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.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

RBG and Water Pipit at Neath Abbey Saltmarsh

 The Ring-billed Gull spent some time feeding on the flooded saltmarsh not far from the roundabout around high tide, today. Also after weeks of checking, a Water Pipit finally put in a very brief appearance before disappearing into the maze of creeks and channels, viewed from the roundabout as well.

Osprey,Cantref res this am.

One of 2 Ospreys seen this morning ,although this photo was taken at Cantref res one bird was seen heading back towards Llwyn-on res.


An Iceland Gull [prob 1st W] at Ogmore [from bridge to WTW] per M. Chown

Also sum plum Water Pipit at Portobello [GS]

Adult Bonaparte's Gull in Cardiff Bay viewable from the overspill carpark at Cardiff yacht club.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Pale-bellied and Dark-bellied Brent Geese

                                          Pale-bellied Brent

                                          Dark-bellied Brent

3 adult Pale-bellied and 1 adult Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Aberthaw rivermouth. Seen 16:30-17:00 when flew off in direction of Hinkley Point, Somerset (which appears to be a regular wintering spot for P-b and D-b Brents).


Lesser Scaup at Cosmeston (JDW)
Slavonian Grebe at Wernffrwd (BS)
1+ Osprey in the Llwyn-on Res and Cantref Res Area (CJ)(MB)
Little Ringed Plover at Watermill, Ogmore (NPR)
Ring-billed Gull at Neath Abbey salt marsh (MB)
Short-eared Owl at Rhaslas (CJ)
M+F Ring Ouzel at Ogmore (JS)
M Ring Ouzel at Ram Grove (OGa)
2 Water Pipit and Scandinavian Rock Pipit Burry Inlet between Gowerton and Berthlwyd (BS)
Bonaparte's Gull [ad] in Cardiff Bay from yacht club carpark [MCP]
Snow Bunting at Killay, Swansea [DH]

Friday, 29 March 2013

Ring ouzel

                                  The Ogmore bird, found and photographed by Bob Hopkins.

VC41 News

28th March
The Great Grey Shrike was again at Llanwonno [KH]

The Ring Ouzel was still at Ogmore [DR]

Two summer plumage Slavonian Grebes at Whiteford Pt., Gower [JD]

A Black Redstart at Prospect Place, Cardiff Bay [CJ]

Monday, 25 March 2013


25th March
Ring Ouzel & Black Redstart at Ogmore [RH]. Little Gull still present in Cardiff Bay [JDW].

24th March
The drake Lesser Scaup was in CBWR & the Bonaparte's Gull in Cardiff Bay 24th [WMS]. Also a Little Gull present.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Black necked grebe in summer plumage at Kenfig NNR. Nice looking bird!

Avocet at Ogmore estuary this evening.

Cardiff Bay

Little Gull
Bonaparte's Gull, Little Gull + 12 Sand Martins in the bay.
Distribution of Little Gull records in Glamorgan

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Ring-billed Gull still present

1st W Ring-billed Gull was present at the Neath Abbey salt marsh this afternoon, just after 15:00, viewed from the roundabout. It was quite mobile flying in from the Skewen Wharf direction and feeding with the Black-headed Gulls before flying up-river towards Neath.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Flat Holm Records 2012

A list of the highlights from Flat Holm April-Dec. 2012
[Thanks to Sam Whitfield & FHP + other island observers]

