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.

Friday 29 June 2012

Gull-billed Tern south of Loughor Bridge (26/6/12)

A few more shots from the 26th June 2012 where the bird showed well but the weather was awful. A video of the bird from that day, when it performed entirely in Glamorgan, can be found on the link at the bottom of the post.

Gull-billed Tern video

Thursday 28 June 2012

Gull-billed Tern:Loughor

Few record shots from Wed evening,thanks to Mark Hipkin for arranging access through the new railway bridge construction site,unfortunately the tern was not as cooperative as Carillion and never came close enough to get a quality photo.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Black-headed Bunting update

After moving on from Glamorgan on the 17th, during it's stay in Carmarthenshire (18th-24th June), these shots were taken by Gary Harper, showing the throat markings much clearer.
(c) G. Harper
(c) G. Harper

Gull-billed Tern settled in Glamorgan

In truly awful conditions this evening I did manage to get the video started on a few occasions between  more persistent periods of rain. These are a few video grabs of this seemingly settled bird? It was watched in it's favoured area, south of the Loughor Bridge, almost uninterrupted between 12:53 to 20:00 associating closely with the Black-headed Gull flock, by a number of observers.

Monday 25 June 2012

Gull-billed Tern south of Loughor Bridge

Still showing very well early morning till 08:30 approx. Chris Brewer confirmed it to be present still at 06:00 and it remained on view from the Loughor Bridge (road) before relocating to Penclacwydd after being flushed by the incoming tide.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Gull-billed Tern

On our third visit of the day Sand and myself were elated to find the Gull-billed Tern roosting with Black-headed Gulls south of Loughor Bridge (SS561976) at 7pm. It stayed long enough for Rob Taylor (who found it at WWT this morning) to add it to his Glamorgan list too.

Saturday 23 June 2012

Mumbles Seawatching

Seawatching from Bracelet Bay carpark 5:10 to 8:30

1 Storm Petrel west 07:30 (& prob earlier east 6:44)
2 Arctic Skua(dp) west 5:20
2 Sandwich Tern(w), 1 Common Scoter(w), 7 Fulmar(w), 10+ Gannet(w), 19 Guillemot(w), 2 Razorbill(w).
Manx Shearwaters and Kittiwake feeding and recycling. Manx Shearwaters started to arrive in numbers around 6:30 which may have brought the Storm Petrel in too?

A nice mini experiment (not prearranged) was that Owain Gabb was watching the same area, but from lookout station, and the records are mainly consistent. It shows me that stuff can be missed that passes close to Tutt head but also stuff that passes further out will be missed from the carpark.

Friday 22 June 2012

Black-headed Bunting

Belated news of a male Black-headed Bunting photographed in a Godre'r Graig garden on the 17th May. The black on the throat and pale grey flecks on the mantle indicate that this was almost certainly the same bird that appeared in a Carmarthenshire garden about 45km to the west the following day (see here)
(c) Barbara Wood

Porthcawl seawatch [1030 - 1400hrs]

There was an extremely large passage of Manx Shearwater down channel here today and I took some counts at 1/2hr intervals as shown below.

1030hrs - 35/min
1100hrs - 42/min
1130hrs - 78/min
1200hrs - 83/min
1230hrs - 59/min
1300hrs - 46/min
1330hrs - 32/min

Although the total figure maybe regarded as a best guess estimate and not a completely accurate count. I used the1030hrs total for the next 30mins giving a total of 1050 (35*30) birds between 1030 - 1059. Then repeated this for the next 1/2 hr spell and so on. Working on this premise, the total for the 3 1/2 period would make a total of 11,250 birds. Next time I will try the same method at 15min intervals for even greater accuracy. The peak count coincides with the hour/hours after high tide when birds start to leave the upper channel as the tide drops.

Other birds seen :- 2 Storm Petrel [1 d/c @ 1042hrs, 1 u/c @ 1316hrs], 2 Common Tern [d/c @ 1220hrs], 26 Fulmar, 29 Gannet, 4 Guillemot.

Other observeres present - M. Meehan, G. Roblin

Comments on how to count manx and other methods welcome.

