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.

Monday, 27 February 2012


The Bittern was showing well at midday from the doorless [2nd] hide at Forest Farm, Cardiff.
4th March: There are 2 Bitterns at this site, seen from different hides late evening on 4th. [per MCP]

The RSPB will not have dedicated field staff to monitor Bitterns in 2012. However Bitterns continue to increase in England (no data for Wales), from the Action for Birds in England:

I. An increase in the number of booming males up from 87 in 2010 to 104 in 2011
II. An increase in the number of confirmed nests, up from 41 (2010) to 63 in 2011
III. An increase in the number of sites holding booming Bitterns, with 51 sites occupied.
IV. Increase in nesting attempts & booming males in the Avalon Marshes, Somerset.
V. Confirmed nesting at Stodmarsh in Kent, first for 40 years.

Good news indeed.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Black-necked Grebe still at Cardiff Bay

Black-necked Grebe
Thanks to Joek and Steve for directing Ieuan and myself in the right direction to view this cracking Grebe. It was really interesting to watch it deal with the disturbance from the various craft that were using the bay today. It seemed happiest when feeding right in the busiest channels used by the boats and yachts; moving quickly from the path of the boats and returning to the same area when the danger had past. Presumably it is most successful when foraging in the disturbed waters?

Water Pipits from the Thaw

5 of 13+ Water Pipit at the Thaw River
A large group of Water Pipits feeding on the Thaw River floodplain south of the B4265. They were in a mixed group, feeding here with Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Chaffinch. Also here 5 Little Egret but no luck with the Glossy Ibis.
Water Pipit

Friday, 24 February 2012

Glossy Ibis at Llancadle

The Glossy Ibis is still in the Kenson Valley at Llancadle this AM.

Also the BNG is still in Cardiff Bay, at Prospect Place (Ice-rink).
Black redstart in the residents car park at John Batchellor Way, Penarth Marina today @ 12.30pm.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

VC41 News

Llancadle - Kenson Valley [ST0368]: Glossy Ibis (1) in meadow till 13.34 at least. No sign of second individual reported by local farmer yesterday.
KNNR: Black-necked Grebe still on pool.
Cosmeston: Drake Lesser Scaup still present.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Interesting Gull

This possible 3rd-winter Caspian Gull was on the roof of the Peacocks warehouse at Dowlais on February 17th, seen by Neil Donaghy, Mike Cram and I. The eye was dark and the mantle was judged to be just a tad darker than normal Herring Gull, but not as dark as Yellow-legged Gull (one present for direct comparison). Expert opinion so far can be summarised as 'could be one, can't be sure from the photos', so it looks like it will remain a 'not proven'.
Worth keeping an eye out for if you're in the area.

Kenfig NNR

Black-necked Grebe near north pool hide midday. [per DGC]

Monday, 20 February 2012

Smew still at Upper Loughor

redhead Smew
This fantastic duck was found by Alastair Flannagan the Sunday before last (12th) at Upper Loughor. By all accounts it seems pretty loyal to a stretch of water about 1 mile upriver from the Loughor Bridge in the channel (SS565995) next to the broken-up stone structure along the bank . This area is best viewed from the lookout area found along the path north from Upper Loughor car park (SS571988).

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Bonaparte's Gull at Heliport

Just flicking through the photos on birdguides and there's a photo of 1st w Bonaparte's Gull from yesterday, taken by David Campbell at the Heliport.  Initial sighting at 16:19 but flying off just before 17:00.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Cardiff & Gower News

Cardiff: Bonaparte's Gull very briefly at the Heliport (midday, high tide) & the redhead Smew still at Hendre Lake, St. Mellons.
Gower: Pink-footed Goose at Penclawydd & GWE at Llanrhidian.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

