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.

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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, 4 January 2016

4 Slavonian Grebes at Whiteford (3/1/16)

Gower Ornithological Society's annual field trip went ahead as planned yesterday despite the very poor weather. It wasn't quite as bad weather-wise as the forecast had suggested, but at times the heavy rain showers made the long walk hard work.
A search for the Snow Buntings along the strand line next to the Lapwing enclosure was unsuccessful. However, after early disappointment things picked up with 2 Great Northern Divers near the Lighthouse plus a few Great Crested Grebes and drake Red-brested Mergansers. One of the GND's showed close in off the beach while the other flew up the inlet. Presumably one of the same GND's showed off the point at the mouth of Burry Pill and a pair of RBM's flew strongly up the Burry Inlet.
From the hide at Berges Island there was lots of activity. 500+ Pintails lined both sides of Burry Pill and c100 Dark-belled Brents were mixed in. There was a Pale-bellied Brent with c40 D-b Brents in front of the hide. Surprisingly, there were 2 GND's way up the flooded pill towards Llanrhidian Marsh with another single bird right in front of the hide. Initially up with the GND's were 2 Slavonian Grebes, and then later, on the falling tide, a further 2 Slavs appeared. 4 together was a minimum count of Slavs with another single Slav appearing briefly, but frustratingly not allowing a conclusive count of 5 birds on a single sweep from the hide.  A scattering of Great Crested Grebes and 3 more RBM's were seen from the hide as were a party of 22 Eider, a drake Common Scoter came as close to the hide as I can ever remember seeing one and a pair of Wigeons just appeared from nowhere in true Whiteford fashion. There was also many waders showing both sides of the Burry Pill. The vast majority were Dunlins (1000+) and mixed in were Grey Plovers (40+), a few Knots and Ringed Plovers.
The rain while walking back from the hide to the cars was 'biblical', but we still managed to summon the moral and chance a look over the roosting area at Llanrhidian Marsh on the return home. This decision paid off as the weather stayed clear except for one heavy shower that lasted around 20 mins. Between 15:00 and 17:00 a decent haul of expected birds showed from Marsh Road. One real bonus was an early flying Barn Owl at 15:30 and over the course of the watch 4 SEO's were seen with 2 Hen Harriers. One of the Hen Harriers was a cracking male that came in from height and quartered the marsh only briefly before settling down for the night. The Egret roost kicked into action late on with 51 Little Egrets arriving in a single group around 16:30 these were followed by some single birds and two further small groups (11 + 8). At 16:55 the 3 Great White Egrets came in with a single bird being followed about a minute later by the long-returning pair.
The Slavonian Grebe count was particularly encouraging since only a couple of observations have been noted previously this winter. January is usually a popular month for birders heading to Whiteford and we would be very pleased to hear from visiting birders and any counts made.

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