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.

Monday, 30 December 2013


Up to 11 Short-eared Owls between RGW, Wentloog and Lamby Tip. The regular Barn Owl was seen hawking over the Mardy Farm fields early evening 30th.

A 1st W type Iceland Gull was present at the entrance to Lamby Tip, Cardiff (on the roof of a depot storage unit & surrounds) 30/12/2013 and photographed. [via BirdGuides]
NOTE: Observer not submitting record

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Black Guillemot at Port Eynon & Surf Scoter at Rhossili

An adult male Surf Scoter and female Velvet Scoter were in with 1060-strong flock of Commons off Rhossili this morning. With 2000+ Herring Gulls on the beach feeding on an abundance of moribund shellfish it seems the storm has stirred up the seabed making good foraging. Maybe more storms will bring in more birds? At approximately SS3989 the scoter flock is pretty distant, so don’t expect good views if you go looking for the Surfy. The light this morning was bright and crisp making it pretty easy to to pick out.

Also Dave Morris saw a Black Guillemot at Port Eynon today which was unfortunately killed by gulls!
(C) Dave Morris

Friday, 27 December 2013


The Barnacle Goose, of unknown origin, which has attached itself to a roving Canada Goose flock and has been seen at various sites this month, was at Lisvane Reservoir today with 41 Canada Geese. 

Thursday, 26 December 2013

GND still at Llwyn-On Res

© Mark Waldron
The Great Northern Diver was still present earlier today, at Llwyn-On Res. Seen and captured nicely on camera by Mark Waldron.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

GND at Llwyn-On Res

                             GND found by Mike Hogan this morning on Llwyn-On Reservoir

Surviving the storms

Great White Egret at Llanrhidian (MP)

5 Hen Harriers and 2 S.E. Owls at Heol y Cyw (per Birdguides)

Little Gull at Gileston (per Birdguides)

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Bittern : Parc Slip NR

A few images of the Bittern taken over this weekend.........

Late News - Snow Buntings at Broughton

A very nice count of 6 Snow Buntings at Broughton Bay earlier this week, on Tuesday (17th) [RET]

Report of a Long-tailed Duck off West Aberthaw 21/12/13 [per BirdGuides]

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Lesser Scaup still, but no sign of RND around Cardiff

The Lesser Scaup was present once again at CBWR (JDW)

A widespread search for yesterday's Ring-necked Duck at some obvious locations - Cosmeston CP,  CBWR and River Taff at Hamadryad. Also Lisvane Res. - have so far produced no sign of it (SRH, DRWG, JDW, )

A Barnacle Goose of unknown origin plus a Med Gull were the best from Cosmeston CP (DRWG)

JDW here - thought I'd add a pic of the Barnacle - a still taken with my video camera

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Probable Ring-necked Duck at Cosmeston CP today. [RF]

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Great Crested Grebes numbers continue to swell in Swansea Bay

A quick stop at the regular lookout points at Aberavon Beach, Crymlyn Burrows and Blackpill, today, produced a single day count record for me.

Aberavon Beach - 72; Crymlyn Burrows - 265; Blackpill - 208

Total - 545

News #1

A report of a Great Northern Diver on Aberdare Park Lake, seen this am by rangers @ c10.30, then another report at midday. No further details.

[Further details now in (15:07) confirm the bird in question is re-identified as a Cormorant]

Six Short-eared Owls at RGW this am. [RM]

Unconfirmed report of a GWE coming into to roost at Hendre Lake, St. Mellons.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Colour-ringed Sanderling at Crymlyn Burrows

