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Portsmouth-Jersey survey 10 February

We arrived at Portsmouth Ferry Port in heavy rain and wind in good time to board the 09:00 sailing to Jersey. Boarding swiftly, we were immediately escorted up to the bridge and were introduced to Captain Alex Wroe.

Whilst preparing our recording sheets we watched a Common Seal swimming around two moored Royal Navy aircraft carriers. After a cup of coffee, we were soon underway in improved conditions, the rain stopped, the wind dropped and the weather out to sea looked bright and promising.

Common Gull (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

Common Gull followed us out of port in good numbers before 35 Brent Geese crossed the bow in v-formation. They fly in gaggles in larger groups, but smaller groups sometimes fly in this shape.

A good variety of birds were seen including Kittiwake, Little Gull, and Puffin as we progressed across the Channel in smooth conditions. We had to wait until 10:25 to see our first sighting of Gannet, a lovely sight as it flew closely alongside. Hopefully their numbers will eventually recover from the devastating effects of bird flu.

As we approached the waters between the Cherbourg Peninsular and Alderney the sea state increased, and a few white caps began to appear. Glare became a problem but better that than rain and fog!

Harbour Porpoise (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

A family of three Harbour Porpoise surfaced so close to the boat that a small blow was seen. A short time later more were seen briefly but clearly. Guernsey was within sight when Common Dolphin came in to bow ride. We slowed down for the pilot to get on board and then smoothly manoeuvred into port.

We departed Guernsey as the sun began to set for the two-hour crossing to Jersey but fading light prevented any further survey work. We had another cup of coffee, chatted to the pilot who was very interested in our work and enthusiastically talked about his sightings of seals and dolphins around the Channel Islands.

We thanked Captain Wroe and went down to the cafe for dinner.

Steve and Margaret Boswell, Lead Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: wind SW 3 inc. 6, sunny and clear glare for much of survey.

Summary of sightings

Marine Mammals

Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 5

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 7



Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 80

Common Gull Larus canus 18

Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus 3

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 20

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 5

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1

Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus 1

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 28

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 1

Guillemot Uria aalge 74

Razorbill Alca torda 6

Puffin Fratercula arctica 1

Gannet Morus bassanus 30

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2

Shag Gulosus aristotelis 6

Brent Goose Branta bernicla 35

Auk sp. 17

Gull sp. 9

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