Mute Swan 1 juv. on 2/11/12 [First Island Record]
Mute Swan 2 on 4/12/12
Mute Swan 1 12/12/12
Hobby 1 on 18/10/12 [First Island Record]
Hobby 1 on 26/10/12
Merlin 1 on 24/12/12
Purple Sandpiper 2 on 29/04/12
Purple Sandpiper 2 on 13/09/12
Sanderling 20 on 17/11/12
Snipe 1 on 27/10/12 [First Island Record]
Snipe 1 on 19/11/12
Snipe 1 on 23/12/12
Little Gull 4 on 28/10/12 [First Island Record]
Short-eared Owl 1 on 1/12/12 [2nd Island Record]
Short-eared Owl 1 on 24/12/12
Swallow 1 on 5/11/12
House Martin 1 on 2/11/12
Water Pipit 1 on 10/12/12 [First Island Record]
Stonechat 4 on 2/11/12
Whinchat 1 on 21/10/12 [First since 2005]
Redstart 1 fem. on 17/11/12
Black Redstart 1 on 1/04/12
Black Redstart 1 between 23-26/10/12
Mistle Thrush 1 on 4/12/12
Ring Ouzel 1 on 26/10/12 [First Island Record]
Garden Warbler 1 on 28/10/12
Lesser Whitethroat 1 on 5/09/12
Firecrest 1 on 16/11/12
Firecrest 1 on 25/11/12
Great Tit 1 on 13/10/12 [Scarce on Flat Holm]
Long-tailed Tit 1 8/11/12 [First Island Record]
Chiffchaff 30 on 6/11/12
Chiffchaff 30 on 21/12/12
Bullfinch 1 on 27/10/12 [First Island Record]
Bullfinch 1 on 3/11/12
A report of 2 Twite on the island on 26/10/12

All record stats per GBC Database 2013

Monday, 18 March 2013

Great White Egrets at Llanrhidian

The two birds are still lurking around the pools at Llanrhidian though their appearances are highly unpredictable; last year one disappeared around about this time, the other lingering until mid-April.
Distribution of Great White Egret records in Glamorgan

Great Grey Shrike at Llanwonno

Great Grey Shrike at Llanwonno, same area as 2011 bird (PB) This is the bird that was first seen by MJB & PH on 10th & 16th March at Coed Cae Aberaman . Well done to all 3 observers.

                                                            (c) P. Bristow

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sunday News

Bonaparte's Gull still in Cardiff Bay, seen mid-morning (JR, GNS)

Drake Garganey still at Kenfig saltmarsh (RJ, CB) (KL)

Great Northern Diver in Broughton Bay, Gower (OGa)

Great Grey Shrike still at Afan Argoed

Showed well in the same area near the track between 16:00 to 18:00 (GR, DMC, MHi)

Saturday, 16 March 2013


1st W Ring-billed Gull still around playing fields at Cwrt Herbert at 16:30. Seen in flight with other gulls before dropping out of view into fenced off area. Nearby a 1st W Mediterranean Gull and Merlin over the Neath Abbey saltmarsh. (MHi)

No sign of the Great Grey Shrike near Crynant during a 4hr search of the area (MHi,RJ)

Great Grey Shrike again at Coed Cae Aberaman (ST015986) at 15.15 (MJB)

No sign of the Grand Slam in Cardiff (multi obs)

Friday, 15 March 2013

Slavonian Grebe at Lisvane Res

                          Couple of record shots of the Slav Grebe at Lisvane Res. this pm.

Thursday, 14 March 2013


5 Slavonian Grebe together just off Whiteford Sands, today, 1 in near sp
Also 1 Ringtail and 1 Short-eared Owl at Llanrhidian this evening.

BNG still at Kenfig Pool [RT & LR]

Garganey at Kenfig Saltmarsh

A record shot of the drake garganey on Kenfig Saltmarsh today, in a big flock of teal at the SE end of the marsh. Full sightings on the GBC page.

Bittern at Lamby lake today.

Not sure if there's enough detail in these photos to distinguish it from the previous photos of the last Bittern at Lamby lake!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Another colour-ringed Ringed Plover

Right: green / Left: red over red
Another colour-ringed Ringed Plover, today. Details will be sent and feedback will be posted when they are returned.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Yellow-legged gull and scaup at Lisvane

A few record shots of a yellow-legged gull at Lisvane this morning, the first I've seen here since New Year's Day. A male scaup was also seen here this afternoon, by Allan Dowson (reported on Glamorgan Birds).

