GRC Blog

Welcome to the GRC Recorders pages. This blog provides details on all the relevant news of Glamorgan’s scarcer birds, plus all BBRC & WRP decisions that affect us locally. It will also be used to document the status and occurrence of these scarcer species and we welcome contributions from anyone with photographs, artwork or documentation of rarities past, present and future. The GRC also welcomes all seawatching news from around Glamorgan and news of passage migrants in spring & autumn, uncommon birds in our area and unusual behaviour.

All visitors are welcome. You must first register by sending an email to before you can contribute. An invite will be sent to your email address. Blog content will be strictly moderated. Access to pages and downloads are available to everyone. All photographs on this blog remain the property of the originator.
If you would like to use photos, please arrange permission beforehand.

The Glamorgan Rarities Committee, in conjunction with the Glamorgan Bird Club & Gower Wildlife , have agreed to co-operate with the Welsh Ornithological Society in the sharing of bird records & photographs in the interest of keeping accurate records and to promote birdwatching in North, Mid & South Wales.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Last weekend's Lapland Bunting

Last weekend's Lapland Bunting at Rhossili, found and photographed by Chris Brewer.
Lapland Bunting 20 Mar 2011 (c) C. Brewer

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Lapland Bunting at Sker Farm

The bird was still present this morning in the field next to Pink Bay pond up until at least 11.30am .

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Lapland Bunting at Sker

(c) D. G. Carrington
  David Carrington found this Lapland Bunting next to Pink Bay pond. It showed very well from 15:30 to 17:00 at least in the small rough field next to the pond. This area is easily accessed by the footpath that runs alongside Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.
(c) M. Hipkin
 Small numbers of Meadow Pipit and Sky Lark also feeding in this area with which it was associating loosely. It was feeding frantically and moving around all the time, sometimes flying short distances within the enclosure with the Meadow Pipits and Sky Larks.
(c) M. Hipkin

Lapland Bunting at Sker

A Lapland Bunting at Sker Farm next to Pink Bay pond on the field next to the public footpath at SS801793. Showing well. Photo in 2011 Records.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Bonaparte's Gull from Prospect Place

The Bonaparte's Gull was showing well from Prospect Place today. Initially flying distantly mid-bay but, the seemingly hundreds of yachts, speed boats and military craft in the bay forcing lots of the gulls to rest closer to the embankment.
Having not seen this species for a long time, and never before in the UK, I was surprised to find how similar in action it's flight behaviour is with Black-headed Gull and not like Little Gull, also seen today but OOC.

Lapland Bunting at Rhossili

Lapland Bunting seen at Rhossili by Chris Brewer this morning - developing breeding plumage.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Wing pattern of Lesser Scaup and Scaup x Tufted Duck

Scaup x Tufted Duck 13/3/11
The above Scaup x Tufted hybrid was on Eglwys on Sunday. I've been reading a little bit about the various wing patterns, both upper and under, and thought it was a good opportunity to show comparison shots.

Scaup x Tufted Duck 13/3/11

Lesser Scaup 6/3/11
The upperwing pattern seems quite straightforward with the white of the Lesser Scaup confined to the secondaries, becoming grey in the primaries. The hybrid showing a Scaup like pattern with extensive white wing-bar almost reaching the outer primaries.

Lesser Scaup 16/2/11

An article I have read Garner, M. 2002 Identification extra: Lesser Scaup - the underwing. Birding World 15:506-508. looks at underwing features. I've included some shots above and below that seem to show that there are variations in this feature and/or they depend very much on the lighting conditions on the particular day.
Scaup x Tufted Duck 13/3/11

Lesser Scaup 6/3/11

The article suggests that the axillaries and the lesser and median underwing-coverts should appear white, on Lesser Scaup. This is accentuated by the greyer/darker border produced by the greater underwing-coverts and flight feathers. I'm guessing that the prominence of this feature depends a lot on the light at the time of viewing.

The underwing on the Lesser Scaup (6/3/11) appear mainly grey with the wing-bar showing through well in certain lights, in some cases showing the upperwing pattern as well as you would expect given a view from behind. The same article suggest that in a hybrid bird would probably show a pale underwing due to the fact that all the candidates ie Pochard, Scaup and Tufted Duck, show pallid underwing.

It would be interesting to see some shots, especially the underwing, of the drake Lesser Scaup in Cardiff to see how it compares with these birds.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Lesser Scaup & Slav Grebe

Yesterday - Slav Grebe was still in Cardiff Bay by Prospect Place
Saturday - drake Lesser Scaup on W lake Cosmeston

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Great Grey Shrike at Bwlch y Lladron

Still present this morning in the large clearfell.

Bonaparte's Gull in Cardiff

A Bonaparte's Gull (adult winter) was found in Cardiff Bay this morning [per GNS]. Possibly the returning bird to the area.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Great grey shrike, Mynydd Penhydd.

Found by Nigel Patten - grid ref SS 825 935. Note that there is no public access here on weekdays as tree felling is in progress.

Firecrest, Newton dunes.

GGS still at Bwlch-y-Lladron

The Great Grey Shrike was still present today at Bwlch-y-Lladron. In rather gloomy conditions today the bird was far less active choosing to survey the grounds from a high perch

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Great Grey Shrike at Mynydd Margam

Record shot of the Great Grey Shrike that Phil Hardwick found yesterday. This bird seems to work a far bigger area than the bird I saw yesterday at Bwlch-y-Lladron. It showed very well from the crossroads near the lone pine (SS814887) until it was disturbed by a small group of scramblers!

Lesser Scaup

The long-staying Drake Lesser Scaup present Cosmeston W lake this morning.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Great Grey Shrike at Bwlch-y-Llandron

I was extremely happy to spend this afternoon in the presence of a Great Grey Shrike. The "Great" is well deserved in its name. It was particularly successful while I was there, catching many beetles, a bee or two and a shrew. It seemed to stash the shrew for later on a branch that was out of view, from my position.

Well done to Colin Richards for finding this bird and also to Rob & Linda Nottage for reporting their sighting yesterday. I've only ever seen one other GGS in the UK and it was miles off. This bird has really made my year so far.

Recent reports

A Great Grey Shrike was at Bwlch-y-Lladron [SN947032] 6th & 7th March & another was seen today [8th] at Mynydd Margam [SS815887] by the Lone Pine area.
The Slavonian Grebe is still present today [8th] in Cardiff Bay [Prospect Pl. nr. ice rink].

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Howard Nicholls

Howard enjoying a Black winged Stilt.
Inspirational - International Rugby Player
Top photographer and all round good friend.
Sadly missed!

Lesser Scaup still on Eglwys

The female Lesser Scaup was still on Eglwys Nunydd reservoir today. Again showing  on the Southern half of the res and feeding with Tufted Duck

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Lesser Scaup

drake Lesser Scaup present today at Cosmeston in far RH corner of W lake, near the hide.

Info concerning 'Caspian Gull'

Caspian Gull (Larus argentatus cachinnans)
Up to 2000 this race was considered by BBRC, since then it is now a Welsh rarity and adjudicated by the WRP. As I understand, it is still not on the Welsh list, however there have been sightings as recently as 2008 in Gwent, which is still in circulation. I am also aware that all sightings of this race must come with a very good photograph[s], to help confirm this race as a Welsh bird.