Lavernock/St. Mary's Well Bay seawatch

Lavernock LNR (seawatch hide) 09:00-12:00hrs Cloud/rain WSW 5-6>7
Manx Shearwater (1340 in 3 hrs, all DC), Cormorant (3), Fulmar (9, all DC), Gannet (12, mixed ages - 11 DC, 1 UC), Razorbill (1 DC at 09.31), Arctic Skua (dark-phase UC at 10.44) & Storm Petrel (1 UC at 11.03).

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Mumbles seawatching 16/06/12

Late posting. Mumbles experienced some good coverage of birds passing on Saturday 16th June.

06:50 to 09:00 per Martin Bell

44 Storm Petrel
1 Great Skua

11:00 to 13:00 per Matt Hunter

6 Storm Petrel

14:00 to 17:00 per Mark Hipkin

13 Strom Petrel
1 Arctic Skua (dp)
Manx Shearwater - passing at 10/min from 14:00 till 16:30 with less in the last 30mins - easily 1500+

Saturday 16 June 2012

Porthcawl Seawatch Part 2

1530-1830hrs. Conditions not as wild as last week but did get

1 dp Arctic Skua
7 Storm Petrel

760 Manx, 9 Kittiwake, 74 Gannet, 42 Fulmar, 1 Black Headed Gull, 2 GBB Gull and 2 Common/Harbour Porpoise.

Also present at various times - A. Hughes, G. Roblin and J. Slocombe.

Porthcawl seawatch

10.20am-12.20pm, West Drive, Porthcawl, all birds > W: Common Tern 1, Gannet 32 (12 ad), Manx Shearwater 251, Whimbrel 1, Fulmar 9, Storm Petrel 1, Kittiwake 1.

Friday 8 June 2012

Mumbles seawatch

The closest Storm Petrel during my watch.

From Bracelet Bay carpark 14:00 to 17:00 (All birds heading west)

30+ Storm Petrel
1 Petrel sp
1 Arctic Tern
3 Sandwich Tern
40+ Manx Shearwater
40+ Gannet
3 Swift

It was difficult to put an accurate figure to the Stormies passing from Bracelet Bay carpark. I watched many make it past the lookout station but a few were clearly being driven back by the wind. There was also a group of 4 birds that spent most of the time just off the rocks below the lighthouse.

One Petrel did catch my eye. It was fairly distant and at first sighting it looked bigger than a Storm, but its flight was the thing that made me follow it. It flew past much quicker than the Storms had been to that point. To emphasise that point while I was watching it, it caught up with and went straight past a Storm Petrel flying the same line. The flight itself was quite effortless and it seemed to be shearing most of the time. The distance involve meant I was not able to make much of the plumage features. It's a shame that no-one else was there to give an opinion on it.

On my way home I had a look into Swansea Bay and a further 6 Storm Petrel were flying around the more sheltered waters out from Mumbles Pier.

Porthcawl seawatch [1000-1300hrs]

Strong South-westerley force 7. Arrived just before high tide, with the two hours after high tide usually having the highest concentration in birds.

11 Storm Petrel - some quite close
1 dp Arctic Skua
1 Great Skua - very close

Also 1 Sandwich Tern, 800 Manx, 4 Kittiwake, 14 Gannet, 85 Fulmar (high count for here, will have to check what is the record), 1 GBB Gull.

Lavernock Pt seawatch

3 hr seawatch in total with Jake Gilmore 09:00 - 12:00.
Manxie 470, Fulmar 30 [highest count for this site], Gannet 10, Kittiwake 2, Storm-petrel 2, Common Tern 1, GBB Gull 2.

Monday 4 June 2012

May Round-up

Click on photo to access the page or alternatively the Monthly Round-up pages are available via the link in the sidebar.

Saturday 2 June 2012

Porthcawl seawatch

From West Drive, Porthcawl, 8.15-10.15am: Manx Shearwater (30 – 21 > E, 9 > W), Common Tern (2 > E), Gannet (5 ad, 6 imm – 5 > E, 6 > W), Swift (3 > E).
Also: Harbour Porpoise (4), Common Dolphin (1).