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.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Hendre Lake, St. Mellons

No sign of the reported Temminck's Stint by 12:15 at least despite searching the lake area and the east & west reens.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Savi's Warbler at RSPB Newport Wetlands

 Having timed a short trip to Norfolk to coincide with the county's spring mini-break from rare bird activity it was a bonus to call in on the Savi's Warbler at Newport Wetlands on the way back, yesterday afternoon. A terrific find by Mathew Meehan who was able to join up with a small gathering of birders paying their respects. The bird behaved very well and delighted us all with it's song, calls and periodic elusiveness that made the times is showed well all the more special!
A single record of this species from Glamorgan came when David G Davies found a male at Oxwich on 13th May 1987. That bird went on to stay until the 20th May 1987 and was seen and heard daily in-between. Looking through the database courtesy of Birdguides this truly is a mega for Wales with 4 other previous records in addition to the Oxwich bird; other accepted records include Pembrokeshire (1968 & 1983), Powys (1994) and Anglesey (1999). The Gwent Savi's Warbler really is a cracking bird and it might be a long time before another one is quite so obliging here in Wales - if you haven't already seen the bird and you get a chance to make a visit it's well worth making the effort. Of course the same can be said about Norfolk and the general scenery and land management together with the selection of excellent reserves means that a trip there to see their specialist breeders is more than enough to make the trip very enjoyable.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Abnormal bill

This unusual 'long-billed' Great Tit has been frequenting a garden in Llantrisant. The observer states that it takes food and eats via the side on the bill near the lores, rather than eating from the tip.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Spoonbill south of Loughor Bridge

Not sure, but I guess this is the same bird that I saw in the same location (SS553973) on 27th April.

Image of the same bird at Penclacwydd later the same day:
(c) B. Stewart

Saturday, 24 May 2014

OOC Gwent

A singing Savi's Warbler at RSPB Uskmouth (Wetlands). Bird is by the floating pathway crossing the reedbed on the way out to the lighthouse. Well done Matt Meehan.

Bird still present this am [25th] showing and reeling intermittently. Also Marsh Harrier & Cuckoo.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Archive Picture From 2000

Following a conversation I had with Mark Hipkin last week, here's the requested image of the 2000 Pomerine Skua at Kenfig Pool. It's for the archive pages. 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Late News

2 x 1st S. Little Gulls at Rhaslas Pool yesterday evening [20th]. per R. Francis
This is the first record for this vulnerable site and the most northerly sighting for this species in the East Glamorgan recording area.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Avocets at Loughor Bridge

The 2 birds present in the HT roost in front of the British Steel hide at WWT this morning (found by Lyndon Evans & Alun John I believe?), were found feeding south of Loughor Bridge this evening.

3 cranes over asda leckwith 12.30ish today, circled around then flew north.twitter pic

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Great White Egret at Kenfig Saltmarsh

A breeding plumage Great White Egret proved to be a more difficult call than perhaps it should have been for me and Darren Coombs at the Kenfig Saltmarsh, this afternoon. On first view it did look fairly big amongst the vegetation but, frustratingly, not much to directly compare it with and it was difficult to see it in the open.
The breeding plumage all dark bill was not helping in very hazy conditions, but it was the bright red upper legs threw us right off course. The non-black legs seemingly ruling out a misjudged/mis-sized Little Egret. A quick call and conversation with Barry Stewart confirmed that the red tibia was in range for breeding plumage GWE. A little later the bird popped out of the vegetation to give away it's  size and it then flew off to check out the nearby scrapes. It was interesting that the more distant views of it in flight gave the impression of a bigger bird than some of it's brief closer range shorter flights.
The bird returned to the reedbed a little bit later and, although it remained hidden from our position after landing, it was thought to be present till at least 15:45

Kenfig Saltmarsh/Reedbed - Great White Egret

Nice find by Darren and Mark today. Hopeless photograph in the heat haze. Better to follow from the finders. The bird's legs were an incredible red.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Cosmeston 13th May

3 Common Cranes flew over Cosmeston yesterday, heading west. See Andy Burns' post on the Glamorgan Birds blog. He got a couple of cracking photos - linked in his post.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Long-tailed Skua past Port Talbot

 An adult Long-tailed Skua past west heading into Swansea Bay at 18:00. Initially picked up distantly, low over the water, it preceded to climb to a height well above the water (c200-250m) and looked like it was preparing to fly overland. The bird circled, followed by a gradual decent before heading off into the sun low over the water to the west. The photos are digiscoped and heavily cropped, but do show most of the features.

Seawatching 17:00 to 19:00

Long-tailed Skua (ad) at 18:00
Arctic Skua (dp) at 18:50

Some seawatching highlights around Glamorgan (11/5 and 10/5)

Porthcawl - 06:00 to 09:30 Sun 11th May [MHi, DCo et al]

Storm Petrel (23)
Arctic Skua (2 dark phase on the sea from about 07:30, one lingering till 09:30)
Skua sp (4 together briefly took to flight at great range before dropping down on the sea again & not seen again 06:50)
Common Scoter (2)
Whimbrel (1)
Turnstone (5)
Dunlin (58)
Arctic Tern (20)
Sandwich Tern (1)
Swift (2)
Gannets, Fulmars and Kittiwakes in small number but no Manx Shearwaters

Sker Point 06:10 to 08:05 Sun 11th May [DGC]

Storm Petrel (c10)
Skua sp (4 together at 07:40, were probably Pomarine Skuas)
'Commic' Tern (1)

Tutt Head - 12:30 to 14:30 Sat 10th May [J. Garside]

