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, 30 June 2013

Future Rarity?

I was surprised to find a Grey Partridge this Saturday 29th June on the outskirts of Ogmore-by-Sea, whilst looking for Little Owls. This is my first in the Ogmore area since spring 2001, when I recorded a pair on three separate occasions at Ogmore Down. I'm not sure whether to take any encouragement from this sighting, but good to see nevertheless.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Birds of Conservation Concern (BoCC3) - Red List Species

Spotted Flycatcher - chilling
A couple of days around the Upper Neath Valley, during the last week has been very enjoyable. Some real brighten-up-your-day birds have been on show. The reason for the real sense of satisfaction felt when watching these birds (certainly in my case) lies partly in their individual characters, but also sadly because of their apparent steady decline at the national level!
Nightjar - in territorial dispute
Spotted Flycatcher, a rather laid-back bird in my opinion and certainly not going to be rushed into fly-catching, has returned a 81% decline in population in the 25 year period up to 2009;
Nightjar, exuberant and seemingly fearless at times (I've been known to duck on more than one occasion in their presence over the years!), has shown a 51% decline in range;
Tree Pipit, with a wonderful song that goes on all day that makes me wonder whether the male birds do anything else other than sing, has returned a 70% decline in population in the 25 year period to 2009;
Tree Pipit - parachuting while singing
Luckily in our recording area there are still reliable places to see these birds, where they breed. In the case of the 3 shown above, interestingly, all were making use of artificially created habitats, more by accident than design, and promisingly there were concentrations/hotspots of each species. Other highlights from today included a fairly late male Cuckoo and 3 Crossbills, including a stunning brick red male.

Ref. - Eaton MA, Brown AF, Noble DG, Musgrove AJ, Hearn R, Aebischer NJ, Gibbons DW, Evans A and Gregory ND (2009) Birds of Consevation Concern3: the population status of birds in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. British Birds 102, pp296-341

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Kenfig Rivermarsh

Purple Heron still present and seen well in flight. Other highlights included a Hobby and an out of season Green Sandpiper. Lots of  the commoner Warbler activity too, plus 5 Lapwing

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Lavernock Seawatch

am:   4 Storm Petrel, 200 Manx, 2 Gannet, 2 Fulmar, Common Scoter

evening:   Storm Petrel, 3 Bonxies, Arctic Skua (AB), 3 Gannet, 2 Sandwich Tern

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Sabine's Gull

A Sabine's Gull [age unk] & Pom Skua off Porthcawl 19.00hrs this evening (AB, AH).

Storm Petrel, Bonxie & Whimbrel [5] at Port Talbot Harbour (RJ & GR)

Lavernock seawatch

17:00-20:00 all d/c

Pom skua (pale phase) 18.35, 4 Bonxies, 6 Kittiwake, 3 Gannet, 20 Manx, Guillemot, auk sp., 2 Fulmar.

Seawatch porthcawl 22.6.13..

8.20-10.20 am.
1 ad bonxie d/c
3 storm petrels d/c
Auk sp 4 d/c
8 Gannets .2 adults rest immatures.d/c
9 Fulmar.
Manxies at least 8000 d/c. We counted 375 in 5 min and this steady flow continued till we left, so 8k being a fair estimate.
With JR and later AMe and NS

Thursday, 20 June 2013

NPT Nightjars

A look for Nightjars west of Glyn-Neath yesterday evening returned activity from 5No 1km squares. At least 6 individuals involved, but double counting between neighbouring squares could not be ruled out. Multiple sightings involving birds that had alighted on the forestry tracks, with male and female birds noted.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

New British List

The eighth edition of the British List has just been published in Ibis


Or if you want the plain list

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Red-necked Phalarope video

A video grab from the video I took of the Red-necked Phalarope at Kenfig yesterday. The video can be found on the link below

Red-necked Phalarope video - Click here
Pre-2000 records shown by smaller tetrads.

Sea watches this weekend

Storm Petrel from Port Talbot (15/6/13)
Some seawatching reports from the weekend have continued the rich run of form from the late spring passage, in the recording area. Perhaps we're still in the late spring passage period?

The highlight is obviously the Long-tailed Skua past Lavernock Point, but not far behind must be a group of 5 Pomarine Skuas past Tutt Head. Interestingly a flock of 5 Pomarine Skuas past Tutt Head last year also (1/7/12) [SM&PM]. Later that July Simon and Peter Murray found a Roseate Tern passing the same location, a most sought after bird in Glamorgan, so hopefully a chance of another Roseate or two in the next few weeks?

Lavernock Point (AM 16/6/13))
Long-tailed Skua (1) u/c (08:05)

Porthcawl (09:00-11.20 16/6/13)
Storm Petrel (4)
[AMe, MTh)

Tutt Head (16:20-18:45 15/6/13)
Storm Petrel (2)
Pomarine Skua (5 @ 18:08)
Arctic Skua (3) (2 pale @ 16:55) (1 dark @ 18:28)
[OGa] [MHu]

Porthcawl (AM 15/6/13)
Storm Petrel (3)

Port Talbot (06:30-13:30 15/6/13)
Storm Petrel 1 (lingering for 45mins)


A Long-tailed Skua reported off Lavernock Point this am [WMS] also Gannet, Razorbill & good numbers of Manx Shearwater.

Unfortunately no sign of the Red-necked Phalarope at Kenfig NNR this am. However the Purple Heron was seen flying over the saltmarsh.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Red-necked Phalarope at Kenfig

Graham Roblin found this Red-necked Phalarope on a sandy scrape at Kenfig, this afternoon. He got the news out quickly and many birders were able to enjoy the bird if not the trek! Plumage was maybe a little drab and not quite as colourful as one might expect for the species at this time of year. Possibly indicating that this bird is a 1st summer male?
Congratulations to Graham on his find, which keeps the Kenfig River area on a hot streak.
Also showing from this location, albeit briefly, the Purple Heron and a Hobby.