Monday, 11 March 2013

Great Grey Shrikes

Seems like a good time to find one of these; 2013 birds shown in black.
I'm not sure if the clusters of dots reflect preferred areas for this species or the activities of Glamorgan's birdwatchers, but the 2013 records clearly follow a similar pattern to previous years? A visit to Margam could be rewarded.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Other news

A new Great Grey Shrike in Glamorgan today at Coed Cae Aberaman ST015986 ((PH, MJB)

1st W Ring-billed Gull again on playing fields at Cwrt Herbert (SM, PM, TMT)

3 Sand Martin this morning at Swansea Vale (AWF)

6 Sand Martin at Cardiff Bay (SRH)

Ringed Plover (ringed) on Aberavon Beach

Right:green & Left:red over orange
Rob Jones picked out a colour-ringed Ringed Plover amongst a small group of waders on Aberavon Beach, this afternoon. I'll send out details tomorrow and provide feedback here, as and when I get it.

Quite a productive bit of birding from Brunel Dock to Aberavon Beach and back produced a couple of Sand Martins heading up-river over Brunel Dock. A Short-eared Owl and male Merlin in Baglan Dunes. The Merlin put up a Sky Lark and gave chase for about 30 seconds while the Sky Lark appeared to be in complete control of the situation; celebrating the positive outcome by bursting into song as the Merlin carried on its way. Close by in the flooded part of the dunes 2 Water Rail and 1+ Jack Snipe.

Great Grey Shrike at Afan Argoed

Couple of "record" shots from this afternoon,bird showed at 3.50pm in same general area as grid ref posted yesterday.
Always distant and only stayed for about 40mins before disappearing.
Best pics may probably be obtained by "digi-scoping".

Lesser Scaup

Various people are still reporting Lesser Scaup at Cosmeston [and CBWR]. Is this really the genuine article? The only bird I have seen on and off since I got back from hold, appears to be the suspected hybrid Tufted x Gt Scaup that I originally thought was the Lsr when I first found it, until photos were taken. The bird I saw at Cossie on Sat during the GBC walk seemed to be the hybrid to me, just from the size [it appears to be slightly bulkier than Tufty], although the black bill nail did seem v small and restricted to the very centre of the bill tip. Also the nape > rear crown shape does not seem quite right for Lsr and there is a distinct 'bump' implying a vestigial tuft. I'll try & get some HD video next time I visit.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Interesting Chiffie

 I noticed a couple of Chiffchaffs in Port Talbot, today. One of them caught my eye as being less usual. The ear-coverts were a nice warm buff colour and overall it looked brown-grey above and pale below. The other Chiffchaff that it was with looked generally more green in tone.

 Camera to hand I spent the next few minutes trying to get some record shots of a very active bird in poor light. Not a great combination and not great results. Some of the shots show the warmth of the ear-coverts and brown cap that becomes greyer going down the mantle. No yellow in the supercilium is good , and also bolder behind the eye which is also good. Some green tones in the wing can be made from some angles.
 However, what I was really hoping for was a distinctive call and that never came, both birds remained silent. Looking at the photos I'd also like to see a bit more contrast between the green tones in the wing and the "greyer" mantle and back. Whether the lack of good light contributes to this not showing in the photos or whether it just doesn't occur on this bird is debatable. I guess without a nice recording of the call this bird will remain just a chiffie.
 Any comments welcome on this subject especially warm buff ear-coverts occurring on non-tristis Chiffchaffs.


Bonaparte's Gull in Cardiff Bay this morning, best seen off Prospect Place. Common Scoter still present in Bay until 11am but not seen later, presumably flushed off by boats. Lesser Scaup at Cosmeston.

