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.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Greater Scaup and BT Diver on Lisvane Res.

A rather distant shot of a fine drake Greater Scaup on Lisvane Res this afternoon. The BT diver is still present too (17th day and counting!).

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


A fem Hen Harrier circled around me and drifted north at Maesteg cemetery this morning.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

News #2

26th Feb.

Bonaparte's Gull [ad] still present on the River Ogmore, also 5 Med Gulls there. [NPR]

f/imm Velvet Scoter still off Crymlyn Burrows Beach, with 6(5m) Common Scoter

Also nearby a Short-eared Owl at Baglan Dunes, no reports or sign of the Snow Bunting since 12/2/13 (MHi, DCM)

Black-throated Diver still at Lisvane, this am (RET)

Black-necked Grebe still present at Kenfig Pool, also 2 Bitterns there. [ND]


Black-throated Diver still at Lisvane Res. [PB]

Monday, 25 February 2013

North Gower

Penclawdd Pill - 1 Spotted Redshank (PKG, CJ)

Wernffrwd - 2 Great White Egret (10:30; WT)  (13:10; PKG, CJ)

Llanrhidian roost - 2 Great White Egret, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Barn Owl (PKG, CJ, EAH)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Great Grey Shrike near Crynant

The GGS found by Rob Jones was still present today. Permission was granted to access the area favoured by the Shrike again today. However, whether or not the area can be accessed without restriction from another direction is less clear. If I find out that it is possible to access area without restrictions then I will post those details as they become available. Thanks go to Rob for arranging access today.

Also in the area 1 ringtail Hen Harrier and Rob later had a Short-eared Owl at Baglan Dunes, at last light.


Bonaparte's Gull on shore off Cardiff Heliport this morning. Also Med Gull (1w) and 25 Common Scoter on the sea. Lesser Scaup in the CBWR, also Yellow-legged Gull (ad).

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Bittern at Crymlyn Bog

A Bittern was seen in flight over Crymlyn Bog this evening at 17:15. No Harriers were seen but a decent sized flock of Gulls were around the old tip area. Unfortunately, they were only giving brief and partial views of the flock in flight from the visitor centre, at Crymlyn Bog.

Lisvane Black-Throated Diver

A few more pictures of the Black-Throated Diver still on Lisvane Res today, taken by climbing one of the oaks overlooking the north end of the reservoir, on public-access land not owned by Western Power. Not a bad view, but digiscoping up a tree turns out to be easier said than done!

Bonaparte's Gull, Ogmore.

                                     Three very nice shots, taken by Bob Hopkins.

Friday, 22 February 2013


Black-throated Diver still at Lisvane Res @ 14:15

7 Waxwings f/o (heading north) Lisvane Res @ 14:39


Late News:
Yellow-legged Gull 2nd CY at Rhymney Est 19/02/13

A count of 62 Rooks at Dowlais, Merthyr 22/02 [MCP] is the highest count for Merthyr UA [per GBC database]

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Penclawdd Pill - 2 Spotted Redshank and 1 Greenshank

Llanrhidian Roost - 2 Great White Egret, male+ringtail HenHarrier, 1 Green sandpiper, 1 Short-eared Owl and 2 Barn Owl

Lots of activity and plenty of birds generally in the Burry Inlet around high Tide (RJ)

Black-throated Diver at Lisvane still (RET)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Burry Inlet

2 Great Whites into roost with just 15+ Little Egrets this evening. Also 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Short-eared Owl & 2 Barn Owls. Earlier 2 Spotted Redshanks and a Greenshank in Penclawdd Pill and off Dalton's Point 202 Black-tailed Godwit [incl. 2 c-r birds] & 425 Knot.

Pete Potts replied 'LO+LY flag was ringed by us this summer in Iceland as a chick on 2nd July at Gilastadir, Reykholar as a medium sized chick c. 2 weeks old one of a brood of 2'

The first resighting of this bird was at Penclacwydd WWT on 30th August (Wendell Thomas) and it has been seen on a number of occasions since, both at Penclacwydd and Penclawdd. I've seen it three times at Dalton's Point this last week along with another c-r bird [Left: White/Red, Right: Red/White flag] that I'm still awaiting details for.
(c) P. Potts

