MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Commodore Goodwill’ Portsmouth-Jersey 7 February 2018

Steve Boswell, Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Weather: Bright sunshine with a strong northerly wind throughout reaching over 30 knots at times

Marine Mammals
Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncates) 4

Gannet (Morus bassanus) 99
Fulmar (Fulmaris glacialis) 4
Razorbill (Alca torda) 31
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 1
Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer) 1
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 4
Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) 2
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 6
Guillemot (Uria aalge) 60
Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) 51
Auk sp. 26
Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) 1
Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) 2

I was met at the Portsmouth Ferry Port and escorted on board the Commodore Goodwill where I was allocated my cabin for the overnight sail and after dropping off my bags it was time for a hearty evening meal! At this time of year surveying is only possible on the return section of the route and so after dinner it was time to catch some sleep, ready for an early rise the following day.

After a large breakfast, I went out on deck to check the birds in the harbour before departure.  It was quite a turnout, including 68 Brent Geese, Dunlin, Curlew, Turnstone, Oystercatcher, and Great Crested Grebe as well as the usual gulls.

I made my way to the bridge to commence recording at 9am and as soon as we made progress out of the harbour, I spotted a Great Northern Diver.  Just over an hour into the survey I spotted a group of 15 Gannet feeding up ahead but failed to see any cetaceans.  Five minutes later another group of Gannet appeared, and this time 4 Bottlenose Dolphin were sighted.

BND Adrian Shephard 04

Bottlenose Dolphin (Adrian Shephard)

A good number of Kittiwake, Gannet, Razorbill and Guillemot kept me busy until the Isle of Wight came into view and sightings eased away but a close flyby of 2 Red-throated Diver was a good way to conclude the trip.


I thanked Captain Zelazny and left the bridge to await transport back to the Ferry Terminal.

RT Diver Mike Bamford 01

Red-throated Diver (Mike Bamford)

Steve Morgan; Researcher for MARINElife