MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: Condor Ferries ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Jersey/Guernsey 5 September 2019

MARINElife/Guernsey WLO Glynis Northwood-Long

Weather: Sunny with good visibility, sea state moderate, wind NW 5-6, 3-4 later.

Summary of sightings

Herring Gull
Black-headed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Tern (sp.)

Terrestrial birds:
Little Egret
Carrion Crow
Feral pigeon

This wildlife trip was different to the others I had been on with MARINElife because this time the Liberation's route from Poole was direct to Jersey. As I was accompanied by my brother and his wife, we hoped that the longer journey would provide more opportunities of seeing cetaceans especially the Bottlenose Dolphin often seen around St Helier.

Once on the Liberation we made our way up to the viewing deck. I introduced myself to other passengers taking advantage of such a glorious morning out on deck. As we sailed through Poole Harbour, there weren't that many birds on Brownsea Island lagoon although a line of noisy Oystercatcher did fly past.

Poole harbour and Old Harry rock Glynis Northwood_Long 2019
Across Brownsea lagoon toward Old Harry rock (Glynis Northwood-Long)

As we left the harbour sailing out into Poole Bay, the sun highlighted Old Harry Rocks. This gave the passengers a great photo opportunity. Although it was a perfect day for sightings, apart from a flock of tern and a few Gannets, further seabirds were scarce.

Once the Liberation was tied up alongside in St Helier, I spotted a Herring Gull cheekily approaching passengers on deck and wondered if, coincidentally, it was the same juvenile gull that I had encountered in the same place when I did my last Poole-Jersey survey.

After the short leg from Jersey to Guernsey, passengers were up on the viewing deck and I continued to chat with my fellow passengers. Several were interested in finding out more about MARINElife and will hopefully be joining one of our ID courses next month. Ortac rock, just west of Alderney, was still home to several hundred Gannet, not as many as in the height of the breeding season but still a spectacular sight. Many were circling the rock and a few were flying effortlessly just above the viewing deck. After Ortac we also had a good view of the Casquets rock and lighthouse against the sunlit sea.

Casquests rock Glynis Northwood_Long 2019
Casquets rock and lighthouse (Glynis Northwood-Long)

For the remainder of the journey, further sightings were scarce and no cetaceans were seen. However, we were treated to a spectacular sunset before darkness fell and we approached the mainland.

Thanks to Condor Ferries and Captain Stephen Crowe and the crew of the Condor Liberation for making me welcome on board and for their support to MARINElife.