MARINElife Survey Report: Condor Ferries ‘Liberation’ Poole-Jersey 13 April 2019

Rick Morris, Terry Bridgwood and Donna Bridgwood, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)

Weather: Wind 4-5 E-ENE, sea state: 3-5, cloudy with sunny periods

Summary of sightings

Seabirds
Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet Morus bassanus 113
Great Skua Stercorarius skua 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 181
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 23
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 34
Razorbill  Alca torda 3
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 8
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3
Larus gull Sp. 5
Auk Sp. 1

Terrestrial birds seen at sea
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 2
Carrion Crow  Corvus corone 2

This was a three surveyor team today and we were also joined by Glynis Northwood-Long who came along to gather some photos for future training etc. We arrived at the terminal in good time and after a friendly and quick check-in, were onto the bus and aboard the ship.

Once on board, some time was spent up top looking out to Brownsea Island where there were a few different species of birds in low numbers and a few Sandwich Tern were seen flying. We enjoyed breakfast before heading up to the bridge where we were welcomed by Captain Giles Wade. After setting up on the starboard bridge wing, we commenced our survey just as we were exiting the 'red zone' near Old Harry Rocks. We logged our first effort entry at 09:55 and it was not long after at 10:06 that we recorded our first bird sighting, 2 Whimbrel heading off shore. Throughout the survey, seabird species and numbers remained low, not helped by the cold easterly winds!

Terry-Donna Bridgwood surveying
Terry and Donna Bridgwood surveying (Rick Morris)

Nearing Alderney, Ortac Rock could be seen at distance off the port side, now being circled by the many breeding Gannet that return to colonise this each year. As we approached Guernsey, many gulls were seen on the surface with some flying and actively feeding.

After a short turn-around in saint Peter Port we continued onward to Jersey and just outside of the port we took on the pilot to take us in. Once in St Helier, Jersey we enjoyed the fresh air up on deck before heading down for lunch. It was then back to the bridge ready for the return. We were hoping to catch sight of the resident Bottlenose Dolphin that often make an appearance just outside the port of St Helier, but alas, none was seen.

After another quick turn-around at Guernsey we were soon on our way back to Poole. The remainder of the crossing was much like that of the outbound section, fairly quiet with very little in the way of sightings, although we did have a better view of Ortac Rock and the Gannets as we passed by with it on our starboard side. We also had a close sighting of a Great Skua that came down the starboard side of us.

Ortac Rick Morris 2019-04
Ortac (Rick Morris)

As we entered into the red zone at the entrance to Poole Harbour, we concluded our survey and thanked Captain Giles Wade, the bridge crew and cabin crew for all their help and a special thanks to Condor Ferries for supporting MARINElife's work. Although it was a relatively quiet survey in quantity terms, we still managed 10 species of seabirds as well as 2 species of terrestrial birds.