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.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Dotterel - Cwm Cadlan

I've just had a call from GBC member Alan Cripps, who has found a pair of Dotterel this morning, on Cwm Cadlan nr Garwnant. {Further info from GBC sightings} - They were about 2-300 metres away from where the pair were found 2 years ago. From that area there is another peak to the left (West?) and slightly further on with some sheep and horses on it. There`s quite a large area of rocks below this peak which is where the birds are.

No sign today 1st, despite searching the whole area by several observers.

                A couple of record shots of the Dotterel at Cwm Cadlan 30th April by Alan Cripps

Monday, 29 April 2013

Wood Lark in Port Talbot

Late News - 1 Wood Lark was seen at a location with no general public access in Port Talbot, yesterday evening at 18:15. The bird was found inside Port Talbot Docks. Initially heard in flight it was then watched to land where views of the bird were taken by scope. It flew once again a short distance calling as it took flight. Bad weather made further viewing of this bird impossible. (RJ, GR)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Colour ringed Sanderling

A colour-ringed Sanderling was in the wader roost at Crymlyn Burrows this evening. Waders certainly seem to be on the move with a Grey Plover at Kenfig river mouth yesterday and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, c100 Dunlin, c90 Ringed Plover, 300+ Sanderling and a lone Whimbrel along the beach this evening.
I'm still waiting for news on the colour-ringed Ringed Plovers that were noted in the Baglan Bay recently, but I get the impression that news of this bird will be returned much quicker. The International Wader Study Group website explains clearly the process and also other useful bits of information about their projects. The section which explains the code for this bird has been reproduced below. I'm looking forward to reporting back information on this bird very soon and encourage anyone with an interest in tracking ringed birds, particularly Sanderling, to visit the website on the link below.

International Wader Study Group - Sanderling Project

The first letter stands for the colour (Green =G) and the number for the position of the flag, where:

1 - on the left tibia (above the "knee")
2 - on the right tibia (above the "knee")
3 - on the left tarsus (below the "knee") above both rings
4 - on the right tarsus (below the "knee") above both rings
5 - on the left tarsus between both rings
6 - on the right tarsus between both rings
7 - on the left tarsus below both rings
8 - on the right tarsus below both rings

Note that positions 1 and 2 are not used for this project. The letters following the number stand for the colours of the rings (Y= Yellow, R = Red, W = White and G = Green) read downwards on the left leg first followed by the right leg. So G5YRWG has a yellow ring above a red ring on the left tarsus with a green flag between the two rings. On the right tarsus it has a white above green ring.

Record shot of Purple Heron this morning at Kenfig Saltmarsh.

Iain Lambert

Motacilla flava type at Rhaslas Pool

A selection of photographs taken by Mike Hogan of the flava type wagtail at Rhaslas Pool 26th April

Friday, 26 April 2013

Purple Heron at Kenfig Rivermarsh

Purple Heron showed on 4 occassions in flight sometimes very close, once with two Grey Heron for comparrison. Many other migrants present best being 2 male Redstart and a Lesser Whitethroat.

The bird was seen on both the East and West Glamorgan areas of the marsh, but favouring the East side  [MHn,PPa]

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Lisvane Reservoir Aythya

A few pics of an Aythya hybrid on Lisvane Res. It has been around since 20/4/13, but always distant from the Black Oak viewing platform and I've only just twigged that its worth a long hard look! Still present this evening. I guess its partly tufted, but opinions on the likely parents gratefully received!

Little tern, Neath river.

                                            Very poor record shot but the bird was distant and
                                             flew off down river.


Possible Purple Heron at Kenfig Saltmarsh (RT)
1 Little Stint at Kenfig Foreshore (RT)
1 Little Tern at Neath River (PP, CG)
1 Short-eared Owl Baglan Dunes (PP, CG)
Swifts, widespread arrival into area (Multi obs)
Spring Migrants:
Lesser Whitethroats at south Cardiff, Wentloog Level & Kenfig; (SS) & (ND)
Wood Warbler singing at County Hall, Cardiff (SS)
Pied Flycatcher at Nash Point (NPR)
Redstart 1f Wentloog Level
Cuckoo KNNR & Wentloog Level
Reed Warbler RGW
Yellow Wagtail RGW
Greenland Wheatear 2, RGW & Northern Wheatear

Monday, 22 April 2013

Wood Warbler at Forest Farm, Whitchurch

A couple of photos of the Wood Warbler, found by Gethin Jenkins-Jones on April 20th in trees opposite 'the hide with a door' at Forest Farm, Whitchurch.

