw it so I couldn't be sure.

We saw Ortac rock Gannet colony and they were flying round the top again and perched on it. After a while passengers came out to take photos of the glorious sunset which sent the sky gold, yellow, brown, pink and purple - it was incredible.

Soon after darkness descended, we saw Durlston light house working and all the other pretty twinkly lights over Purbeck.

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

MARINElife WLO; Christine Arnold