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.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

BNG and Slav

Black-necked Grebe (top) (c) P. Morgan
Just to pass the time before someone finds something of wind-blown interest in the county, I thought I'd post a picture showing Black-necked Grebe with a Slavonian Grebe. There aren't many places in the county where you can see both species side by side. Probably the Burry Inlet offers the best chance due to the constant presence of Slavonian Grebes there during the winter. This being backed up by Barry Stewart's recent record, although it doesn't happen very often.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bittern Forest Farm

Just posting these record shots of Bittern at Forest Farm on 18th Jan, observed and snapped by Matthew Morgan, so thanks for the record Matthew. The first is the original with the bird circled faintly in red in centre back. Fortunately the pic was 5000+ pixels wide so this and another allowed for the following 2 crops.

Sunday News

Llanrhidian Roost - 2 Great White Egret, 2 Hen harrier and 3 Barn Owl (SM)

Kenfig - Black-necked Grebe, Bittern and ringtail Hen Harrier (DJJ, GJJ)

Kenfig - Black-necked Grebe and 2 Bittern (JC)

Portobello, Ogmore - 1 ad Bonaparte's Gull (MDa), (AB)

Cosmeston Lakes - 2f Scaup and the hybrid still (JDW)

Saturday, 26 January 2013


26th Jan.
Black-necked Grebe still Kenfig Pool [AM, GH]
Bonaparte's Gull (ad W) still at Cardiff Foreshore WTW [PB]
Bittern (1) at KNNR

25th Jan.
Bonaparte's Gull (ad W) still on the Ogmore river [DCB]
Bittern still at Forest Farm, Cardiff [RM]
Water Pipit at Ogmore [DCB]

Friday, 25 January 2013

Tagged Red Kites on Gower

A3 left-BLACK right-WHITE
A couple of records of tagged Red Kites from near Newton Farm, Gower, yesterday. Thanks to Gwyn Roberts I've been able to trace their origins. Above, "WHITE A3" is from Swansea county outside of Gower and was tagged in 2011.
T4 left-BLACK right-RED
"RED T4" is from Gower and was tagged in 2012

Prior to yesterday, and speaking with Gwyn, I didn't know too much about the Red Kite colour coding system so here are a few pointers for anyone like me.

Left tag is colour coded for region

BLACK - Wales
YELLOW - Southern England
BLUE - North Scotland
WHITE - East Midlands
ORANGE - Yorkshire
RED - Central Scotland
GREEN - Dumfries & Galloway
PINK - Northumberland

Right tag is colour coded for Year of Hatching

1999 - BLACK
2000 - PINK
2001 - BLUE
2002 - WHITE
2003 - RED
2004 - YELLOW
2005 - ORANGE
2006 - GREEN
2007 - PURPLE
2008 - BLACK
2009 - PINK
2010 - BLUE
2011 - WHITE
2012 - RED

Forest farm Bittern,this a.m.


Waxwing (2) at Roath Court Road briefly at 13.15. 11 there yesterday [OY]
Excellent numbers of Redwing about, c1000 feeding in fields & hedgerows along the Cardiff Levels, Hendre Lake & Lamby Lake yesterday, also increased numbers of Sky Larks & Common Gulls reported. A Brambling was at Lamby Lake 24th - No sign of the Bittern there 24th, but the reeds there have been flattened by the recent snow.
* Don't forget to have a wee dram for Burn's night!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Bittern at Parc Tredelerch [Lamby Lake]

Thanks to Lisa Wilmot for supplying the photos below of a Bittern she saw at Lamby Lake on 17th and 22nd Jan this year.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

black-necked grebe at Kenfig NNR

Black necked grebe.

                                 Still present at Kenfig pool yesterday. Photo Colin Gittins

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Some Sunday News..

Whiteford - 2 Long-tailed Duck, 4 (1p+2m(OG)) Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Great Northern Diver (OG), 4 Savonian Grebe, ringtail + male Hen Harrier(OG) - (MHi, GRa, PRo, DMC)

Llanrhidian roost - 1 Great White Egret, 2 ringtail + 1 male Hen Harrier, 1 Barn Owl (MHi, GRa, PRo, DMC, CHu)

Penclawdd Pill - 1 Spotted Redshank (CDB)

Kenfig Pool - 1 Bittern and 1 Black-necked Grebe (NSu)

Ogmore/Portobello - Bonaparte's Gull and 1 Water Pipit, (NPR, ND)

Baglan Dunes - Snow Bunting (GL)

Spotted Redshank at Penclawdd Pill

(c) C. Brewer
Chris Brewer had a Spotted Redshank at Penclawdd Pill once again, today. It showed well and Chris was able to take some very nice record shots of a bird not that easy to catch up with in Glamorgan.
(c) C. Brewer

Glaucous Gull still at Whiteford Lighthouse

The juvenile Glaucous Gull was still present along the beach and on the water near Whiteford Lighthouse, today. It wasn't as approachable on land as I'd hoped, but on the water it was much more relaxed. A clue to it's prolonged stay maybe the Harbour Porpoise carcass, now particularly rank, that is on the strand line in the same area?

