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 January 2012


The drake Lesser Scaup back at Cossie this morning, with Tufties between the centre viewing point along the central path, and the main bridge, keeping well in to the side.
Here's a couple of record shots - cropped as much as poss and sharpened - no light, 1600 ISO etc etc.

It's the 'standing' bird here.

Saturday 28 January 2012

Water Pipits at Neath Abbey saltmarsh

My quest continues for a decent shot of a Water Pipit but these two were showing today from the roundabout that overlooks the Neath Abbey saltmarsh. Also present here was the long-staying Pink-footed Goose.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Dowlais Top area, Merthyr

Iceland Gulls x 2 (2nd W & 1st W), mainly viewed from Lidl's carpark at Dowlais top, which gave a good overall vantage point for viewing the area. The gull flock was circling around the area, at times flying over me. An obvious very pale off-white bird, with some faint buffish markings on mantle & wing coverts with very white primaries & secondaries [2nd W] seen first at 13.40, with a second biscuit coloured immature bird [1st W bird], seen at 14.25. Both birds appeared to fly off over Asda. Not relocated. Pontsticill Res was devoid of Gulls at 13hrs - one crossbill flew-over.
27/01: Both 2nd W & 1st W were seen again in same area. [per MCP].

Great Grey Shrike at Gyfylchi

Great Grey Shrike (c) Nick Murfin
Nick Murfin, Senior Ranger at Afan Valley Park, took this photo of a Great Grey Shrike which was showing just beyond the Mountain Centre and Bryn Bettws log cabins in young conifer plantation around SS814957. This photo was taken on the 13th January 2012 and is the in same area where Chris brewer found one last year 19th March. The distance between the Gyfylchi and Mynydd Margam is about 8km which isn't that far for a Shrike but these 2 areas did hold at least 2 birds around March last year. Elaine Jones has seen a Great Grey Shrike with some frequency near the Afan Argoed visitor centre this winter which is likely to be the same bird as photographed here.

Sunday 22 January 2012

Iceland Gull : Pen Y Bryn

Few record shots of the Iceland Gull,it was the only gull in the field alongside the chapel as I drove past mid-morning on the way to Kenfig.

Bonaparte's Gull

An adult Bonaparte's Gull in heliport bay this morning till 10:40 but then no sign again by midday.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Iceland Gull at Pen-Y-Bryn 21/1/12

Seen today in the field by the church feeding on worms between 12 noon and 1.30pm .Took flight a few times ,this the only semi reasonable shot i got.

Yellow-legged Gull from last year

Looks like it's been a bit slow today so I thought it might be an opportunity to post something from the not too distant past. These shots are a few stills taken from a video I took of the 2w Yellow-legged Gull at Oxwich Bay 29th December 2011. A short bit of footage from which these images were taken can be found below.

Yellow-legged Gull video

Thursday 19 January 2012

Iceland gull

                                     In field behind Pen-y-bryn chapel today, found by Colin Gittins.
                                     Grid ref SS835 845.

Whooper Swans on Broad Pool

Philip Croft wrote: 'On Tuesday morning [17th], about 9am, I was driving past Broad Pool. I saw swans on it (which is unusual, anyway), assumed they were Mute, then glanced sideways and saw the bill pattern on one; it was a Whooper. I reversed back and had a good look; there were six Whooper Swans and four Mute Swans on the pool. For 18 years I drove past Broad Pool twice a day and never saw Whooper Swans on it, so this is pretty unusual.'

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Iceland Gull at Pontsticill Res.

Record shot of the 3rd W Iceland Gull that was seen at Pontsticill Res. 17/01. Most of this reservoir is in VC42, however the south-western part is in Greater Glamorgan (Merthyr) and this bird was observed in both counties. Photo by Mike Hogan

Whooper Swans at Llys Pen-y-wern pond (Dowlais)

A party of 10 Whooper Swans at Llys Pen-y-wern pond [17/01] by Mike Hogan

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Glossy Ibis on Sully Moors

Couple of record shots from this morning of the Glossy Ibis at Sully Moors. It was found yesterday at this site and then moved to Cosmeston late afternoon probably to roost, as it was seen first thing this AM coming out from underneath the boardwalk near the children's dipping pool.

Monday 16 January 2012

Glossy Ibis at Cosmeston

Glossy Ibis reported on GBC site today, first at Sully Moors then at Cosmeston [reported by the ranger] at "4 p.m. onwards" by the pond dipping area [dog field route towards med village].

17/01 - Reported at Cosmeston at 08.15, flew off north, possibly back to Sully Moors? [per SPH]

Sunday 15 January 2012

Willow Tit - Nelson Wern

Tail outer tf much shorter than inner
Dull cap all black bill
Wing flash
Open bill see cutting edges
etc etc
Call is nagging zeez zeez ///zeez zeez

More Icelands?