1 Year Old Today!

I didn't want to let this day pass without offering a quick summary of the year gone by. This Blog was launched a year ago today by David Gilmore as a platform from which the Glamorgan Rarities Committee could provide information to the birdwatching community, both local and afar. It has developed substantially over the last year and now provides a rich reference point to many different facets of this popular pastime.
In its first full month this Blog generated viewing totals that were roughly 3,150 this has steadily increased over the year and last month the viewing figures produce a blog high of almost 6,300.
One of the main reasons why this Blog works is due to the vast amount of work that David Gilmore and Barry Stewart do in the background. The various lists and reports are products of their tireless work, collecting and subsequently presenting the interesting information into manageable tabloid style sections.
The other reason why it has been so popular is in no small part down to the authors of this Blog that keep the news up to date and provide some breathtaking photos along the way.
I'm looking forward to following this Blog for more years to come and offer sincere thanks to all of the contributors that make it work. Lastly, thanks to all readers for providing the motivation that drives our contributors to produce such high standards.

Monday, 13 February 2012

H. Morrey Salmon

H. Morrey Salmon
Ornithologist & Glamorgan County Bird Recorder c1919-1967, Author of the Birds of Glamorgan.
Pictured when he was a Lieutenant & Adjutant, 16th (Cardiff City) Battalion, The Welch Regt. at Ypres in 1917. Morrey Salmon was awarded the Military Cross & Bar in the Great War.
Note the hessian netting to stop enemy artillery & sniper observation of British troop movements.

European White-fronted Goose at Neath saltmarsh

 It was very nice to see the European White-fronted Goose at the Neath saltmarsh yesterday. This bird having been found the day before by Martin Bell. On closer inspection it does have a metal ring on its left leg which presumably brings into question the validity of this bird being treated as truly wild? It was at times alert to my presence but in general it stayed close to a group of Canada Geese and its behaviour generally mirrored theirs.
 It is a real shame that you can't just rely on the fact that if an unusual goose turns up in a suitable habitat that it is wild. It begs the question how many "wild" geese do you need to see together for them to be safely categorised as wild; more than one, 2+, 3+, 4+, etc. The 15 Pink-footed Geese around Kenfig last year are surely safe but is the single Pink-footed Goose that has been knocking around also safe?
The Abyssinian Blue-winged Goose above was also present at the Neath saltmarsh yesterday and has been in the area for at least a couple of days. It has a very restricted range in the Ethiopian highlands and interestingly, Abyssinian Blue-winged Geese are nocturnal and even though they are capable fliers and swimmers, they are reluctant to do either. This bird has now been seen locally at the Gnoll CP, Neath saltmarsh and at Fendrod Lake moving around with the Canada Geese.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

News 12/2/12

Smew (redhead) at Upper Loughor - A. Flannagan
Smew still at Hendre Lake - J. Wilson
Black-necked Grebe still Prospect Place - G. Powell
Iceland Gull (ad) Ogmore Est. - D. Rich
Iceland Gull still at Pen-y-Bryn - R. Taylor
White-fronted Goose still at Neath Saltmarsh but origin unclear

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Caspian Gulls at Dowlais

Eddie Hunter saw two 2cy Caspian Gulls on Dowlais Top yesterday, plus a new 2cy Iceland Gull, different to the two he saw there last week.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Glossy Ibis on Flat Holm

Two photos of the Glossy Ibis on Flat Holm 6th Feb. Presumably the Cosmeston bird. This is the first record for Flat Holm & the 2nd for Cardiff, the first being in 1986.

Black-necked Grebe at Cardiff Bay

A rather distant record shot of the grebe, which was feeding off the yacht marina. Best viewed from otherside of river in front of Ferry Court. This bird was present here on 6/02.

Recent News:
Bonaparte's Gull again at Cardiff Heliport 5/02 [per PB]

Monday, 6 February 2012


Glossy Ibis at Cosmeston this morning. Flushed by Jack Russell at 12:30 and flew off high to the east.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Pen y bryn

(c) Colin Gittins
Second winter Iceland gull still present today.