MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Commodore Goodwill’ Portsmouth-Jersey 25 January 2017

Carol Farmer-Wright and Mallory Warrington; Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Sea state 2-3, Winds SSW to SW force 2.  Weather dry with visibility good to moderate

Marine Mammals
Common Dolphin  Delphinus delphis 6
Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena 1

Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis 4
Gannet  Morus bassanus 61
Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo 10
Common Gull  Larus canus 1
Mediterranean Gull  Larus melanocephalus 1
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus 1
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 10
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla 133
Guillemot  Uria aalge 164
Razorbill  Alca torda 4
Gull sp. 89

I met Mallory at Portsmouth International Ferry Terminal and we were taken to the Commodore Goodwill by the friendly Condor Ferries staff and had a lovely dinner as we left Portsmouth before heading to our cabin for the outward crossing overnight.

We woke as the ship was unloading at St. Helier and had a good breakfast before heading to the bridge to begin surveying.

The morning was clear and bright with light winds. As we headed west towards Corbiere lighthouse we recorded a few Great Black-backed Gull, Cormorant and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Many Cormorant rested on the rocks around the coast taking in the early morning sun.

As we headed north, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Gannet and Fulmar were the main species encountered. We passed Sark, 12 miles north of the Jersey coast, and encountered a large aggregation of gulls, Gannet, Kittiwake and Guillemot feeding over a large area. We looked for fins, but were unable to spot any.

Common Dolphin Adrian Shephard 03

Common Dolphin (Adrian Shephard)

It was an hour later that we saw our first cetacean, a solitary Harbour Porpoise five miles from the Cherbourg peninsular.  Our second and final cetacean sighting occurred half an hour later. A gentle disturbance on the water straight ahead drew our attention, this proved to be a small group of Common Dolphin, including one juvenile which on waking, gathered speed to come into the ship to bow ride.

Guillemot Carol Farmer-Wright 02

Guillemot (Carol Farmer-Wright)

Bird sightings of Guillemot, Gannet and Kittiwake remained fairly constant throughout the return survey.

We concluded our survey by the Nab Tower and thanked Captain Pielich, his officers and crew for their hospitality before heading ashore.

Carol Farmer-Wright and Mallory Warrington, Research Surveyors for MARINElife