Poole-Jersey survey 9 September
After boarding the very busy Condor Liberation we waited in the lounge until we were clear of the red zone when Captain Ed Stickley and his team welcomed us onto the bridge.
Conditions at sea were ideal with excellent visibility and calm seas as we began to survey.
Migrating Swallow were noted in good numbers flying across the Channel. One hour into the survey a large shark breached three times and soon after that excitement we saw a pod of 22 Common Dolphin feeding but showing no interest in the ship. Half an hour later small splashes proved to be another group of Common Dolphin.
We had wonderful views of Ortac and Les Etacs and wondered if the population had recovered from last years bird flu which saw a quarter of the population wiped out here.
The sea continued to be mirror calm and the temperature rose to over 30 degrees, but forward glare became a challenge as we started to record the first of many Balearic Shearwater.
On leaving Jersey we saw our only group of Bottlenose Dolphin putting on a good display and then bow riding as we sailed by. The sea was covered in Jelly fish for a while as bird sightings continued to keep us busy.
We saw two more groups of Common Dolphin on the return leg from Guernsey.
As we approached Old Harry Rocks, the captain alerted us to a spectacular sunset, a fitting end to a successful and enjoyable survey. After thanking the captain for his support and hospitality, we headed to the lounge area, which was busy with passengers, many returning from a day trip to Guernsey.
Margaret and Steve Boswell, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)
Weather: hot and sunny with light NE winds, excellent visibility
Summary of sightings:
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 6
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 61
Auk sp. 4
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus 337
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 41
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 116
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 6
Guillemot Uria aalge 25
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 80
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 22
Razorbill Alca torda 1
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis 15
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 4
Swallow Hirundo rustica 52