Monday, 18 February 2013

Pintail at Rhaslas Pool

Three Pintail on the pool this am, taken by Mike Hogan. A first for this excellent upland site. There have been a few northern records for East Glamorgan: Llwyn-on Res in 1969,  at Tir-founder Fields in 2004 & the Llynfi Valley in 2005. Pintail usually winter off the Cardiff/Newport coast, although numbers there have significantly declined over the last 10 years. Other coastal sites in EG, like KNNR & the Ogmore river, do report small numbers each year.
In West Glamorgan Pintail are still seen in the Burry Inlet in good numbers.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Hawfinch at Waun y Gilfach

(c) P. Tabor
Record shot of a Hawfinch found, this morning, by Paul Tabor and Anthony Williams near Waun y Gilfach along the road, not far from the NPT/Bridgend border. The exact location is in Bridgend County at SS 84651 87676. Last seen flying down into the small line of trees next to farm house.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

North Gower

1 of 2 GWE feeding in the creeks out from Llanrhidian. Photo from outer mound at Wernffrwd
Whiteford -3 Long-tailed Duck, 38 Eider, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Great Norther Diver, 4 Slavonian Grebe and 1 Jack Snipe

Wernffrwd - 2 Great White Egret, m+ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 2cy Glaucous Gull, 2 Short-eared Owl and 1 Barn Owl (MHi, RRy, KL)

Black-throated Diver - Lisvane Res

Still present this morning and showing well from the observation platform and car park.

A photographer who regularly contributes to this site was witnessed by myself, another birder and members of the public, trespassing in the north-east corner of the site in order to obtain photographs of the bird. I will refrain from naming the individual concerned, but will not hesitate to do so if I see his photographs of the bird posted on this or any other website. Please note this is unacceptable, selfish behaviour that contravenes the birdwatchers code and risks the currently limited access to this site being withdrawn to all. Besides, it portrays a very negative image of the majority of birders and photographers who read notices and abide by the rules.

Friday, 15 February 2013

News #1

Report of a Wood Lark at Llanilid (PM, JM, AMe)

Black-throated Diver still Lisvane Res. [multi obs]

Common Scoter 3 [all males] off Cardiff Heliport [DRWG]

2 years on...

The blog celebrated it's 2nd birthday yesterday. Congratulations and thanks go to Jeff Slocombe for providing the new header photo.

Our 2nd birthday finds the recording area in a rich vein of form with a lots of good birds spread around the county. In recent days we've had an impressive collection of birds confirmed, or likely still present, in the area.

Lesser Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter, Black-throated Diver, Black-necked Grebe, Great White Egret (2), Spotted Redshank, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull (2), Bonaparte's Gull (2), Great Grey Shrike and Snow Bunting.

All good stuff, and hopefully more to be found...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Snow Bunting-Aberavon,taken yesterday.

Black-throated Diver - Lisvane Res

Juv/1st-w still present this morning at first light.

Still present 11.15 [MCP & DRWG].

PLEASE NOTE: Would all observers please keep to the carpark or platform viewing area, as all other areas of the reservoir are restricted.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Lisvane Black Throated Diver -additional photos

A few more photos of this evening's BTD on Lisvane, plus a rather dark and shaky video clip.
Viewed from the Black Oak Road viewing platform, in fading light.
A fairly graceful-looking diver with a slender dagger-shaped bill, rounded back of head / neck and a slight bulge on forehead. Head a shade lighter than dark back, darker lores, dark vertical stripe down centre of otherwise clear white front of neck. Strong contrast between white cheeks and dark cap, and between dark back of neck and pale front of neck, with no half-collar. Pronounced white flank stripe always visible, usually (but not always) with larger white flash at rear of flank. Fairly uniform back with slight scalloping pattern.

Black-throated Diver at Lisvane Res

Rob Thomas has sent a few photos of the Black-throated Diver he found on Lisvane Res, this afternoon. Either Rob, or myself, will post a few more of this bird a little later.
{Note: This is the first record for Cardiff since Nov. 2001}

Also today

Snow Bunting still at Aberavon Beach (ND)

2cy still Glaucous Gull at Wernffrwd (WT)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Glaucous Gull at Dowlais

A shot of the GG on the roof of Peacocks taken by Mike Hogan. It seems to be doing the rounds in north Merthyr and then going to roost at Pontsticill Res. The Iceland Gull must be around the area in the day too.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Great Grey Shrike in NPT

Rob Jones found a Great Grey Shrike at a location with no public access, today. Rob took a few record shots with the phone, shown here. It's been a quiet winter for Shrikes so far, but I notice a few have been turning up across the country recently, so hopefully there are more to be found before the winter is out. We're certainly not short of clear fell these days. I made the trip to Bwlch y Lladron on 8/2/13 but couldn't find any Shrikes during the visit.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Glaucous Gull : Wernffrwd.Gower

Few record shots from this morning following a visit by Peter Morgan and myself,nice to meet up and chat with Chris Brewer,Adam Tilt,Dave Pritchard,a passing in the car Neil Edwards and a visiting birder from Stoke.

