MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries 'Commodore Goodwill' Portsmouth-Jersey 28th – 29th September 2016

Peter Jones, Research Surveyor for MARINElife

Weather: Overcast initially with a strong SW wind and a couple of showers. This later cleared for brighter conditions. Sea state remained at 4-5 throughout the day with a noticeable swell.

Species Recorded

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 6
Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus 2
Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus 6
Gannet Morus bassanus 53
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus Fuscus 1
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1
Common tern Sterna Hirundo 9
Guillemot Uria aalge 1
Razorbill Alca torda 2
Petrel Sp. 1

Terrestrial Birds
House Martin Delichon urbica 1
Swallow Hirundo rustica 51
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 3

I was rapidly escorted aboard by the friendly Condor Ferries staff and promptly left Portsmouth for the overnight outward crossing.

After a hearty breakfast whilst in dock in Jersey, I was invited to the bridge, and began the survey in very overcast conditions. I got off to a good start as a Manx Shearwater weaved past the ship for the first bird of the day. This was followed by a steady trickle of single Gannet, and a Sandwich Tern.

Sandwich Tern Rob Petley-Jones 03

Sandwich Tern (Archive photo: Rob Petley-Jones)

A probable Storm Petrel was just too far to confirm, but other birds were passing quite close: a small flock of Common Tern, and a couple of flocks of Swallow heading south, plus a Meadow Pipit.

Swallow Adrian Shephard

Swallow (Archive photo: Adrian Shephard)

Late morning, and 2 Sooty Shearwater were a highlight, and straight after lunch 4 tiny black dots on the sea eventually drifted close enough to identify as Storm Petrel as they took flight.

Sooty Shearwater Peter Howlett 03

Sooty Shearwater (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

More groups of Swallow flew south with a single House Martin amongst them. The only Guillemot of the day was seen on the sea south of the Isle of Wight, and this was soon followed by two Razorbill flying past. 

Finally on the approach to the Solent, a smart Adult Winter Mediterranean Gull took flight and circled in front of the ship, providing a nice end to the survey. 

After thanking the crew, I left the ship at Portsmouth

Peter Jones, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

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