Poole-Jersey survey 17 June
Summary of sightings:
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 9
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 3
Gannet Morus bassanus 34
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 11
Guillemot Uria aalge 38
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 22
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 7
Puffin Fratercula arctica 1
Razorbill Alca torda 6
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 22
Larus sp. 9
Auk sp. 9
9 swifts during the break at Jersey
We were warmly welcomed by the crew of the Condor Liberation and soon set sail for Jersey. Once we had cleared Poole Harbour we were escorted to the bridge and introduced to Captain James Smith before taking our position and starting the survey.
Conditions were overcast but exceptionally calm as we left the Dorset coast behind, and a stream of Guillemots and Razorbills were recorded resting on the water. Apart from that it was a very quiet crossing and a little bit hazy but flat calm all the way across the Channel. As we approached the Channel Islands, we spotted a few Gannets and Shags and paused the survey while we stopped at St Peter Port.
Resuming our journey to Jersey we spotted more Guillemots and Razorbills in ones, twos and threes resting on the water, the dark birds were easily seen against the glassy smooth sea. As we approached St Helier, Jersey we picked up some fins in the water ahead and identified 3 Bottlenose Dolphins milling around, probably feeding, giving us plenty of time to get some clear views.
During our stop in St Helier, we left the bridge to have lunch in the sun on the large viewing platform at the rear of the ship where we were visited by a friendly Herring Gull looking for crumbs. We also watched a party of nine Swifts feeding in the skies around the harbour. Oystercatchers were also observed feeding young.
As we departed St Helier, we were keen to see if the Bottlenose Dolphins were still in the area and not long after setting sail we spotted several fins and came across a loose group of six, including a calf, which kept very close to its mother with the other adults keeping a slight distance but all heading at slow speed in the opposite direction to our ship. Again, we were lucky to get good views and be able to identify the species. A little further towards Guernsey we came across a single Puffin resting on the water.
After stopping off at Guernsey again we began the final leg of the voyage towards Poole. After passing Alderney and the Gannet colony at Ortac we headed towards the mid-Channel. As it was getting late in the day, we had to stop the survey due to poor light. Before leaving the bridge, we thanked Captain James Smith and his crew for their support and returned to the passenger area just in time to see a stunning red sunset over the still glassy smooth sea. A perfect end to an enjoyable survey.
Julie Hatcher and Chris Hilder, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)
Overcast but bright, wind E 0-2, hazy