Velvet Scoter off Crymlyn Burrows Beach

A couple of record shots of the f/imm Velvet Scoter this afternoon. It was loosely associating with 3(2m) Common Scoter. The shown freeze frame shots from the video I took of it, just about illustrate some key features.

Comment Moderation

I regret to report that earlier today the Blog was subject to a number of unsavoury comments. Starting off with a pointless comment on the "Aging Gulls" post, but unfortunately becoming personal and insulting towards me, by the end. As such all comments are now subject to moderation before they go live, this includes blog authors. We will endeavour to make sure the lag time between submitting a comment and it going live on the blog is kept to a minimum. Apologies for any inconvenience but this is the best way to make sure that the decency of this blog is maintained. The person who made the comments also chose to remain anonymous and so any hopes I have of confronting our apparent differences in a grown-up fashion would appear to be unrealistic?

Friday, 8 February 2013


Lesser Scaup [male] still present today at CBWR and 2 Greater Scaup [fems] in Cardiff Bay.
Note: Count of Tufted Duck at four sites in Cardiff today [Lisvane Res., Roath Park Lake, CBWR & Cardiff Bay] produced 260 birds along with 43 Pochard. (DRWG)
Snow Bunting at Aberavon Beach [MHp] (see below)
Male Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl [2] & Goldeneye [6] at Rhaslas pond [MCP]
Immature Glaucous Gull & Iceland Gull still present at Pontsticill Res. [evening roost] [MHg]

Drake Lesser Scaup showing from boardwalk Cardiff Bay Wetlands (AC)
Black-necked Grebe still at Kenfig (ASR)
Short-eared Owl at Heliport (RM)
Short-eared Owl at Baglan (EJo)
Black Redstart at Penarth end of Cardiff Bay Barrage (DTa)

Snow Bunting at Aberavon Beach

The Snow Bunting was showing well at Aberavon Beach, this morning. Not at it's more commonly found location but this time showing along the beach and dunes between the car park off Scarlet Ave and the Naval Social Club. A 300m stretch centre grid ref SS 7321 9083. Also of note was the complete lack of water bird numbers in Baglan Bay in reasonable conditions for viewing the entire Bay; 2m Common Scoter, no divers and 11 Great Crested Grebe.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


2nd Cal Yr Glaucous Gull in fields east of Llyn Pen y Wern, Dowlais (MHo)

                                                                  (c) M. Hogan
                                 {This individual is a vice-county first for Brecknockshire}

Ad Bonaparte's Gull sill at Ogmore (NPR, GPo)
1st W Little Gull at Ogmore (NPR, GPo)
7+ Waxwings at Canada Road, Cardiff (DTa)
2 Common Sandpipers on Neath River at Neath (NEd)

Aging Gulls.

You say potato, I say juvenile..
Just a quick note to open up a discussion or whatever, but to my mind at least, it's becoming more compelling, comparing how birders are naming the age of these Gulls than the birds themselves. That can't be right! Searching for answers online is a accident waiting to happen and my earlier attempt at clearing the issue up now looks, to some extent, misleading! That post didn't bring about any comments and continued variation in age classification is being used across the local websites; but admittedly more than one bird is involved here. Certainly, from the photos, the Pontsticill Glaucous Gull looks far more faded than the Burry Inlet bird.
Gull Research Organisation has been my latest online destination for enlightenment and I see that on their site, which is full of experts, the photos of the Gulls are classified by the subject's age in calendar years, before reaching sub-adult status and ultimately adulthood.
Is gull moult too complex an issue to use terms like juvenile, 1st Winter, 1st Summer and so on.? Should we also be using 1cy, 2cy, 3cy, etc. I can see the advantages of both; perhaps it doesn't matter?
A reference that I own is Gulls by P.J. Grant (1986) and that openly refers to periods where juvenile (summer to Oct), 1st winter (September to March)  and 1st Summer (March to September) occur in Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull. There has been progress in the understanding of Gulls since then and a good book (that I don't own) is Gulls by Olsen and Larson (2004), which may shed more light on the matter? My own recent use of juvenile, to class the gulls concerned in our area recently, is in no small part following the lead of the National Bird Alert Services who rarely deviate from classing these "1st winter birds" as juveniles. I must admit that my own persuasion is tending back to the more general guidance provided by Grant.
I suspect that when we read about a Glaucous Gull which has been reported, but not accompanied by a photo, many of us would imagine what it looked like irrespective of whether it has been classed as juv, juv/1stW, 1stW or 2cy, and that image would tend to be the same?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Pontsticill Reservoir Gull Roost

