Steve Boswell; Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884)
Weather: Wind SE 3-4, sea state 3-4, good visibility with a slight swell.
Summary of sightings:
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet Morus bassanus 55
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 3
Common Gull Larus canus 16
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 5
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 4
Great-Black backed Gull Larus marinus 3
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 73
Guillemot Uria aalge 23
Razorbill Alca torda 53
Auk sp. 35
Gull sp. 16
I was escorted aboard at 18.00 for the 19.30 departure to Jersey. I enjoyed a meal in the drivers café before retiring to my cabin.
Due to lack of daylight survey work can only be done on the homeward leg from Jersey. After a cooked breakfast I went on deck to see a large moon setting and the sun rising at the same time which was quite spectacular. It was high tide and there was quite a big wader roost on the rocks below Elizabeth Castle. This included 320 Oystercatchers, 45 Curlew, 63 Dunlin and a few Turnstone. Also 55 Dark-bellied Brent Geese flew in and landed in the harbour area and a Great Crested Grebe was an also seen.
Turnstone (Archive photo: Adrian Shephard)
On returning inside the ship I was welcomed by Captain Pielich who said it was ok for me to enter the bridge before departure so I was ready to begin the survey as soon as we left St Helier.
Good numbers of auks were seen with Razorbill outnumbering Guillemot. Kittiwake became numerous as we headed towards open sea. As we travelled north towards Alderney Gannet became a more regular sight, all adult birds.
Gannet (Archive photo: Adrian Shephard)
Although no cetaceans were seen, I did have one amazing experience. I picked up a Kittiwake sat on the sea beside some food, I was watching it through the binoculars as the ship aproached it when suddenly a large shark surfaced, grabbed the food and swiftly disappeared! Sadly the view was too brief to work out what sort of shark it was.
I concluded my survey on arrival back in Portsmouth and thanked the Captain and his staff for their hospitality before heading ashore.