Storm Petrel (1)
Manx Shearwater (6)
Also nearby Whimbrel (92) at Blackpill

Tutt Head - 06:30 to 09:00 Sun 11th May [OG]

Storm Petrel (1)
Manx Shearwater (14)
Red-throated Diver (1)
'Commic' Tern (4 were probably Common Terns)

Aberavon Esplanade Nth end 15:30 to 18:00 Sun 11th May [MHi, RSh]

Arctic Skua (1+ dark phase seen repeatedly off the Port Talbot Harbour and flying into Swansea Bay)
Great Skua (1+ seen repeatedly off the Port Talbot Harbour and flying into Swansea Bay)
Whimbrel (1)

Tutt Head - 17:45 to 19:00 Sun 11th May [SLM]

Pomarine Skua ( 4 - A group of 3 pale phase ads and an imm past at 18:00)

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Storm Petrel season

Given the recent appearance of Stormies in the channel I thought the map and plot below might be of interest. May and June appear to be the best months for seeing the species, although the highest count in the database was on 4th July 1990 when Rob Taylor counted 117 off Tutt Head between 1830-2110hrs, all flying west.

Black Tern at Loughor Bridge

Singles of Black, Common and Sandwich Terns were present just south of the bridge in the strong winds yesterday evening. As can be seen in the plot below, spring Black Terns are much less frequent than autumn birds and this is first spring bird I've seen in the estuary since 1991.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Storm Petrels plus... Seawatching Porthcawl

Some decent coverage from the lookout at Porthcawl today. Some totals by various obs taken between 07:30 to 16:30 shown below

Storm Petrel - Three (GP, MSC 07:30 to 10:00), Nine (JS et al, 12:00 to 15:00), Eight (ND et al, 15:00 to 16:30), Twenty-five (MHn et al, 17:00 to 19:00)
Great Northern Diver - Two in summer plumage (GP, 07:30 to 09:00)
Arctic Skua - Two (GP, 07:30 to 09:00), One (MHn et al, 17:00 to 19:00)
Common Tern - Two (MSC, GP, 09:00 to 10:00), Three (MHn et al, 17:00 to 19:00)
Arctic Tern - Eleven (MHn et al, 17:00 to 19:00)
Sandwich Tern - One (MHn et al, 17:00 to 19:00)

Garganey and Red-crested Pochard still at Kenfig NNR

At least one drake Garganey at the Saltmarsh and the female Red-crested Pochard remains on Kenfig Pool [ND et al]

Seawatching from Tutt Head & Limeslade

Tutt Head highlights between 07:20 to 09:10 included - two Red-throated Divers (on the sea), two sp Great Northern Divers (w) & two Arctic Skua (offshore) [BS]

Also of note two Arctic Terns off Dalton's Point, mid-afternoon [BS]

Limeslade between 11:50 to 12:25 - One dp Arctic Skua off Tutt Head [OG]

Friday, 9 May 2014

Storm Petrels past Porthcawl

A Storm Petrel past Porthcawl (d/c) at 12:01, another (d/c) at 12:09 & a further two (d/c) before 12:45 [ND]

Two more Storm Petrel were seen between 18:00 - 19:00 [MSC]

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Late News

Flat Holm
Hobby: 2 over the island on 1/05/2014
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 on the island 4/05/2014

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Arctic Skua past Heliport, Cardiff

One dark phase Arctic Skua and a group of five Gannets were off the Cardiff Heliport, this afternoon. (RM)

Storm Petrels and Arctic Skua past Porthcawl

Seawatching numbers from Porthcawl 06:30 to 10:20 (GP)

European Storm Petrel 1 (DC), Manx Shearwater 40+, Gannet 5, Fulmar 3, Kittiwake 3 and Dunlin 5

Seawatching highlights from Porthcawl 18:10 to 18:25 (MSC, EJC)

One European Storm Petrel (d/c), one dark phase Arctic Skua (u/c), one 2nd cal yr Little Gull (u/c) and one Common Tern (u/c)

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Arctic Skua past Tutt Head (5/5/14)

A dark phase Arctic Skua past Tutt Head, yesterday at 17:10, heading east. Otherwise quiet with a few Manx Shearwaters (c30) and Gannets (c15) passing in small numbers east & west between 16:45 to 18:20

Marsh Harrier and Wood Warbler at Oxwich (3/5/14)

© C. Sargent
 Some good records from Oxwich on Saturday 3rd May. An imm male Marsh Harrier showing from the hide, was found by Chris Brewer. The Gower Ringing Group netted a Wood Warbler, a first record for the site, that had been heard to sing briefly before being caught. Read more about the ringing activities of Owain Gabb et al - Gower Ringing Group here
© C. Brewer

Late News

A Spoonbill over Flat Holm on 29th April. Thanks to the wardens on Flat Holm for the info & photo.
This is only the fourth Cardiff record and the first since 1992. First Flat Holm record.
© James Bamkin

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Common Cranes, Cardiff

Llanishen Res: 4 Common Cranes over at 14.50 drifted in high from the east, turned and continued more or less directly south over the city. Presumably, relate to the Crane Project, so I'm not too excited but very nice to see all the same.

Friday, 2 May 2014


Pair of Garganey behind the posts from the bridge, skulking by the base of the vegetation.

Pair were seen to fly around reedbed area (west lake) and then disappeared into it, midday. [LM & DRWG]

Cardiff Bay

I’ve just rec’d a report [08:45] of a possible Black Tern in Cardiff Bay [obs was not sure]. Obs was in CBWR but bird was out in the Bay. Will check myself but have only just got up!

Black Tern showing well in Cardiff Bay mid morning.