MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Commodore Goodwill’ Jersey-Portsmouth 5 July 2017

Steve Boswell and Keith Morgan, Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Weather: Good visibility and calm seas throughout the survey

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 9
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus 7
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 3
Gannet Morus bassanus 273
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 4
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 4
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 11
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 20
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 9
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 5
Common Scoter Malanitta nigra 18
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocehalus 2
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 2

We were met at Portsmouth Ferry Port and were escorted on board the Commodore Goodwill where we were allocated our cabins and given a large evening meal before retiring.

Up early the following morning it was possible to survey for one hour before reaching Jersey. Entering the bridge we were rewarded with a beautiful red sunrise and calm seas. A flock of 18 Common Scoter and a Manx Shearwater was seen amongst the usual sightings.

Common Scoter Rick Morris 01

Common Scoter (Rick Morris)

After breakfast we went on deck to view the harbour area before departure. 30 Swift flew around the castle and around 100 Oystercatcher were on the beach along with 2 Curlew and 2 Little Egret. 2 Mediterranean Gull were seen in the flock of other gulls and at least 30 Common Tern were feeding close by.

We made our way back up to the bridge for the 8.00 am return to Portsmouth. We soon began to see good numbers of Gannet which included an impressive sight of 60 flying low in V formation returning from a fishing trip.

Three hours out from Jersey we sighted a group of Shearwaters sat on the water directly ahead of the ship. As we approached they took off and flew with us for a few minutes. Fantastic views of 7 Balearic Shearwater with 1 Manx Shearwater with them giving a great opportunity to see the difference between the two species.

Balearic sw Joe Cockram

Balearic Shearwater (Joe Cockram)

2 Harbour Porpoise gave good close views as they slowly raised their bodies above the water and then slowly dived. Later, 2 Mediterranean Gull were sighted as we concluded our survey on our approach to Portsmouth and thanked Captain Zelazny and his crew before heading ashore at 16.30.

Steve Boswell and Keith Morgan, Research Surveyors for MARINElife