MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 1 May 2019

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Christine Arnold

Weather: Sunny spells and rain, wind 3 to 4, visibility good to moderate.

Summary of sightings:

Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern

Terrestrial birds:
Black-tailed Godwit
Song Thrush
Pied Wagtail
Rock Pipit
House Sparrow
Little Egret

The Barfleur departed a few minutes before us. I was joined on deck by many of the passengers who were on a 'National Holidays' coach holiday and were off to spend the day in Guernsey along with the other passengers. Several passengers were interested so I was able to hand out leaflets and talk about cetaceans and seabirds.

On passing Brownsea lagoon it was absolutely alive with Sandwich Terns and Black-headed Gulls setting up nesting sites and flying around looking for food. Also present were Little Egret, Shelduck and Black-tailed Godwit.

A while after passing Old Harry rocks I spotted two Puffins flying quickly in the direction of Dancing Ledge in Purbeck along with the first three Gannet still with a lot of their juvenile plumage. I later heard a Pied Wagtail fly over, calling. As we ventured into the main shipping channel we could see Barfleur was now well under way heading in the direction of France and we saw several big freight carriers. Ortac rock was buzzing with activity yet again and this area of water was particularly atmospheric with the jagged rocks surrounding the area of Alderney.

MSC Preziosa Clive Arnold
MSC Preziosa (Clive Arnold)

Anchored outside St Peter Port was the large cruise ship 'MSC Preziosa' and its passengers were continually being ferried back and forth between the ship and Guernsey. In St Peter Port it was interesting to see the old 'Bournemouth Belle' boat moored - now with the name of 'Sark Belle'.

On Guernsey it was raining but we went for a walk along the harbourside and south to the Valette swimming pools. On the way we saw some beautiful flowers, Herring Gull, Rock Pipit and a singing Song Thrush - the coast here would be a good place for rock pooling as there are lots to explore. For the first time ever I went in the aquarium, it had unique exhibits and was interesting with a good selection of creatures, many of which could be found in British waters.

Chelsea pensioners Clive Arnold
Chelsea Pensioners (Clive Arnold)

Whilst waiting for Condor to return about 15 Chelsea pensioners appeared looking very smart in their full uniform. They were happy to show us their medals and were friendly and chatty. It was interesting to learn about them.

After Ortac rock I made the most of the lovely food from Les Casquettes bistro on board. It was a beautiful evening coming back into Poole with Sandwich Terns diving into the water to find sand eels.

Thank you to the crew and captain for their kindness and help throughout the voyage.