MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 12 April 2019

MARINElife WLO Christine Roberts

Weather: Sunny with occasional cloud, wind easterly force 4, gusting 5 on the return

Summary of sightings:

Great Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Brent Geese
Sandwich Tern
Black-headed Gull
Herring Gull

Boarding pass swiftly collected and a quick bus transit to the ship and we were soon on our way to the Channel Islands. We enjoyed a beautiful sunny start to the day. Although the easterly wind was quite chilly it was good to see lots of people up on the top viewing deck enjoying the stunning views of Poole Harbour as we departed. Passing Brownsea lagoon we saw increasing bird numbers and enjoyed seeing some diving terns plus Shag, Cormorant, Herring Gull and Black-headed Gull all on the wing.

Sandwich Tern Peter Howlett 05
Sandwich Tern (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Picking up speed as we left the harbour, we enjoyed the glorious vista of the Jurassic coast. Sadly, we weren't lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the pod of 40 dolphins seen the previous week. However, before long we were seeing increasing numbers of Gannets. As we came closer to Ortac Rock we could see Gannets sitting on the water, flying close to the ship and a mass swirling around the top of the rock - wonderful sight.  As we approached Guernsey, a local fishing boat was proving very popular with the local Herring Gull population.

Disembarking in Guernsey, I took advantage of the free time to walk along the small beaches close by, then walked up to Clarence Battery which offers great views of the islands. A Kestrel was hovering close by and the sound of birdsong was wonderful. Following a quick coffee in a café overlooking the harbour, it was soon time to board the ship.

Kestrel Peter Howlett 01
Kestrel (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

The wind was keener for our return journey which limited the wildlife spotting opportunities, but it was lovely talking to fellow passengers about their wildlife experiences and seeing their passion for nature. A beautiful sunset accompanied our return to Poole harbour and I was soon on my way home.

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