MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries (Commodore Goodwill) Portsmouth-Jersey (19th – 20th July 2016)

Julie Hatcher and Jo Collins, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

Weather: Wind W, sea state 4 decreasing to 3, visibility poor to begin with but clear later.

Species Recorded

Seabirds
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 14
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 7
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 130
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 9
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 18
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 4
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 4
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 2
Gull sp. 6

Terrestrial birds
Swift Apus apus 3

Off-survey sightings in St Helier
Brent Goose Branta bernicla 114
Curlew Numenius arquata 29
Great Northern Diver Gavia immer 1
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 1
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 1
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 230
Turnstone Arenaria interpres 34

We were rapidly checked in at Portsmouth International Ferry Terminal and immediately escorted to the Commodore Goodwill by the friendly Condor Ferries staff. We were allocated our cabins and, once settled in, with insufficient time to survey on the outward journey, we watched some of the birdlife in the port whilst departing Portsmouth. We enjoyed our evening meal and then headed to our cabins for the overnight crossing.

Gannet Thomas Fisher 01

Gannet (Archieve Photo: Thomas Fisher)

The vessel arrived at Guernsey in the very early hours. It was a little too early to get up and head to the bridge!  The onward journey took us to Jersey for an arrival just before 06:00. We had a leisurely breakfast and headed to the bridge for the 08:00 departure.  There were many seabirds in the port with Oystercatcher, Swift, terns and gulls already busy looking for food.

After waiting for other vessel traffic to move we headed into the Channel for the return crossing. Once we had passed the islands and headed out to the shipping channel, bird sightings dropped although we did record many sightings of Gannet in groups flying in both directions; to and from their colony.

Manx Shearwater Peter Howlett 12

Manx Shearwater (Archieve Photo: Peter Howlett)

Surprisingly two juvenile gulls were recorded mid-channel. Later on we saw three Swift fly past heading south, which we thought seemed very early. We were happy to be able to record small groups of Fulmar and Manx Shearwater. After that we recorded individual birds rather than groups. As we passed the Isle of Wight, Julie spotted a Gannet on the water feeding on a fish.

Surprisingly two juvenile gulls were recorded mid-channel. Later on we saw three Swift fly past heading south, which we thought seemed very early. We were happy to be able to record small groups of Fulmar and Manx Shearwater. After that we recorded individual birds rather than groups. As we passed the Isle of Wight, Julie spotted a Gannet on the water feeding on a fish.

Herring Gull, Jo Collins

Herring Gull, Jo Collins

We were very surprised to see a lot of insect life including quite a few different butterflies and an occasional bee. Even a ladybird turned up but it could have been on the bridge before we set out to sea. This was a warm and very enjoyable trip with a lot of the surveying being done in the afternoon from the outdoor wing of the bridge.

We concluded our survey on arrival back in Portsmouth and thanked Captain Wojciech Pielich and his staff for their kind hospitality before heading ashore.

 

Julie Hatcher and Jo Collins, Research Surveyers for Marinelife