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Portsmouth-Jersey survey 9 October

At this time of year this survey is on the outward Portsmouth-Guernsey -Jersey route only, leaving Jersey at 20.20 for the return in darkness. We parked the car on board and had time for breakfast before going up to the bridge to meet the captain and his crew before starting the survey having first been instructed where to find the coffee making facilities!

Migrating Meadow Pipit (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

It was an excellent sea state and visibility as we sailed passed St. Catherine’s Lighthouse. There was a passage of Meadow Pipit going across the Channel and a couple of Swallow giving good views. Soon, however the sun came round, and glare was a bit of a problem.

Our first Harbour Porpoise were seen when a total of four surfaced in calm sea close to the bow.

As the Cherbourg peninsular came into view we saw our first Common Dolphin when a group of eight and then later four appeared. Tuna were then seen leaping high out of the water, causing a big disturbance on the surface.

Harbour Porpoise (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

It was like a Midsummer day as we entered the harbour at St Peter Port in Guernsey with full sun and a temperature of 20 degrees. A large group of Swallow were feeding around the castle at the harbour entrance.

As we departed Guernsey for the short crossing towards Jersey, we had glare from behind and flat calm seas, dreamlike conditions! Harbour Porpoise were easy to see and six were observed. As we approached Jersey harbour a pod of seven Bottlenose Dolphin performed well with one animal lobtailing.

Bottlenose Dolphin (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

We thanked Captain Steve Leake and his officers for their kind hospitality and interest and then went down for dinner.

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


Initially overcast, good visibility with W-SW winds force 2-4, clouds decreasing introducing glare

Summary of sightings

Marine Mammals

Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 10

Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 12

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 8


Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus 3

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 3

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 13

Gannet Morus bassanus 18

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 7

Guillemot Uria aalge 82

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 36

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 3

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 3

Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 4

Razorbill Alca torda 19

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 4

Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 1

Auk sp. 3

Terrestrial Birds

Brent Goose Branta bernicla 3

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 1

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 31

Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarrellii 4

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 4

Swallow Hirundo rustica 2

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