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.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Marsh Harriers at KNNR

Two fem/imm type Marsh Harriers have been seen together today at Kenfig NNR and just over the border into NPT. One has been seen on few occasions since early April, the other seems to be a new arrival.

Monday, 28 May 2012


prob an escape but report of Sacred Ibis on Watermill flood today, on GBC sightings.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

News of breeding Great White Egret

This features the female that frequented the Wentloog area of Cardiff & Gwent

Natural England confirmed today that the Great White Egret has nested for the first time in Britain.

The nest site - at Shapwick Heath, Natural England’s National Nature Reserve in Somerset - is being monitored by staff and volunteers from Natural England, the RSPB and Somerset Ornithological Society. Activity on the site strongly suggests that the birds may already have young and in the next few weeks, Natural England hopes to be able confirm that the nest contains chicks and that Britain can welcome a new species to its list of breeding birds. 
The great white egret is more usually found in mainland Europe, but in recent years, there have been increased sightings of these elegant birds in England, a small number of which have been visiting the reedbeds and wetlands of the Avalon Marshes. Until now, none of these visitors have nested and there is growing excitement that this summer could see the beginning of a growing trend. 
The female bird was ringed as a nestling in May 2009 in Besne, in France, and records show she travelled to Lancashire, Wales (Cardiff & Gwent area) and Gloucestershire before visiting the Somerset Levels for the first time in April 2010. She has stayed in the region ever since and managed to cope with two relatively cold British winters.
Local birdwatchers spotted nesting activity on the Shapwick Heath Reserve in early April this year and alerted the Somerset Ornithological Society, Natural England and the RSPB. The three organisations immediately established a 24 hour nest watch operation with volunteers, who have currently clocked up over 1000 hours of nest-watching time. This ensured the birds were not disturbed whilst they completed their nest, concealed deep in the reed beds. 
This species tends to return to the same nest site each year, so it is hoped that this pair will be pioneers and that a colony of great white egrets will become established on the Avalon Marshes.

Simon Clarke, Reserve Manager for Shapwick Heath said; “This is hugely exciting and we’ve been keeping everything crossed and a close eye on the nest since the signs of nesting activity were first noticed last month. In the last few years, we’ve been carrying out a lot of work to improve the reserve’s reedbeds for bitterns and otters – but it seems great white egrets have also appreciated the work we’ve done.
Tony Whitehead speaking for the RSPB said: "This is another major step forward for nature conservation, and the RSPB is delighted to be working alongside NE and the Somerset Ornithological Society to protect these pioneering birds as they breed for the first time
“The Avalon Marshes are a wonderful example of landscape scale conservation, where partnership working has produced one of Western Europe's largest and best wetlands. Places such as these are vital in providing valuable space for newly colonising species as well as safeguarding populations of vulnerable birds such as bittern. And the really exciting thing is now predicting what's going to turn up next - it’s the sort of place where anything's possible"

Simon added; “Despite the appalling weather conditions over much of this period for wardens and birds alike, these egrets have shown extreme diligence in tending the nest site. Although chicks have not yet been seen, a significant change in behaviour has been noted which suggests we may soon have some very demanding new additions to the Reserve!”

RSPB and Natural England have set up a recorded information line for people to keep up to date with the birds progress and details on visiting the reserve to view the birds. The number is 07866 554142
Visitors to Shapwick Heath are welcome but parking is very limited. Therefore, in order to avoid disturbance to local residents, visitors are asked to park at the Avalon Marshes Centre, Westhay, BA6 9TT, where you will find directions to the Great Egret Watch.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Late news. Great Skua at Crymlyn Burrows

Great Skua with sheep carcass (c) R Ross
Late news of a Great Skua that was at Crymlyn Burrows towards the end of last year. Rob Ross came across this bird on 28th December 2011 on the beach at Crymlyn Burrows defending the remainder of it's Christmas pickings! On this same day I was down at Whiteford taking another look at the Arctic Skua which had spent the Christmas there. Earlier in December Steve Hinton found a Pomarine Skua at Gileston (16/12/11). Making for a good collection of "beached" Skuas in Glamorgan in a relatively short period of time.
Great Skua at Crymlyn Burrows (c) R Ross

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sanderling at Rhaslas

Photo from Mike Hogan of a Sanderling at Rhaslas Pool, the first for the site and the most northerly record for this species in Eastern Glamorgan. Rhaslas has been well watched this spring and has turned up some excellent records of wader passage migration. Rhaslas is under threat from being completely destroyed by open-cast mining, so the more records we have, the better our case for keeping this excellent upland pool from being covered by the waste materials from the mining operations. Well done to Mike, Geri & Alan for their sightings.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Black-necked Grebes

Paid my first ever visit to this site for a stunning pair of birds,great find by Geri and Alan.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Black-necked Grebes

                                                                    (c) M. Hogan
Just had a call from Alan Rosney who is with Geri Thomas. What are probably the two Black-necked Grebes from Cosmeston are now present in north Glamorgan. [call rec'd 15:45].

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Hoopoe at Whiteford Burrows (5/5)

Hoopoe (c) Rein Part
Late news of a Hoopoe that showed well on Saturday. Watched for about 15mins at SS448955 which is, when walking out to hide from Cwm Ivy, about 350m before the path that cuts across the salt marsh to Berges Island hide.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Little Tern at Crymlyn Burrows

A Little Tern was along the shoreline (and feeding offshore) mid-morning at Crymlyn Burrows. Also a (wp) Red-throated Diver and 8 Common Scoter (all females) in the bay. Earlier a steady passage of Swallows in off the sea and along the dunes at Aberavon also saw a Hobby come in off the sea and head upriver.
Yesterday evening at Aberavon Beach the pair of Eider (seen from Crymlyn Burrows near Swansea Docks on 4/5/12) flew from the Swansea direction and straight into Port talbot Docks. Also yesterday evening 4 Common Scoter (1m,3f), 1(wp) Red-throated Diver in the bay and 7 Sandwich Tern flew east.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Long-eared Owl wing at Kenfig

Strinda Davies brought this in today found south of Kenfig Pool on 30 April. We think it's long-eared owl. Cause of death unknown. I've got the wing in my office if anyone wants a closer look.
Size too small for seo, patterning matches leo and emargination on second primary but not on third is leo feature.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Seawatch RGW

3rd May 12: An evening seawatch from the 'black pipe' produced Black Tern (5) all UC, Manx (1) DC, Whimbrel (10), GGB Gull (2), Med Gull (1st S) & Common Snipe (1).

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Glamorgan Bird-Race

If anyone is thinking of doing any of the county's bird-races [VC41, West, East, any UA, local site or patch] the weekend of 12th or 13th May are the set dates. Anyone taking part in any race please let us know your results. Good Luck.

April Round-up

GRC Monthly Round-up

Click on photo to access the page or alternatively the Monthly Round-up pages are available via the link in the sidebar.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Bar-tailed Godwit at Rhaslas Pond

A record shot of a Bar-tailed Godwit at Rhaslas Pond. This is the most northerly record in the Eastern Glamorgan (& vc41) recording area for this species. It is also the first for Caerphilly (west) [Glamorgan side of river Rhymney]. Well done to Mike Hogan for his record. It seems that the heavy rain and high winds displaced many species not normally associated with inland areas.