MARINElife Survey Report: Condor Ferries ‘Commodore Goodwill’ Jersey-Portsmouth 15–16 January 2019

Stephen Hedley and Mike Leonard, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: Wind SW Force 5-6, Sea State 4-5, visibility - moderate

Summary of sightings

Seabirds
Guillemot Uria aalge 21
Gannet  Morus bassanus 12
Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 5
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 3
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 3
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla 19
Gull sp. 20

Our overnight crossing to Jersey via Guernsey was smooth with a short turnaround in Jersey where we had time for a nice breakfast in St. Helier before boarding for the journey to Portsmouth. We were permitted on the bridge shortly after leaving.

Kittiwake Rob-Petley-Jones 05
Kittiwake (Library photo: Rob Petley-Jones)

Departure had been very prompt, and we began the survey at sea just south of the island. Our first sighting was a group of 20 gulls following a fishing vessel off to starboard; whilst trying to identify the gulls a Red Throated Diver flew low over the water (alas outside the survey area). After a few more minutes we spotted two Great Black-backed Gull. Subsequent to these, three Fulmar were seen. These sightings were followed by a Kittiwake and Herring Gull. The first Gannet was spotted between Sark and Jersey around 40 minutes into the survey, and the first Guillemot very soon afterwards.

The sea conditions were however not conducive for spotting cetaceans and the only birds seen were on the wing. In fact, we did not sight our first birds on the water until much later in the day when conditions calmed, and the sea protected by the Isle of Wight.

Guillemot Peter Howlett 03
Guillemot (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Throughout the survey occasional Gannet, Kittiwake and Guillemot were observed. Our hopes were raised slightly when a member of the bridge crew advised that the day before he had seen a pod of 10 Common Dolphins when the ship was in the Alderney Race. Unfortunately, we did not witness a repeat performance.

Our thanks go to Captain Wojciech Pielich and crew of the Commodore Goodwill who made this a very enjoyable crossing.