Great Grey Shrikes in Glamorgan

A Great Grey Shrike was seen at Afan Argoed, today, by Elaine J. It was showing in some clear fell with spindly Birch and Ash remaining (SS827941) between 3-4pm this afternoon. It was also seen in the same area at the same time of day, yesterday (8/3/13).

Earlier this week (5/3/13) a Great Grey Shrike was found at Nant Gau (SN8902) (CR, MST)

The Great Grey Shrike found earlier again, this year, near Crynant, is on forestry managed land which appears to have no general public restrictions. The bird has not been looked for, to my knowledge, for a couple of weeks but may still be around? Last known sighting came from SN764050 on 24/2/13. Access via St Illtyd's Walk at Crynant.


1st W Ring-billed Gull on playing fields this morning (MB)
Ad Bonaparte's Gull still at Portobello, Ogmore (MB)
f  Black Redsart Nash Point lighthouse (JR, SRH)

Friday, 8 March 2013


Lesser Scaup at Cosmeston. Common Scoter drake in Cardiff Bay.

RBG still at Neath Abbey Salltmarsh

Once again viewed at Neath Abbey Saltmarsh c15:00. Stayed a few minutes before flying towards Neath centre. Very few gulls along the river around 3pm. Many more earlier on at midday but no sign of the RBG.


VC41 Spring Arrivals:
Sand Martins have been seen in Cardiff & at Fonmon in the Vale, both 7th Mar.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Ring-billed Gull around Neath

 The 1st W Ring-billed Gull was showing well in the same general area, again this morning. It flew in to join other gulls on the riverbank at 08:45, but only stayed for about 10 mins before flying off towards Cwrt Herbert playing fields. Later it was relocated with the mainly Black-headed Gull flock on those fields, which can be viewed from Neath Abbey Road. It spent about an hour here, and was quite mobile between fields and lamp posts, between 09:00 to 10:00 before flying off towards Neath centre.
 Later a quick check of the Neath Saltmarsh gull roost at high tide (from Milland Rd Ind Est) found the bird present amongst the other gulls 11:15 to 11:45. The gathered gulls were quite flighty on this occasion and it remained distant.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Ring-billed Gull

Still present at Neath Abbey Saltmarsh over the high tide this morning.

Ring billed Gull News & sighting history within NPT

Ring-billed Gull still present on the saltmarsh at Neath Abbey, this morning at 09:40. (ND, NPR)

No sign of BTD at Lisvane Res, however male Greater Scaup still present.

Just to add a bit more information on Ring-billed Gull sightings in NPT; some documented records are as follows :-

22 Jan 1990 [1st W] Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir (NO)
13 Mar 1994 [Ad W] Jersey Marine (RHAT)
15 Dec 1996 [Ad W] Port Talbot Docks (DMC, GR, PR, DS)
05 Sep 1997 [Ad W] Aberavon Beach (DMC)
06 Jan 1999 [Ad W] Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir (DR)
28 Jan 2001 [Ad W] Margam Wharf (DMC, GR, DS)
25 Jan 2004 [Ad W] Neath Estuary (DMC)
Ring-billed Gull records in MapMate (includes all NPT records).
Black = 2013
Red (large) = 2000-2012
Red (small) = pre 2012

Black Redstart at Porthcawl 
Seen in local allotments
                                                                  (c) K. Squires

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Ring-billed Gull still Neath Abbey Saltmarsh

The 1st W Ring-billed Gull showed well this morning between 09:00 and 10:30. Once again it was amongst the gathered gulls at the side of the river and later departed, heading NE towards Cwrt Herbert. It's not yet clear where it goes to after leaving the area or whether it returns periodically throughout the day to the river, to wash, like many of the local gulls do? Neither is it clear what time it turns up at the salt marsh. However, the timing of it's departure from the last 2 days has been 50mins after high tide (Port Talbot).
High tide gull roost is generally found at SS743969. Parking inside Milland Road industrial estate at SS74559677. Follow path to bridge over canal and continue out to the Neath River to view roost on the opposite side.