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.

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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, 20 October 2013

29 years ago...

...I made my fourth visit to Glamorgan; my first and second visits being Oxwich and Kenfig in 1982 to see Purple Heron and Little Whimbrel and my third visit was earlier in 1984 to see Ring-billed Gull at Blackpill. Our destination this time, on our return journey from Scilly to Sunderland, was Jersey Marine where a Sociable Plover was found the previous day by Richard Harbird in the company of Ian Tew (not DG as stated in Gower Birds Vol.4, No.3). Incredibly, before seeing the bird Ian joked with Richard, "spot the Sociable Plover" as a flock of Lapwing took off - really, what are the chances of that happening!
Anyway, following a night's kip on the verge of what is now the Amazon roundabout, this global rarity duly put in a brief but much appreciated appearance to a rather small assemblage of birders shortly after dawn, then disappeared into the distance and was not seen again as far as I'm aware. One unfortunate and subsequently desperate soul from our group disappeared for a few minutes to grab an ill-timed breakfast snack! Below is my notebook entry along with scanned prints of the photographs taken by Ian the day they found it.
(c) I. Tew
(c) I. Tew
Let's hope 2013 can deliver a bird of this quality before the year is out. 


Mark Hipkin said...

Cracking post Barry. I love the notes and photos. Good also that you've cleared up some mistakes in the documenting of this amazing record. Thanks to you and Ian for making it possible to revisit one of the flagship finds from the county.

Gary Lewis said...

I remember it well.I was with 3 other birder's Steve Dark, Dave Hanford and Richard Herbett on a birder's weekend in North Norfolk. We called into Nancy's cafe to read the log to see whats about and saw a posting of Sociable Plover at Jersey Marine. We all said someone must be having a joke at our expense, until we called home to find it was true!!. So what were we to do, travel all the way back or continue with our weekend. We stayed and hope to see the bird on the way back home big big mistake. I am still waiting to see one.

Seymour said...

Myself and Jake popped in to Blackpill on the way back from Strumble' and we met the finders. When we said, "hi, have you seen much?" they asked had we come for the plover. "What plover?" we asked. "Sociable!" was their reply. Very surreal and we saw it on the football pitch in your photo Barry. Seen a few since but still a very memorable bird for me.

tmt said...

I was also in Norfolk that weekend with Richard and Dave Davies we thought the message in Nancy's was Ian having a laugh as he was due to come with us we drove back at twelve o clock but still missed the bird the birding in Norfolk was very quiet to cap a miserable weekend Terry tovey

David Gilmore said...

Yes Judd I remember it very well. Lesser Yellowlegs at Bosherston, Surf Scoter at Burry Port and the SP at Jersey Marine. I also remember seeing Mr Powell looking rather pleased too. We were probably the last people to see it on the 20th, as I seem to remember it flew off towards Crymlyn Burrows. As Barry states it showed briefly next day (21st). Wonder if we'll ever see another in Glamorgan.

Seymour said...

The "Good Ole Days" mate and I doubt we'll relive those or see another Sociable Plover in the county.

Barry Stewart said...

Judd/Jake - pure serendipity, in other words Jammy B******ds! Either way, well done. I'm sure no one would complain if we had a White-tailed Plover rather than another of these next time ;)

RGS said...

At first the early morning twitch wasn't going too well and many of the travelling twitchers decided to head off somewhere for breakfast.
No sooner had they gone when the bird got up came around the bend in the river, flew past and disappeared off to the West.
And the moral is................?
I would bet we won't see another one for some time.

Barry Stewart said...

Ian just sent me this excerpt from the rare birds report for 1984:
Sociable Plover Chettusia gregaria (5, 19, 1) Glamorgan, West Mouth of River Neath (Nedd), 20th to 21st October (R. E. Harbird, I. F. Tew et at.).
(Southeast Russia and west-central Asia) This eye-catching plover was recorded 16 times between 1968 and 1980, but this was the first since then. The most remarkable aspect of this record was the fact that the above observers had actually been fantasising about finding a Sociable Plover shortly before their discovery: obviously a touch of ESP (Extra Sociable Plover).