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, 31 May 2015

Black Stork over Nantyffyllon (26/5/15)

A much better sketch of the Black Stork this time by Paul Parsons, which flew over his house in Nantyffyllon. From my position and the flight line the bird appeared to be following I thought it would pass to his north but luckily he had the presence of mind to check south too!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Black Stork over Afan Argoed (26/5/15)

At 13:50 yesterday a routine check on a flying bird that was too far away to identify through the bins became far from routine when the same bird was viewed through the scope. It was drifting along fairly high and heading east at a range of about a mile, but due to the fact my position was fairly elevated I was probably only 100m or so below it. My first view was very much like the top sketch, where I was confronted with a side on view of a completely dark bird with a long out-stretched neck and long legs hanging out the back. It had a very prehistoric look to it. Almost immediately, even before I started to speculate with some excitement what the bird might be, it banked slightly to reveal a very striking pied appearance and the very welcome large white triangle! OMG it's a Black Stork!!
Then panic set in. Too far for a photo with the equipment I had with me and so with the bird's flight taking it towards Maesteg I tried to get news out. Ok I should call a Maestegi! I knew Darren Coombs was unavailable so Paul Parsons was my choice. I found next how difficult it is to keep track of a Black Stork a mile away through a telescope and find a number on my phone. It seemed to take forever, but luckily Paul was there to answer when I called and we spoke for 31s while I gave him directions to where the bird might be. Seven minutes later Paul rang back to say that he'd got the bird and how many different lists the bird was now on. It was a very upbeat phone call.
Sadly we both lost the bird and it appears to have continued an eastward journey with the wind. Subject to acceptance by BBRC this bird will be a first for West Glam. It is also likely to be treated as the same bird as first appeared in Pembrokeshire the day before, and with the winds as they were it certainly seems likely it came from that direction. When I first saw the bird it was roughly 1km south of Cynonville (SS821940) and it seems likely that I watched it cross the border into East Glam, judging by the time that Paul and I lost it from view.
It was a shame that I couldn't get a record shot of the bird but the sketches kind of capture the moment better anyway. A stunning bird and a truly unforgettable experience.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Black stork, Nantyffyllon today at 13:52.

Many thanks to Mark Hipkin for alerting me to a Black stork heading my way over the Afan valley this afternoon! I got onto my kitchen roof and immediately got on the bird, which was around 500 foot up and heading east. I watched it for around 10 seconds, seeing all the features, until the sun burst through the cloud right above it. I took about 5 seconds to get my camera out and switch it on but the bird had gone in that short time. It could have thermaled up against the sun or moved through very quickly as it was losing height when I saw it. Despite a search of the fields to the east at Cwmdu by Colin Gittins and I, the bird was not relocated.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Sad News

Some very sad news this morning that Maurice Chown has passed away peacefully at Holme Towers. He had been unwell for sometime but only recently went into hospice care. Maurice was a Cardiff birder of long standing, his name has been in the annual bird report since 1972. In his time he has been a member of the local rarities committee and the local bird groups. Anyone who knew Maurice liked him, he was a really genuine guy. He knew his birds and always enjoyed a pint or two with others, whether in Cardiff or away birding. He shall be missed by all of Glamorgan's birders and many more from outside the county. RIP.
The funeral arrangements are at Thornhill Crematorium at 12.00 Monday 1/06/15. Followed by a reception at the Ffynnon Wen, Thornhill. His sister says that all his friends are welcome.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Bonaparte's Gull at Llanrhidian

Adult summer Bonaparte's Gull watched for 5 minutes before flying out to estuary - worth checking the Black-headed Gull flocks anywhere in the estuary. Also a Great White Egret new in, based bare part colour and the last date for the two wintering birds being 22nd April.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Late News

Sanderling (1) at Rhaslas Pond 10th [MH]
A report of a Turtle Dove in Rudry Village 9th.
A Common Crane over Penarth 8th [JPH]
The drake Lesser Scaup was seen at Llanishen Res. 8th [PB] (First site record for this species)

Thursday, 7 May 2015

WRP Latest

Welsh Records for Glamorgan VC41 2014

Woodchat Shrike @ Gileston
Night Heron @ Cosmeston
GWE @ CBWR [July]
Corn Bunting @ Lavernock [Sept.]
White Stork @ Lisvane [Apr.]
GWE @ Llwyn-On Res [7 Oct]
GWE @ Kenfig Saltmarsh [4 Oct]
GWE @ KNNR [30 Jun & 1 Jul]
Kentish Plover @ Crymlyn Burrows
GWE @ Lavernock [13 Oct]
GWE @ Hensol [13 Oct]
GWE @ Glyn Neath [Nov]
GWE [2] @ Llanrhidian [many sightings]
Green-winged Teal @ Kenfig Saltmarsh (EG & WG)

Not Proven
Ring-billed Gull 1st W @ Blackpill (Oct)

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Glaucous Gull at Aberavon Beach (5/5/15)

An adult sp Glaucous Gull was on Aberavon Beach yesterday morning around 09:40 near the Neath river-mouth.  Found by J Garside who kindly waited just under an hour for me to get there and help me get it on my PWC list. The bird waited too which was good and although viewed distantly from Crymlyn Burrows it was clear that it was fairly approachable. Much of the activity on Aberavon Beach seemingly of little concern to it and it would only make short flights when dogs got too close.

Also yesterday a late report of a Roseate Tern past Port Eynon in the afternoon/evening. No further details.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Wader passage at Rhaslas Pond

This very important upland site still produces good records of spring/autumn passage waders. Mike Hogan reports an excellent passage of Dunlin today: 37, a record count for the site. Both the GRC & GBC have supported this site against destruction by opencast mining. Well done to Mike and all the other birders who record this site regularly. 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

WRP News

Notice to all Observers:

Great White Egret has been dropped as a WRP species from 1/01/2015 and will now be assessed by the GRC.

Acceptance criteria: Also all claims of Siberian Chiffchaff MUST come with accompanying photographs. The call will no longer be required.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Egyptian Goose - Ogmore 01/05/15

Few pictures of the Egyptian Goose at Ogmore - took about 60 pictures from as many angles as I could if the GRC need more. Here's a broad selection. Bird would walk away if I got closer than 30 yards while the Canada's and Mutes didn't give a ****. Tried the bread trick - but would not come to bread.