Sanderlings have occurred in good numbers along the shore at Crymlyn Burrows, during the second half of this year. They move widely all around Swansea Bay and can be found in decent numbers almost anywhere from Kenfig Sands right through to Blackpill. Roosting birds often choose the beach at Crymlyn Burrows to spend time around high tide and it offers a good opportunity to record numbers. It's still unclear to me whether the roosts here are made up by the entire Sanderling population of the bay, but the high numbers seem to suggest that it might be the case. My peak count (for 2013) was taken at this location on 31/8/13 when 412 Sanderlings were on the beach.
It has become apparent, in recent years that a few of them are ringed. The colourful combinations of ring and flag positions can be surprisingly difficult to record on roosting birds, that often prefer to stand on one leg. Even when they're forced to move to higher ground by the incoming tide they can be remarkably stubborn about keeping one leg tucked away; if it wasn't so annoying I'd be even more impressed by how quickly they can hop. If you can get them having a quick feed or preen before they disperse on the falling tide then that often allows the best chance to record the full combination.

Since the summer I've been able to record 4 individuals

G3WBGW - first caught in Iceland in May 2013 and seen here on 1/8/13

B1YWYB - first caught in Greenland in July 2013 and seen here on 9/8/13

G5WWGY - first caught in Greenland in June 2008 and seen there every summer since up to and including the one just gone. This is the first recorded sighting away from her breeding grounds - seen here on 19/9/13

Jeroen adds -'G5WWGY is an adult female ringed in 2008 and of which I used to find the nest each succesive year. In 2010 she was incubating very close to the field station in Greenland so we could see her incubating each time we went out for field work in the morning and when we returned in the evening (which explains the many sightings, usually two per day) in in 2010. She was also paired with the same male each year, which is unusual for sanderlings. He is a bit of a macho though and we have now genetically shown that although they used to incubate a clutch together in many cases (except for 2010 when she was incubating a clutch by herself) he wasn't very faithful to her; he has produced several extra-pair young, sometimes complete clutches.'

G2WGYY - first caught in Iceland in May 2011 and was seen there again the following year. It was seen here on 19/9/13. This bird was seen earlier this year 26/5/13 by Pete Woodruff at Rossall Point, Fleetwood, but not recorded between Pete's sighting and mine.  Pete runs a blog and describes his exciting find on the link Click here - The Rossall Sanderling It's a good blog all round and well worth a visit in any case.

Please note the directional paths in the figure above are only indicative of movement. Indeed the bird that both Pete and I saw may not have gone back to Iceland at all? Of course further movement of Sanderling will take them beyond Iceland, to the north, and from Crymlyn Burrows, likely onwards further south. However any further arrows on the map above and there'll be a real danger of it turning into a psychedelic Intro to Dad's Army.

Many thanks to Jeroen Reneerkens for the information. Please support this project by reporting your own sightings.

Mandarin Duck and Hawfinch (late) news

The female Mandarin Duck was still present at Oxwich today - showing from the hide (JNE). First seen by Owain G on Tuesday (10/12/13) where it was found with some Mallard showing from the hide. As far as the records show, this appears to be only the 2nd record of a Mandarin Duck from the Gower peninsular. The other one, from Burry Pill on 13/11/85 was a male seen by S.R. Howe, which also appears to be a VC41 first*. Since 1987 the Mandarin Duck has been recorded every year in West Glamorgan and in 1990 a pair bred on the Neath Canal near Aberdulais. Confirmation of breeding from this location continued intermittently, throughout the 90's. Sightings of our somewhat 'plastic' friend do seem to be less frequent in recent years and any future county lister will no doubt be hoping the Margam Drake has at least a few more years left in him.

On Friday the 13th, and on the way back from the Gloucestershire Desert Wheatear, I called into Fforestganol. The car park was full of birds but no Hawfinches to be seen amongst them. Despite the heavy rain I decided to walk the path the other side of the road. About 150m along this track a flock of Hawfinches flew just above the treetops and above the road back towards the car park. At least 12 and probably a few more. Not seen again on my return to the car but a male Goshawk was seen on 3 separate occasions.