Photographer Ester de Roij, who was waiting to photograph a Kingfisher, was dragged out of the hide to take these photos. Thanks Ester!

Grasshopper Warblers in

Grasshopper Warbler  at Margam Moors 21.4.13

3 at Merthry Mawr (DCB)


5 at Llynfi valley (PT, AW)
3 at Llangennith (CDB)
2 at Port Eynon (MOx)
2 at Tonmawr (NE)
1 at Margam Moors (MHi)

Yellow Wagtails at Port Talbot

Yellow Wagtail 14.4.13 (c) R. Jones
Yellow Wagtail is not a commonly recorded species in West Glamorgan. This year, so far, has been a good one for them around here and further west in Pembrokeshire (see Pembrokeshire birds - LINK) where they've been treated to a few Blue-headed Wagtails (ssp. flava) mixed in with our own race (flavissima). It's certainly worth taking a closer look at any wagtail gatherings in our area, on the back of this.
Yellow Wagtail 21.4.13
Rob Jones found 3 Yellow Wagtails with 5 White Wagtails last weekend, and today there was at least one Yellow Wagtail and 7 White Wagtails in the same general area near the Afan river mouth.
Arctic Tern 21.4.13 (c) R. Jones
Another species lingering (or on continuous turnover) in the area is Arctic Tern, 2 today.
Both of Rob's photos (above) are iPhone digiscoped and are good quality shots which show the birds clearly. Record shots of birds are always interesting to look at in my opinion especially during an unprecedented influx, where photos record an unusual event or behaviour. Rob's photos demonstrating that more than useful shots can be taken by a smartphone. Also, by regularly using his phone to record the scarcer birds Rob will be in a good practise to get a record shot of a rarer species when the opportunity presents itself. It's a good skill to master I think.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Friday, 19 April 2013


1 Osprey over Nearh river in Neath (NE)
2 Little Gull from Loughor Bridge (BS)
Arctic Terns see post below
3 Swift over Cardiff Bay (MCP)
1 Garden Warbler at Lisvane Res (DRWG)
1 Yellow Wagtail f/o at Pontcanna, Cardiff (JR)

Arctic (Tern) Blast continues

53 at Loughor Bridge (BS)
47 at Cardiff Bay (MCP)
2 at Afan Estuary (DMC)
5 at Neath Estuary (DMC)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Putative nominate Coal Tit in Gorseinon

This bird appeared briefly at the bird feeder outside the kitchen window this morning and its colder tones instantly struck me as 'Contintental'. I took a few quick shots through the window and I've not seen it since. Distinctly steely grey on the mantle with little or no hint of green, flanks lacking the richer brown suffusion of britannicus and displaying a tiny crest. If this were the south-east it would probably go straight into the book as the nominate form, but I'm not sure how uncommon it is in Wales. I've only looked in the Collins guide so far and I've not had the chance to look up how frequent ater is in Wales, so any comments on id or status would be welcomed.

Bonxie past Mumbles

A Bonxie past Tutt Head this morning at 07:44 ( OGa)

4 Arctic Terns over Kenfig Pool at 07:17 (DGC)

Around lunch time there were 151+ Arctic Terns, an ad Little Gull [+ a 2cy bird in the evening] and imm. Spoonbill by Loughor Bridge (BS)
feeding below Loughor Bridge (BS)
feeding below Loughor Bridge (BS)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Spoonbill on the Burry

Wendell Thomas saw the immature Spoonbill fly off the scrape at WWT this morning, it then headed off and was high over Berthlwyd before turning round and dropping on to the estuary. Also note this bird first appeared at WWT on the 7th April, the same day the long-staying adult departed. It may be worth checking from Loughor Bridge for this bird when it's absent from WWT.
bird at Penclacwydd 10 April 2013
(c) W. Thomas

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Hoopoe still around Middleton

The Hoopoe performed well around the Nitten field late afternoon (16:10 to 17:15), today. It was fascinating to watch it waddle along the ground and skulk in amongst the long grass and furrows. It seemed to be feeding well and I loved the way it would toss the grubs and worms into the air and then catch them in its mouth coming down - like a neat party trick.

