MARINElife Survey Report: Condor Ferries ‘Commodore Goodwill’ Portsmouth-Jersey 12-13 February 2019

Steve Boswell, Research Surveyor for MARINElife  (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: Wind between Southeast and South average about 15 knots with occasional swell.

Summary of Species Recorded

Marine Mammals
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 5

Seabirds
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Common Gull Larus canus 10
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 5
Gannet Morus bassanus 74
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 5
Guillemot Uria aalge 45
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 14
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 52
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 2
Razorbill Alca torda 7
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 3
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 7
Auk sp. Alcidae 4

I arrived in Portsmouth early on a fine and sunny February afternoon for the overnight evening sail to Jersey. Before embarkation I walked to Southsea Castle to see the Purple Sandpiper which were very confiding on the high tide. Afterwards I made my way to Eastney and recorded 91 Sanderling, 4 of which were ringed, and a Black Redstart was seen distantly on Fort Cumberland.

There was still time to enjoy a coffee sat outside on the sea front and I watched as the Commodore Goodwill sailed into view heading to its berth. I decided to head towards the ferry port and, after checking in, was immediately collected and taken onboard. This was my tenth survey on this route and as ever I was greeted warmly by Captain Pielich and his crew. The overnight sailing to Jersey was smooth and in the morning after a cooked breakfast I was on the bridge by 08.00 ready to start surveying.

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Bottlenose Dolphin (Library photo: Adrian Shephard)

After one hour from departure a group of distant feeding Gannet built my hopes up for cetaceans and then suddenly I had very close views of Bottlenose Dolphin coming in to bow ride, they could have easily been missed! Checking my February survey from last year the dolphin sighting were in almost exactly the same location.

I spotted groups of adult Kittiwake sat on the sea and had a good close view of a tight group of 3 Red-throated Diver. Bird sightings continued steadily until I concluded the survey having rounded Culver Cliffs on the Isle of Wight. As we entered Portsmouth Harbour a group of over 300 gulls were noted of which good numbers were Common Gull.

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Kittiwake (Library photo: Rob Petley-Jones)

Passing the Spinnaker tower, I thanked the Captain and prepared myself for the journey home.