MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Commodore Clipper’ Portsmouth-Jersey 4 July 2018

Steve Boswell, Mike Mackay, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Almost full cloud cover until the Solent was reached, wind slight varying between south west and south east

Marine Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 4

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 2
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 2
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 5
Gannet Morus bassanus 152
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Guillemot Uria aalge 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 29
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 20
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 12
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 9
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 8

Terrestrial Birds
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1

We arrived at Portsmouth Ferry Port in good time to be escorted on board the Commodore Clipper where after making ourselves know at the information desk, Captain Roger Thomson took us up to the bridge and introduced us to the layout. We then had an evening meal in the crew mess before going back onto the bridge to watch the sunset over the Isle of Wight. We had time to nervously watch England's penalty shootout before retiring ready for an early start.

A sunrise just after 05.00 enabled us to survey from 05.15 in dull and cloudy conditions. Captain Thomson informed us that they had seen dolphins as we departed from Guernsey earlier in the morning. The first bird seen was a Manx Shearwater, followed later by a mixture of gulls and Gannet.

Manx Shearwater Rob Petley Jones 02

Manx Shearwater (Rob Petley-Jones)

On arrival in Jersey we had breakfast before returning to the bridge to continue our survey. As we approached the waters between Alderney and the Cherbourg peninsular, we spotted an adult Guillemot escorting an unfledged youngster, hopefully the first of many. Mike then saw movement ahead which turned out to be four Harbour Porpoise moving slowly together in a tight formation, great close views were had!

Harbour Porpoise Adrian Shephard 09

Harbour Porpoise (Adrian Shephard)

We then moved into the quiet area from mid-Channel before seeing a few Mediterranean Gull as we approached the Portsmouth shipping Channel where we ended our survey.

We thanked Captain Thomson and headed below to be driven off the ship and make our way home in hot sunny conditions.

Steve Boswell, Mike Mackay, Research Surveyors for MARINElife