On the way back I decided to give Port Eynon some time, seawatching 18:00 to 19:30
Common Scoter (33), Red-Throated Diver (1), Manx Shearwater (1), Gannet (5), Kittiwake (c230), Sandwich Tern (8), Arctic Tern (13) and Commic Tern (10+)

Monday, 15 April 2013

VC41 News

Hoopoe still at Nitten Field, Gower
Bonaparte's Gull still at Ogmore Est.
Black-necked Grebe still Cardiff Bay
Arctic Terns at KNNR [2] & Cardiff Bay [43]
Grasshopper Wbr. at Burrows Well

Snow Goose [7] at Goldcliff, Gwent Levels

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Few "record" shots of the Hoopoe,bird very flighty and disappears for long periods but seems to favour the lane and area around the "Nitten Field".

Arctic Tern C. Bay

The Arctic Tern found by Phil yesterday still present late morning today, by the S. Barrage area. Lesser Scaup also reported by others at CBWR.


The adult Bonaparte's Gull is back at Ogmore [NPR]

Hoopoe in Middleton, Gower

Photographed in the garden by Nitten this morning by Gordon Howe. Sounds like the bird is quite mobile as it has been seen in the lane, Nitten and various gardens.
(c) G. Howe
Quite a remarkably even spread of records across Glamorgan's lowlands.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Arctic Tern at Cardiff Bay

1 this afternoon (PB)

Hoopoe at Middleton, Gower

1 today in a private garden, briefly on lawn and wall before being chased off by a Magpie. (BSw)

Long-eared Owl at Llantwit Major

Thought this would be interesting - came across it on my Facebook wall - a stunned Long-eared Owl recuperating on a bike after flying in to a window at Llantwit Major - on the SEWBReC Facebook page a couple of posts down - . There's also another pic there. Didn't want to lift & copy the pic here as am not sure as to the legality. I would assume SEWBReC will database this.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Osprey at Neath Abbey Saltmarsh

2 reports of an Osprey flying downriver, viewed from the Melin area (AW), (NE)

Cardiff Bay

Black-necked Grebe off Ice Rink / Cardiff Bay Yacht Club. Little Gull still this evening off the sails.

Black-necked Grebe at Cardiff Bay

Summer plumaged BNGrebe Cardiff Bay off old Yacht club.(MCP)

Water Pipits still at Aberthaw

Still 5 Water Pipits on the Thaw in front of cement works tho mobile. (SPH)

Black Redstart still near Margam Moors

The female Black Redstart showed once again in the compound near Morfa Pines. Also nearby a pair of Ring Ousel. A male Redstart was seen in roadside bushes at Margam Moors. (RJ)

3 House Martin flew west at Kenfig Rivermouth (DCo)
1 House Martin with Swallows and Sand Martins near Margam Crematorium (MHi)


Little Gull [ad W] & Med Gull [ad S.] in Cardiff Bay.
Common Migrants: Small movement of Swallows in Cardiff. Lavernock Point very quiet this am: few Willow Warblers & Blackcaps.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Rhaslas & Cwm Bargod

                                                       Short-eared Owl at Rhaslas
                                                      Little Ringed Plover at Rhaslas
                                                       Ring Ouzel at Cwm Bargod
               A few photographs from Mike Hogan of recent birds on his local patch this April

Black Redstart near Margam Moors

A female Black Redstart was incredibly elusive inside the compound between Morfa Beach and Morfa Pines, early evening (17:30)
In the general area 10+ Willow Warblers including 6 birds feeding from the ground in a field near the railway crossing, seems worthy of note. (MHi, RJ, GR)

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

NPT news

Baglan Bay - Common Scoter (5), Red-throated Diver (3+) and Great Crested Grebe (2) (MHi)
Baglan Dunes - Short-eared Owl still (DMC)
Margan Moors - 1st reported Willow Warbler in West Glam! (GM)
Foel Fynyddau - Ring Ousel (2m+f) with Fieldfare (29) on western slope (MHi)