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Common Sandpiper on Neath River

A Common Sandpiper was feeding along the Neath River, upstream (400m) of the main flyover into Neath. A Cetti's Warbler was also along here.

Elsewhere the Black-necked Grebe is still present on Kenfig Pool (DGC)

Friday, 18 January 2013


Dave Lewis had a fem Brambling on his feeders at Ynys lee, Cwmavon this morning.

Snow Bunting at snowy Baglan

The Snow Bunting was showing well once again, this afternoon, at it's favourite spot along the strand line (SS721921). I've missed it on three occasions this year but it was very good to catch up with it again, especially today of all days.
Fieldfares, Lapwings and to a lesser degree Redwings were all noted on the move in numbers along the Neath River (south) and coast (east)
A further report of 2 Snow Buntings low over Tesco car park, Maesteg, at 07:30 (CR)

Baglan dunes Snow bunting.

                              Photo taken yesterday by Colin Gittins.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Glaucous Gull video

Video taken of the Glaucous Gull at Whiteford Lighthouse on 11/1/13 can be found by clicking on the photo above.


Waxwings still in Maindy around Canada Rd. area today.
At Cosmeston CP this am: Greater Scaup [2 fem] on east lake but rather flighty c10.30am, Aythya hybrid present & 22 Teal on west lake, up to 39 later [MM]. Bittern reported on 13th in reeds west lake [per CCP & JC]
Of Note: Sully Is. Grey Plover, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone & Oystercatchers

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Waxwing update

Updated distribution map for Waxwing in vc41:
2012-13 winter period shown by black circles (2013 records shown by red centres).
All previous records are shown in green, with records before 2000 shown as smaller green circles.
I'll insert a few more maps in these pages, both below and in future posts for general interest.
[map updated to include the extra 'Greater' Glamorgan bits included in the East Glamorgan recording area]

Monday, 14 January 2013

Snow Bunting

The Snow Bunting is still present at Baglan Dunes this am by the blowout. Also 3 SEO there [DMC]

Sunday's Round-up

A round-up of news for 13th Jan. [VC41]

Pale-bellied Brent Geese [7] at Aberthaw [GNS]
Greater Scaup (fem) at Cosmeston [GNS]
Greater Scaup (3 fem) at Dalton's Point [CB]
Long-tailed Duck at EN Res. [MCP]
RTD at Sker [KL]
BTD at EN Res. [MCP]
GND at Whiteford Point [AF]
GND at EN Res. [MCP]
Slavonian Grebe [2] at Whiteford [AF]
Slavonian Grebe [2] at Wernffwrd [CB]
Black-necked Grebe at KNNR [GPo]
GWE [2] at Llanrhidian Marsh [AF]
Spotted Redshank [2] at Penclawdd Pill [CB]
Bonaparte's Gull (ad W) at Ogmore [multi obs]
Bonaparte's Gull (ad W) at Cardiff Foreshore [PB]
Med Gull [3] at Cardiff Foreshore [PB]
Med Gul (2 x ad W) The Marl, Cardiff [GPr]

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Bonaparte's Gull:Ogmore-Better light today...

Cardiff Bonaparte's Gull still present too

Adult winter seen in flight from the foreshore and over the fence into the settling lagoons at Cardiff foreshore Water Treatment Plant at 14.30. Lost to sight amongst the many Black-headeds and not seen again by 16.10. At least 3 Meds present too.
Bonaparte's Gull
Perhaps the periodicity plot is more interesting than the distribution of dots?
NB The Cardiff foreshore record is not on my system yet, hence no red dot. 

Ogmore Bonaparte's Still Present

Nice to get the Bonaparte's for the monthly WeBS count and good to see birders outnumbering dog walkers for a change!

Saturday, 12 January 2013


2 Great White Egrets at Llanrhidian [BS]
Bonaparte's Gull: still at Ogmore [DP]
Another Bonaparte's Gull [ad W] on Cardiff Foreshore near the Water Treatment Works c11.00am [GNS]. Also seen there 13th [PB]
Waxwing: 21 at Maindy, Cardiff [MCP] - presumably feeding on berries in Canada Rd.