For info - message on the GBC pages today of two Iceland Gulls [1stW and 3rdW] in the Pontsticill Res roost this eve, at the N end and thus prob in Brecon. Possible they may get into the Glam end tho'. Worth someone checking if U get the chance.

Saturday 14 January 2012

Pink-footed Goose in NPT

This morning while walking to the Neath Abbey Saltmarsh the regular Pink-footed Goose flew over with a single Canada Goose. This sighting came just after first light and was presumed to be coming in from a roost and the direction suggested this roost was in Cimla somewhere. Although it spent most of the time feeding in the creeks and out of view it was never far away from the Canada Geese(62 noted).
Early afternoon Gwyn Randall relocated the bird with 70 Canada Geese on the main lake at Gnoll CP. Nick Edwards reported it still present at the Gnoll at 15:50 where it was happily feeding on bread and seed. At 16:10 the bird flew off on its own.
There is a local wildfowl collection, in Cimla, which does keep a number of  "wild goose" species including some free flying ones. This goose does not have a ring on it and hopefully it has just become assimilated to the behaviour of the local Canada Geese in much the same way as other Pink-footed Geese have done in earlier years as described by David Gilmore in a thread belonging to the Pink-footed at Ogmore last October (found here).However, it will probably be worth asking the question to the owner of the local wildfowl collection whether he has a Pink-footed Goose that goes walkabout from time to time?

Friday 13 January 2012

Adw Iceland Gull record shot and Istw news

Ad Iceland Gull Oxwich 7/1/12
As promised a video grab of the adult Iceland Gull at Oxwich on the 7/1/12. The video is very dark and this image has been processed heavily. However, it does show the heavier streaking around the head and lack of 3w bill which should be enough to separate it from the 3w that stayed for a few days. A few birders present around Oxwich today but no Iceland sightings that I'm aware of.

Dave Lewis did confirm that the 1stw Iceland Gull was sill present around the Jackstones Pier at Aberavon early afternoon, today.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Iceland Gull at Jackstones Pier

With all the reports that this bird was showing well all day I found it impossible to ignore in the end and went down to see it late afternoon. It was showing well both sides of the Jackstones Pier (great name) before flying off towards the Neath rivermouth around 16:00 and may be roosting around there. The Jackstones Pier is located at the southern end of Abreavon Beach which is accessed easily from the car park at the end of Victoria Road.
I agree with Martyn Hnatiuk that this bird shows very mixed bag of plumage features especially the bare parts. It looks good for 1stw to me and is very similar to the Nicholaston Pill bird. This bird, like the Nickolaston bird, is quite large but I think that they are different birds due to the differences in darker looking plumage around the eyes of both birds.
Whatever the case it is a nice bird which may provide much friendlier photo opportunities due to smaller gull flocks which seem to be less wary of human presence than the larger flocks at Oxwich. I know a few birders successfully caught up with this bird today which is great; nice find Colin.

Aberavon rivermouth today.

                                    Iceland gull, found by Colin Gittins this
                                    morning near the jackstone short arm pier.

Nelson Bog : Willow or Marsh Tit

Richard Smith and myself visited the site last Friday and saw and definitely heard Willow Tit,Richard posted a photo he took on GBC blog.
Myself and Peter Morgan returned there on Sunday as we both wanted to try and photograph Willow Tit and I posted the three photos below on SWB blog which has caused something of a debate as to whether the bird feeding on the handrail is in fact Willow or Marsh Tit.
Despite the more common tits,Robins and Nuthatches being quite vocal we did not hear either Willow or Marsh Tit on Sunday when two birds were present.
The site has become something of a "hot-spot" for Willow Tit but that is not to say that Marsh Tit is not also present.

Sunday 8 January 2012

Iceland Gulls still at Oxwich

My mission at Oxwich this morning was picking the bones out of the Gulls that I saw yesterday. The subtle difference have caused me many a headache and my respect of Gull specialists has increased dramatically as an aside to this very welcome influx of Iceland Gulls into the area. I'm fairly confident that the top 2 photos are of the bird that Jeff Slocombe photographed on 02/01/12 and are of a faded 1stw Iceland Gull which I thought was a 2ndw earlier today, This bird seems to favour the Nicholaston Pill area , early morning seems the best time to catch it.
I saw the bird below yesterday which had already been found by Eddie Hunter earlier in the day. Initially, I had thought that this bird might be long staying 2ndw Iceland Gull that Barry Stewart had photographed on 28/12/11. In much better light today I could see that it is far more advanced than that bird and is a 3rdw as called by Eddie. It also means that the bird shown below is a different bird again with far heavier streaking around the head although admittedly it is difficult to pick from the photo below. If I can produce a clearer video grab later I'll post it.
Comments/corrections welcome and it will be interesting to find if anyone has seen different Iceland Gulls to the ones already pictured. Iceland Gulls seem to be around in good numbers and it will be nice to add to the already impressive totals for the winter so far