Records of Red-necked Phalarope in Glamorgan
1956: Kenfig Pool 30th Sept. [3]
1960: Aberavon 11th Sept. [1]
1960: Worm's Head 17th Sept. [2], with 1 there on 4th Oct.
1963: Whitmore Bay, Barry 12th Apr. [1]
1963: Blackpill 5th July [1]
1963: Kenfig Pool 27th Oct to 3rd Nov. [1]
1963: Kenfig Pool 24th Nov. [1]
1964: Blackpill 19th & 20th Sept. [1]
1975: Neath Est. 27th Sept. [1]
1977: Kenfig Pool 6th Mar. [1]
1987: Sker Pool 18th Oct. [1]
2000: Watermill, Ogmore 13th Nov. [1]
2003: Eglwys Nunydd Res. 21st to 24th Sept. [1]
2008: Watermill, Ogmore 15th & 16th Oct. [1]
2013: Kenfig NNR 15th June [1]

Seawatch porthcawl 15.6.13

Manx 2500 d/c at least
Kittiwake 3 d/c
Gannet 10 d/c
Auk sp 1 d/c
Storm petrel 3 d/c
Fulmar 1
And at Ogmore 1 s/p Black-tailed Godwit

Tutt Head (Mumbles)
Pom Skua 5 >W

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sea watching News

Porthcawl (Morning) (GPo) (AMe)

Great Northern Diver 1
Storm Petrel 3
Pomarine Skua 1
Arctic Skua1 (pale)
Common Tern 8

Port Talbot Dock (Evening) (RJ, GRa)

Storm Petrel 1

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Coed Craig Ruperra

Four Nightjars (3m & 1f) seen flying (& churring, calling, wing-clapping) around the area last night (10th), giving a real show, sometimes within a few feet of where we were standing. [MCP & DRWG]

Dippers feeding fledged young on the R. Rhymney at Old St. Mellons this am.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Confirming Breeding

Confirming a breeding bird is a very rewarding part of any days birding. I was somewhat blown away by a Redstart pair at Melincourt, just over a week ago. Nesting in a hole in a tree, about 1m above the ground and right next to the public footpath does sound a bit ridiculous, but I'm not necessarily against this type of behaviour!
It was nice also to find that the Stonechat pairs at Crymlyn Burrows have successfully raise young once more this year, and males were singing again there, over the weekend.
Stumbling upon fledgeling Willow Warblers is always a welcome experience. These at the Neath Canal, this afternoon, were a timely reminder that even in the middle of Neath, not all the birds heard singing early in the year are migrants passing through.
It's nice also to record these breeding confirmations straight to the BTO via the BirdTrack app

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Nice Surprise

While sitting out in the sun at work [breaktime] at RPC on Kenfig Industrial Estate, the Purple Heron seen on and off around Kenfig River marsh flew low over the factory going towards the river marsh being mobbed by Gulls. It had been in the reedbeds in the south east corner of Eglwys, an area which is no longer covered by birders. I guess we now know why it is only intermittently seen at the rivermouth - because it has been commuting between there an Eglwys. RPC is the nearest factory on the estate to Eglwys [ its the one with the silo buildings] so I am spoilt really.

Rhaslas (Common Swift)

This swift over Rhaslas made the observer drop his scope (again) before he noticed it was a feather and not a white throat patch! [per Mike Hogan]
Weighted distribution of Swift records across the county.
Undoubtedly some observer bias, but the main feeding areas show up well.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


Ringtail Harrier sp. over Roath this evening being mobbed by gulls. Moving high up and to the west.

Red Kite over St. Mellons.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Year Listing NPT

Black-tailed Godwit at Brunel Dock (c) R. Jones
Back in 2010 I decided to try and see as many species of bird inside the boundaries of Neath Port Talbot - year listing NPT. I quite enjoyed the challenge but found it quite tough by the end, especially trying to find birds I thought I'd be guaranteed to find. Going into 2010 Mike Cram held the database record for the area, which stood at 134 (I think?). I'd managed to break Mike's record by the end of May 2010 and went on to set a target of 165 for the area.

This year Rob Jones, Gwyn Randall and I are having a friendly race to try and break the 2010 total and by the end of May, Rob's NPT year list stands at 161 and I'm a bit further back on 156. The 2010 total will easily be broken by all 3 of us and hopefully the new record will be set above 180, which will almost certainly be set by Rob. This will bring NPT's year list more in line with neighbouring counties, and not dwarfed by them as is the present situation.

Brigend; 186; (MHn)
Swansea; 188; (BS)

The value of year listing towards the efforts of bird conservation is debatable and I'm sure that many will consider it a waste of effort, money and time? However, it can help provide a snapshot record of bird statuses in an area, particularly when the species that are sometimes considered uncommon, prove difficult to find at all! Clearly one might find the converse to be true in some cases? It also keeps motivation high to go out and record birds, and records taken from the year will undoubtedly be useful further down the line.

The photo above of the Black-tailed Godwit is a good record shot; for the record itself as much as the photo. This bird was found by Bob Anderson on 26/5/13 and there are probably less than 5 records of this species each year in NPT; 2 records in 2010, 1 record in 2011 and 2 records in 2012. Following the guidelines used by WRP for highlighting species of birds that would need to be backed up with a good description or photo to allow for the record to be approved; if NPT had a rarities committee (perish the thought!) then Black-tailed Godwit would be a D-list species. I don't think Bob or Rob would have had too much trouble getting this one approved though....

Note: database records are just that and it is quite possible for others to have recorded higher totals than the ones referred to here.