The juv Iceland Gull & juv Glaucous Gull were once again watched coming into roost, this evening.

The Iceland Gull arrived at 16:33 and the Glaucous Gull came a short while afterwards at 16:37 (BS)

                                                                   (c) M. Hogan (taken 4th)

Waxwings still in Cardiff

A small flock of around 10+ Waxwings are frequenting trees in the Canada Rd area of Maindy (off Whitchurch Rd.) [HP-J & AM et al]

Monday, 4 February 2013


1st W Glaucous Gull & 1st W Iceland Gull still at Pontsticill Res. evening gull roost today [CJ]

Still 10 Waxwings at Canada Rd, Maindy, Cardiff [HP-J]

Black-necked Grebe still KNNR

Late News: The adult male Lesser Scaup at CBWR 3rd Feb [AB, per PB]

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Field Trip Whiteford & Llanrhidian

Whiteford - 1 Long-tailed Duck, c30 Eider, 7+Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Great Northern Diver, 3+ Slavonian Grebe, 1 Jack Snipe and 2 Greenshank

Llanrhidian - 2 Great White Egret, 3+ Hen Harrier, 2 Green Sandpiper and 2 Barn Owl

Penclawydd Pill - 1 Spotted Redshank

Kenfig - Black-necked Grebe and Bittern (RHAT)

Baglan Dunes - 1 Short-eared Owl (CHi)

Pontsticill Res, Merthyr

Juvenile/1st-w Glaucous Gull (see photo below) and juvenile/1st-w Iceland Gull in the gull roost late this afternoon. Both arrived with Herring Gulls from the south (Merthyr) and joined the roost about midway between the car park on the west side and sailing club on east side. Glaucous came in at 16.05 and Iceland at 16.45 and at one point seen side by side. Roost comprised c.800 Herring Gulls and c.40 Lesser Black-backeds by time I left at 17.20, though many still arriving as the light rapidly faded.
                                                                  record digiscope photo PB

Friday, 1 February 2013

Bays of Gower

I took a tour of the Gower Bays today which didn't quite produce what I was expecting.

Rhossili Bay - no sign of the beached LFP Whale along the beach at Llangennith? It was there on Monday, so the reason for it's absence could be the recent high tides, removed or I missed it? A little disappointing out to sea with far fewer Common Scoter (<500) than more recently and only 1 Red-throated Diver of note, near Worms Head. Llangennith Dunes produced 2 Short-eared Owls, together quarrelling for a bit, and a female Brambling in with the decent sized mixed finch flock at Rhossili (c100 Chaffinch, c100 Linnet).

Port Eynon Bay - 2 Razorbill, 1 Guillemot and 3 Common Scoter

Oxwich Bay - 1 Great Northern Diver. Also 1 Teal, 47 Common Scoter, 18 Great Crested Grebe and 6  Razorbill

Swansea Bay & Bracelet Bay - 3 Razorbill

Elsewhere - Black-necked Grebe and Bittern at Kenfig today (RJK)


Snow Bunting still at Baglan Beach this pm [MHn]
The Bonaparte's Gull (ad W) still at Ogmore [DCB]
At least 10 Sanderling with the Dunlin flock at Rhymney Est., species uncommon in Cardiff also 2 Peregrines hunting there.
NOTE: The path at Cors Crycydd Reen will be closed from 2nd-6th Feb. due to work on overhead pylons. Also the All Wales coastal path between the 'black pipe' Rhymney Estuary and the county boundary is to be upgraded shortly - disturbance will be increased, I noted 3 dog-walkers there today.