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

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Amanda Jones

Weather:
Outward - dray and sunny, wind WNW 15mph, good visibility
Return - dry and sunny, wind WNW 10mph, good visibility

Summary of Sightings

Seabirds:
Fulmar
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Gannet
Cormorant
Sandwich Tern
Shag
Storm Petrel
Tern sp.
Wader sp.

Island Birds:
House Sparrow
Feral Pigeon

After check-in the staff kindly provided me with MARINElife leaflets and made me welcome as I headed off to board the Condor Liberation. The ferry was busy and I introduced myself to the crew at the Information desk and collected my high-vis vest.

On deck many passengers were viewing Poole Harbour and I talked to them about the wildlife, conservation, Brownsea Island and its lagoon and the beauty of our UK shores. People were keen to share their stories and I learned about their travels and how so many care about our environment. Many took particular interest in avoiding single use plastic, the anti-litter signs on the lower deck from Condor Ferries proving to be a hit. Some of the passengers I spoke to were concerned about climate change and were interested to learn about the work MARINElife does around the UK.

Celebrity Silhoutte Amanda Jones
Celebrity Silhoutte anchored off St Peter Port (Amanda Jones)

As we left a lone Great Black-backed Gull was perched on one of the buoys with Shags for company. The lagoon was bustling with waders, gulls, Cormorants and terns. Then a Sandwich Tern near to the boat made a spectacular dive to catch a fish.

Once out of the harbour the sea state was about 4 with some swell and we headed between westerly clear skies and a huge, thunderstorm to the east. As we continued funnel clouds could be seen in the storm cloud but our trip remained dry with sunny warmth.

As we arrived in Guernsey we passed the cruise liner Celebrity Silhouette anchored off St Peter Port. Once docked I took a walk round St Peter Port in the sunshine and then enjoyed a waffle near the harbour which a small bumblebee took a great deal of interest in. A few House Sparrows flew past and feral pigeons sunbathed in the memorial seating area. After chatting to a group of French tourists who were waiting for their guide on the blue bus, I headed back to the ferry.

In Poole, at sea and in Guernsey a few white butterflies could be seen and Herring Gulls were present in both harbours. The trip back saw many Manx Shearwaters, a close Fulmar stayed alongside us for some time and the Gannets at Ortac rock were busy circling and settling.

Poole harbour Amanda Jones 01
Poole harbour (Amanda Jones)

We were followed into Poole by the Britany ferry Barfleur having seen the Condor Clipper successfully manoeuvre into dock at Guernsey whilst we waited to board Liberation for our return trip. The slowly setting sun was beautiful on our way into Poole and there was a feeding frenzy in the water outside the lagoon with terns and gulls diving and circling over their dinner.

Thank you to the Captain and crew of the Liberation for being most welcoming and helpful.