Sightings Archives: December 2014

MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries (Commodore Goodwill)

Posted 21 December 2014

Nick Adams and Jessica Mead, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather: NW 2-3, mostly cloudy but dry, affording good viewing.

Species Sighted

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 3

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1
Gannet Morus bassanus 22
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 1
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 7
Common Gull Larus canus 2
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 13
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 8
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 26
Guillemot Uria aalge 8
Auk sp 1

Terrestrial Birds (In Jersey Harbour)
Brent goose Branta bernicla 85
Dunlin Calidris alpina 125
Knot Calidris canutus 20
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 200
Rock pipit Anthus petrosus 2
Pied wagtail Motacilla alba 1
Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 1
Curlew Numenius arquata 5
Turnstone Arenaria interpres 3

We were rapidly escorted aboard by the friendly Condor Ferries staff who had also phoned us before boarding to check that we knew what time the evening meal was: what fantastic service! We left Portsmouth and, after our meal, headed to our cabins for the outward crossing overnight.

We arrived in Jersey just before sunrise which gave us the opportunity to check the harbour for waders. We were in luck as the tide was rising fast which meant the birds were heading to their high tide roost sites. We saw Dunlin, Knot, Turnstone and Curlew.

Cormorant Nick Adams

Cormorant (Photo: Nick Adams)

We headed to the bridge as the ship prepared to leave the harbour and were immediately greeted by Shag in the harbour entrance as well as a number of Herring and Great Black-backed Gull. We had our only cetacean sighting soon after of a group of three Harbour Porpoise.

Herring Gull Nick Adams

Herring Gull (Photo: Nick Adams)

Bird sightings continued at a steady pace for the rest of the crossing to Portsmouth with an immature Arctic Skua chasing a Kittiwake being the highlight. We saw a couple of snowy-white adult winter Mediterranean Gull and decent numbers of Kittiwake and Gannet.

We concluded our survey as we approach the Isle of Wight. We would like to thank the captain and his crew and staff for their hospitality and help during our survey.

Nick Adams and Jessica Mead, Research Surveyors for MARINElife