MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Commodore Goodwill’ Portsmouth-Jersey 8 March 2017

Carol Farmer-Wright and Emma Bell, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Wind SW to WSW force 5-6. Visibility poor to moderate. Cloudy with rain or fog. Sea state 5-6 decreasing to 3 as we gained shelter from the Isle of Wight

Gannet  Morus bassanus 36          
Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo 3            
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 2            
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus 4            
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla 5            
Guillemot  Uria aalge 3            
Larus sp.              1            
Auk sp   4            

Terrestrial Birds
Passerine sp.       5

Emma and I met at Portsmouth Continental Ferry Terminal on Tuesday evening and were taken to the office to obtain our tickets and driven aboard the Commodore Goodwill. After eating a substantial dinner we chatted with the other passengers on board before heading to our cabins for the outward overnight crossing. This survey was to be slightly different as we headed straight for Jersey and went to Guernsey on the return leg as dawn broke.

LBB Gull Peter Howlett 08

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Peter Howlett)

We headed to the bridge as soon as we left St. Peter Port. It was raining and visibility was poor as we headed out into the English Channel. At first we sighted Cormorant and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Bird sightings owing to reduced visibility were slow. Within an hour we were recording Gannet and Kittiwake as we travelled north. The majority of Gannet were adult birds and had moulted into summer plumage, their golden crown indicating that breeding would soon be taking place.

A solitary two year old Gannet was the only sub adult to be recorded on the survey. A few auk were seen, the visibility reducing our chance of positively recording the species involved. A brief glimpse of five small birds heading north suggested that spring was on its way, the flat light again stopped full identification being ascertained.

Gannet Carol Farmer-Wright 07

Gannet (Carol Farmer-Wright)

We concluded our survey as we approached the Bembridge ledges and thanked Captain Rad Zelazny, his officers and crew for their hospitality before heading ashore.

Carol Farmer-Wright and Emma Bell, Research Surveyors for MARINElife