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.

Saturday, 31 October 2015


Lavernock Point - 2 Wood Lark over the point this am. [LM]. 5 Brambling [SRH]

Lavernock Point - 1 Wood Lark over at 10.20. [LM, AB & DRWG]

With another 3 at Lavernock on 28/10/2015 [LM & AB], 3 at Mewslade on 18/10/2015 [PP, CG, PT] & 1 at Lavernock c10/10/15 [GNS], it seems we have had a good autumn passage of this once rare species, which has now become a fairly regular passage migrant to VC41.

Cardiff Bay Wetland Reserve

No sign of the ring necked duck late afternoon (although I believe it was reported earlier). Drake lesser scaup still and pochard x tufted duck hybrid. Also female type goldeneye loosely associating with tufty flock. Drake pochard and shoveler also present. Several waterail active towards dusk and an impressive starling murmuration.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

3 Great White Egrets at Llanrhidian

A visit to the roost at Llanrhidian this evening was really rewarding. In terms of the numbers and quality of species present, I can't remember it being better on any of my previous visits. Following Barry Stewart's haul last Friday and Simon Murray's report yesterday it seemed worthwhile to get into position in good time for the roost to kick-off.
I arrived at 15:30 and found a single ringtail Hen Harrier quartering the marsh immediately. Not long afterwards a second ringtail Hen harrier appeared in a different part of the marsh. Over the course of the evening they were on view regularly and occasionally flying together. Both birds were still flying after 16:30.
It wasn't until 16:00 that I saw the first Short-eared Owl, and it was quickly joined by a second. A third bird appeared by 16:30 and a single sweep over the marsh at 17:00 found 5 birds in the air at the same time, 3 chasing each other around in an erratic fashion and 2 hunting in a more relaxed manner in a different area.
At 16:45 a Barn Owl appeared albeit briefly.
At 16:50 2 Great White Egrets flew in together from the direction of Great Pill and Weobley, hugging the edge of the marsh. They came in flying fairly high and dropped swiftly from height into the reeds at the base of the Little Egret roost. 15 minutes later a single bird flew in from the Wernffrwd direction passing fairly near to Marsh Road. Undoubtedly a different individual though when I followed it no other GWE were on view, before it dropped into the same reedbed as the earlier two.

Simon Murray watching the same roost from a different location along Marsh Road had the 3 GWE flying up from the reedbed into the roost tree together. He also had 6 SEO's and 2 Barn Owls.
(Note to self - I must try harder!)

Great Grey Shrike, Wood Lark & Lanrhidian roost (28/10/15)

A Great Grey Shrike was seen briefly and photographed by Thomas Winston, yesterday, at RGW between 12:07 and 12:10. Further searches for this bird later in the afternoon and again this morning have so far been unsuccessful.

A Wood Lark was seen and photographed over Lavernock Point by Andy Burns, yesterday.

The roost at Lanrhidian yesterday continued to impress with 2 ringtail Hen Harriers, 5 Short-eared Owls, 1 Barn Owl and 2 Great White Egrets into roost. All viewed from Marsh Road (SLM)

Lastly, a female Scaup flew through Swansea Bay off Aberavon Beach late afternoon, yesterday. The bird didn't hang around, generally heading up channel it made short flights between and settled briefly with small flocks of Great Crested Grebes that were scattered offshore along the beach (MHi).

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Black-throated Diver off Aberavon Beach

A winter plumage Black-throated Diver was off Aberavon Beach late afternoon, today. There was also a very good count of Great Crested Grebes viewed from here between the two ports. A minimum of 231 were spread across the bay with the majority (147) on the Crymlyn Burrows side of the Neath River mouth. Also off Aberavon 11 Guillemots, which was down from c50 seen yesterday afternoon during a quick look during the strong winds. A Golden Plover, a species rarely seen in Swansea Bay, was also seen flying up channel yesterday.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Yellow browed warbler - Cathays Cemetery

Its nice when birds find you rather than the other way round.

I am lucky that my work backs on to Cathays Cemetery (south section) and I have seen some nice birds over the years. I was working out in the yard when I heard a yellow browed calling from the sycamores backing on to our compound. Unfortunately I was without binoculars but decided to take a look. I was lucky enough to find it feeding low down in the sycamores when it gave close views. A good site tick for me.

I believe it was seen later on by others.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Ring-necked Duck still at CBWR

 A record shot of the 1st W male Ring-necked Duck alongside Lesser Scaup and Tufties at CBWR earlier today.

Ring-necked Duck CBWR 22 October (edited pm)

Bird was showing well this morning and managed to get a few more photos for the record. Nice to get a couple with the Ring-necked in the same frame as the Lesser Scaup.

A couple of thoughts as I don't know much about Ring-necked Ducks:
Bill appears very long and the bill/forehead line very straight
Should there be vermiculated grey flank feathers?

Brilliant find Gareth - thanks very much.

*Additional photos from this afternoon added below showing wing bar and bird in better light.

With Tufted and Pochard

Best of the bird by itself

With the Lesser Scaup

Status of Ring-necked Duck in Glamorgan (VC41)

Ring-necked Duck in Glamorgan
(Rare American Vagrant)
Broad Pool, Gower drake on 6th May 1989 - 1st VC41 record
Kenfig Pool female from 9th to 12th April 1995
Lisvane Reservoir drake on 26th April 1999
Llanishen/Lisvane Reservoir fem/imm on 17th Oct. 2000
Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir fem on 31st Dec. 2000
Cosmeston Lakes drake on 17th Sept. 2002
Llanishen/Lisvane Reservoir female on 30th April 2003
Cosmeston Lakes drake from 9th Jan. to 5th Feb. 2004
Kenfig Pool fem or 1st W male on 11th Nov. 2006
Kenfig Pool drake on 29th March 2010
Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir drake from 1st to 6th April 2010 (possibly the KNNR bird)
Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve 1st W male on 20th, 22nd, 24th to 28th Oct. 2015

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Ring-necked Duck at Cardiff Bay WR

 Gareth Stamp made a really good call on a juv/1st W duck at CBWR this evening. A bird showing many features consistent with a pure Ring-necked Duck but in this plumage completely ruling out a hybrid is a tricky call. Gareth's record shots in fading light show enough features to make a safe call regarding the purity of this bird. Well done to Gareth and thanks also to Barry Stewart for his comments on this bird.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Woodlarks at Mewslade today. PP, CG, PT.

                                   3 Woodlark were on the barn roof at Mewslade farm
                                   at noon. They flew off towards the chapel but could not
                                   be relocated. Also Wheatear and Whitethroat of note.


Whooper Swan (ad) was briefly at Fendrod Lake this am [RHAT]

News from Flat Holm this month (Oct.) include:
SEO on 3rd (4th island rec.)
Willow Wbr. 3rd (possibly a northern bird)
Whitethroat 3rd & 5th
Whinchat 12th
Wheatear - small passage - max 14 on 5th.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Yellow-browed Warbler at Mewslade

A poor record shot of a Yellow-browed Warbler in Mewslade Valley this afternoon. One, or possibly two birds, were present found by Eddie Hunter in with a very large and mobile tit flock. Barry Stewart had a Firecrest among the flock too.