[* The first record for this species in VC41 were 2 fems at Lisvane Res. 6/11/1981. GOS/GBC/GRC Data]

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Late News

1/12/2013 - A Black-throated Diver in Oxwich Bay and another past Tutt Head 2/12/2012. [PL]

The Slender-billed Curlew (Northumberland 1988) has been removed from the British List. Please see for details.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Hawfinches at Fforestganol

© D. Coombs
9 Hawfinches at Forest Ganol, late morning. Just off the path opposite the car park (DCo)

Other late news - c30 Waxwings were reported seen off Lake Road West, Roath (7/12/13)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Lapland Bunting at Landimore

1 Lapland Bunting was heard calling in flight with Sky Larks at the outer edge of the salt marsh at Landimore, this morning. Nearby 5 Slavonian Grebes were seen from Wernffrwd - (CDB)

Friday, 6 December 2013


A single Hawfinch seen from the carpark. Also good numbers of Coal Tits and a vocal GSW.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


Bearded Tit still at Cosmeston. Very vocal in the reeds near the cafe c.11.30.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Swansea Bay and Baglan Bay - last few days (LTD, etc)

Sunday (1/12) -
Long-tailed Duck (1) off Aberavon Beach (per Birdguides)

The Long-tailed Duck is a noticeable absentee from my list for this location and I was keen to see if it would still be around the next day. Unfortunately I couldn't relocate it, but I was able to do a Great Crested Grebe count just before HT on each of the next 2 days; an exercise I always find rewarding which also returned some other nice records.

Monday (2/12) -
Eider (4) and Great Crested Grebe (55) from Blackpill
Great Crested Grebe (403) and Grey Plover (3) from Crymlyn Burrows
Common Scoter (23), Red-throated Diver (14) and Great crested Grebe (28) from Aberavon

Tuesday (3/12) -
Dark-bellied Brent (1), Red-breasted Merganser (1), Red-throated Diver (5) and Great Crested Grebe (381) from Crymlyn Burrows

The Grebe count on 2/12/13 is, to my knowledge, the highest complete count for this species in Swansea Bay. 486 is a good total, and has the potential to increase further before the New Year.


At least 7 SEO at RGW this am [per CE]

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Cardiff Bay Wetland Reserve

Drake Lesser Scaup still with 120+ tufted duck. A very vocal and showy Willow tit was a nice surprise. It was showing well in alders opposite the cut wild flower meadow just to the left of the start of the boardwalk.

GOS Announcement

It is my pleasure to announce that during the recent Gower Ornithological Society AGM I was named as the new Records Secretary/Report Editor and County Recorder for West Glamorgan.

I would like to take this opportunity to express a huge thanks to Harold E. Grenfell and Robert H. A. Taylor for their outstanding work over the years. Harold, one of the founding members of GOS, made significant contributions towards every annual report since the first issue was published in 1968. His eye for detail and commitment to the progression of the society is a major credit to him. Harold’s legacy has provided strong leadership combined with diligence and enthusiasm, which now finds the club in very good health. Robert has committed the last 17 years to keeping accurate records for the society during increasingly challenging times. The combination of his ability, experience and knowledge of the recording area is second to none. During his tenure Rob has also made numerous outstanding finds including the most recent and very popular Isabelline Wheatear.

It will be difficult for me to match what both Harold and Rob have given to the society over the years and I face the daunting task of maintaining their very high standards. However, it’s an exciting opportunity for me to offer a fresh approach and I relish the challenge of developing these roles in the years ahead. Fortunately for me, the task at hand is made less difficult due to the availability of a rich array of help close to hand. The Gower Ornithological Society is full of very able section writers and the committee is full of talented colleagues. I am also pleased to have the support of many members of the neighbouring birding societies that I have had the fortune to know and get on with.

Birding is a fantastic hobby and I couldn’t be happier than when I’m out birding with the company that it brings. I’ve met lots of great people and made good friends through birding in the last few years. My wish is for more of the same in the future with some great birding along the way.