11th January
Lesser Whitethroat [race unk] was seen briefly near St. Thomas the Apostle Church 11.00hrs [PH & MTH]

Bonapartes Gull - Ogmore 11/01/13

Friday, 11 January 2013

Glaucous Gull at Whiteford

The Glaucous Gull found by a couple of our Gwent neighbours, recently, was still present around the lighthouse at Whiteford, this afternoon. I keep reading records of juvenile Glaucous Gull at this time of year and also of 1st winter birds so I was keen to try and find what this one should be called. It would appear that Glaucous Gulls retain their juvenile plumage right the way through their first year and so technically this bird will go straight into 2nd winter plumage, after a moult this summer. Unlike some of our gulls and particularly Yellow-legged Gull, which moults into 1st winter plumage before it's first winter. I think the Iceland Gull behaves in a similar fashion to that of the Glaucous Gull and I assume that this is because of the climate in their normal range?  Anyway, Gulls are a bit of a minefield and I'm certainly no expert; it's still present and looked quite settled. I get the impression that this bird would be quite approachable on land because it didn't fly off with other Herring Gulls, that weren't so keen on me approaching the waters edge. A bit of luck and better photos are sure to be possible. Also here 2 Great Northern Divers.
A Long-tailed Duck was with a decent sized (1204), close flock of Common Scoters this morning in Rhossili Bay. Also in the area were 5 Red-throated Divers. While I was checking the Scoter flock, a gentleman in the lookout station watched 2 Skua sp chasing a Black-headed Gull just off the Worms Head causeway at 10:15, he later informed me. He went on to state that they were probably Pomarine Skuas? It is worth noting that a Long-finned Pilot Whale has been washed up (dead; reported 29/12/12) on Rhossili beach, between Dines Lake and Burry Holms, which may well provide a regular meal to lingering shuas; so it could well be worth checking the area in case they stick around. Although quite distant, it was clearly attracting the attention of the local Corvids, but no sign of the Skuas.
Glaucous Gull
A very coastal species in Glamorgan and much the scarcer of the two large white-wingers
Iceland Gull
NB all black dots are from the first few months of 2012

Kenfig pool, January 2011.

                               These two Bitterns showed well when the pool was frozen on 7th.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Rhaslas Pool

Mike Hogan  found & photographed a Common Shelduck at Rhaslas Pool today. This is first record for the site and the most northerly record for East Glamorgan. This threatened site has turned up some excellent birds during the last twelve months. Well done to Mike and all those committed birders who monitor this area. 

A few more of the Bonaparte's.....

Ogmore Bonaparte's gull taken yesterday.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Recent News

Bonaparte's Gull still at Ogmore (PPa),(RMi, SPH)(TMT, KP)
Whiteford - 1st W Glaucous Gull, 3 Great Northern Diver and 2 Slavonian Grebe (AL)
Kenfig - Black-necked Grebe and Short-eared Owl (RJK)
Black Redstart still at Cardiff Barrage (GP)
Baglan Bay - 3 Red-throated Diver and 147 Great Created Grebe but no sign of Snow Bunting in 'usual' area (MHi)
1 male Hen Harrier at Mynydd Canol (SS833980) (DMC)
1 ringtail Hen Harrier at Crymlyn Bog (MHi)
Waxwings in Cardiff
4 at Birchgrove crossroads (PJ)
25 at Ninian Road (EW)
6 at New Zealand Road (PBo)

Whiteford Point - 2 Great Northern Divers & 4+ Slavonian Grebe (GFT, KJH)
Rhaslas - 1 imm male Hen Harrier & 2 Short-eared Owl (GFT, KJH)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Bonaparte's Gull video

Taken on Saturday afternoon from the riverbank.

Bonaparte's Gull video - click here

Bonaparte's Gull still at Ogmore.

The Bonaparte's Gull was showing well, this morning (10:15 to 11:00). Once again just downstream of Portobello House. (MYP)

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Glaucous Gull at Wernffrwd

Chris Brewer

Bonaparte's Gull : Ogmore

Few record shots from this morning,superb bird.

putative Grey-bellied Brent

Video grabs unmodified:
putative Grey-bellied Brent 06 Jan 13
putative Grey-bellied Brent 06 Jan 13
I'm sure this is the same bird that I saw last year and reported as a probable hybrid (which it may well be?).
It stands out from the crowd even at distance and first impression is Pale-bellied Brent, however, when seen at closer quarters it clearly has a uniform dingy belly that extends between and beyond the legs, fading out to the rear (probably clearer in the video clip than the grabs). Another pro-Grey-bellied character is the subtly browner tone to the upperparts. The neck ring falls within the mid-range for Dark-bellied, whereas typically Grey-bellied should be more pronounced. Given the variation in neck-rings in Dark-bellied (check out the video clip) this is may not that important a character? I guess the most plausible explanation for this bird is that it is a hybrid between DB & PB Brents given its apparent intermediate appearance. It's worth looking for if you're on the north shore of the Burry. The flock has been regular on the saltmarsh between Crofty and Wernffrwd and it would be useful to obtain better images and more opinion.

 bright Dark-bellied Brent 06 Jan 13
This was another interesting bird that stood out in the flock; the white flanks were nowhere near as conspicuous as the bird above, but the neck ring was very large, but not connected at the front or rear. I suspect this is just a bright Dark-bellied Brent.

Click here for video [NB. There are two video clips, the first following the pGB, then a general scan through the flock, briefly following the bDB then the pGB. Apologies for the quality I was hand holding my DSLR to the eyepiece].