Water Pipits

Aberthaw wet meadows ST0267: Seven Water Pipits & 2 White Wagtails present on the wet meadows this am. [MCP, DRWG]

Monday, 8 April 2013


Ring Ouzel 4 [2m & 2f] at Mynydd Fochriw SO0904 [MCP]

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sunday News

1 of 5 Little Ringed Plover
5 Little Ringed Plover at Red Jacket Pill, Neath River (RJ,GR)
Yellow-legged Gull at Lisvane Res (RT)
1 Ring Ouzel at Southgate, Gower (OGa)
1 Ring Ouzel nr Cimla (NE)
1 Ring Ousel at Foel Fynyddau (GR)
7 Water Pipit at Aberthaw (AH)

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Snow Bunting at Killay - more details

(c) D. Hayden
Just a few more details concerning the Snow Bunting at Killay, last month. David Hayden has kindly sent us a photo of this extraordinary scene. David adds " I first saw the bird on the 25th March picking at scraps on my Garage Roof & since by its beak it was obviously a seed eater I put some seeds out on the Bird Table. On the 27th I saw it again eating 'my' seeds & again eating seeds on the 29th March. No sign since." Many thanks go to David for sharing his experience with us.
I agree with Phil B about this being a 2nd Cal yr male - the overall plumage is certainly heading towards a summer adult male but the black tips to the primary coverts shows that the bird is still hanging on to some 1st W plumage.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Shrike and the Shrew

(c) R. Jones
The Great Grey Shrike showed well yesterday near Crynant, but not today. Rob and I watched it catch at least 4 Common Lizards and this unfortunate Shrew. It was interesting that the Shrike took the Shrew to a dead tree first, where it killed it and then made a puncture in the skin. Then it took the prey down to this 'larder', which is a fallen Spruce with a splayed branch. It was able to peg the Shrew very quickly before flying off to a distant dead tree . Very quickly afterwards it dropped down to catch a Common Lizard which it killed and ate immediately.
Other notable sightings from the day were a Woodcock and a male Ring Ousel.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Ring Ouzels

It's turning out to be a good season for Ring Ouzel sightings, the 2013 records shown in black. Hopefully we'll see a few a more black dots before the end of the spring migration. [updated with additional records from Rob Jones and Nick Edwards]

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Obituary notice

The naturalist Mary Gilham MBE (1921-2013) has passed away. A well known author and Wildlife Trust member.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Other News

Osprey over Pontypridd Town centre (18:19) (GPo)
Ring Ouzel (3) nr Cimla (SS786985) (NE)
2 [later 4] Little Ringed Plover at Portobello (GS, DRWG) [DR]
2 Little Ringed Plover at Castell-du (BS,SJS)
1 Little Ringed Plover at KNNR (ND)

Great Grey Shrike near Crynant

(c) R. Jones - Shrike with Shrew
Rob Jones and Gwyn Randall found a Great Grey Shrike in the clear fell area above Crynant, early evening, today. It was in the same area as the one seen earlier in the year, back in February. It showed well for them and caught at least 2 shrews during the time that they spent watching the bird, one of which can be made out in the photo above.


LRP today at KNNR [ND] & Portobello, Ogmore [2] [GS & DRWG] with 4 there later [DR]

Late News for 29th a Hooded Crow at feeders in Penmaen [per BS]
With only three records since the turn of the century Hooded Crow is a very rare bird in the county.
April-May is the best time for them however, so worth checking your corvids.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Ring Ouzels at Foel Fynyddau

(c) R Jones [m+f Ring Ouzel and Fieldfare]
 Rob Jones and Gwyn Randall discovered a field full of thrushes on the western slopes of Foel Fynyddau, late afternoon, today. The prize amongst them being Ring Ouzel (5m+2f); the supporting cast made up by Fieldfare (20+),  Redwing (70+), Mistle Thrush (c10), Song Thrush (c15) and Blackbird (4). Also Wheatear (8) and Stonechat (1p).
2m+1f Ring Ouzel
Later on Rob and Gwyn picked another male Ring Ouzel in an adjacent field making a very nice total for the area. Later still, I returned to the area to find 2 pairs still present in the same fields till 19:00 at least.