Saturday 7 January 2012

Iceland Gulls in Oxwich Bay

There were at least 2 Iceland Gulls in Oxwich Bay today. I arrived at Oxwich in already very poor light and this "video grab" photo was taken at 16:32. It shows the adult bird (I think) and there was a 2w bird also but unfortunately the light had gone before I saw it so no chance of a record shot. Eddie Hunter also reported 2 Iceland Gulls today, a 2w and 3w; I'm fairly confident that this isn't a 3w bird because I didn't see any brown feathering in the coverts or primaries although I couldn't say for certain how good the bill was for adult.
If this is an adult, then there are at least 3 Iceland Gulls at Oxwich at the moment and the Gull numbers were once again very impressive at last light going to roost on the sea. There could well be some more white-wingers tomorrow?

Friday 6 January 2012

Great Northern Diver:Lwyn On Resv'r

Few images from a visit today in company with Richard Smith.

Cardiff seawatching

A flock of 27 Common Scoter UC, then DC on 4th [all males], this is a very good count for the Cardiff UA. Kittiwake (3) & Fulmar (1) on 5th also adult Yellow-legged Gull. All off the Cardiff Heliport. No sign of ad IG.

Turtle Dove in Porthcawl Feb. 2011

The photo taken by Kay Pothecary was sent to the GRC by Dave Carrington.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Oxwich Bay & Beach

8:00 to 16:00

1 Balearic Shearwater came into the bay and was watched feeding (diving into the sea from flight repeatedly) at about 14:30 for about 2-3mins. If was right among the feeding party quite close to shore and during this brief period Herring gulls were trying to catch and rob it; sometimes it would stay submerged for a while to avoid them.

Also present 1 1stw Iceland Gull at Nicholston Pill briefly and a distant white-winged Gull around Threecliff Bay looked good for Glaucous. It appeared to be a second or third year bird but it could possibly have been the 2w Iceland which was not seen around it's usual haunt, near the church. The interesting (to my eyes anyway) gull in the post below showed late afternoon this time on the sea and was pretty distant.

Common Scoter(40+), Teal(17), Little Egret(1), Great Northern Diver(1), Red-throated Diver(1), 5 Great Crested Grebe and Mediterranean Gull(4adws). Gulls numbering in excess of 6000 around the bay by the end including 750+ Kittiwake.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Interesting Gull

I came across this gull towards the end of my visit to Oxwich today. It was near Nicholson Pill among the small and heavily disturbed gull flock. A striking bird which shows some features you might expect to find on an American Herring Gull but proving it will be tough and may well just end up an interesting looking gull. Better photos would certainly help but unfortunately light, wind and distance all played their part in making these the best of my digiscoped efforts. Hopefully it'll stay a while.

Monday 2 January 2012

Gower today

Record shots taken today of the Glaucous [Iceland] Gull at Nicholaston Pill and Tree Sparrow at Newton Farm feeding station.

Great Northern Diver still at Llwyn-on reservoir

(c) Julian Evans
 Julian sent in some cracking shots of the Great Northern Diver which was still present today at Llwyn-on reservoir.
(c) Julian Evans

In the west...

Glaucous Gull 1st winter still at Nicholaston (CB & JS)
Iceland Gull 2nd winter still at Oxwich (RHAT)
Pink-footed Goose still at Neath saltmarsh (MHi)
2 Great White Egrets still at Wernffrwd (BS & RHAT)


Glaucous Gull [1st W] still at Nicholston pill. [per JS]
Iceland Gull [ad W] past Cardiff Heliport towards Cardiff Bay [per PB]
Lesser Scaup still present Cosmeston.

Sunday 1 January 2012

New Year's Day 2012

Lesser Scaup, Whooper Swan and adult Iceland Gull at Cosmeston (AB)
1st w Glaucous Gull at Nicholaston Pill first thing, also 2 Great Northern Divers in the bay (BS).
Great White Egret at Wernffrwd and Pink-footed Goose at Fendrod (RHAT)
Great Grey Shrike at Garw Nant (CPR)

News 1/01/12

GND still at Llwyn-on Res.
Hen Harrier (ring-tail) at KNNR
Little Egret (10 at roost) Hendre Lake

Happy New Year to all, from all at the GRC