Upcoming trips

Next Weds, 1st June is our annual evening jaunt up to Llanwonno to try & see Nightjars. We meet in the dirt car park below the Brynfynnon Arms Hotel {ST033956 – CF37 3PH] at 8:30 p.m.

Bring a torch and insect repellent. Please let me know by emali if you are coming.

Sunday week – 5th June – we travel to Somerset to Ham Wall RSPB reserve for reedbed birds including Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Great White Egret, possibly Hobby, and more. It’s around 1 1/2 hrs so meet in the RSPB car park at 09:30. If you wish to car share I need to know in advance and if required the pick up will be at the usual St Margaret’s Rd, Whitchurch, Cardiff for departure at 8 a.m. Again I need to know by email if you are coming and also whether you would like or are willing to car share.

Location details:  RSPB Ham Wall, Meare, Ashcott, Glastonbury BA6 9S; Grid ref ST449397; What3Words biggest.sharpened.clots

johndw1948 at gmail dot com

Welcome back the Swifts

This event is on Sat 14th May – “Welcome back the Swifts”. Not long now until the swifts return from Africa. Glamorgan Bird Club, in association with RSPB Cymru and the Cardiff Harbour Authority will be holding a “Welcome back the swifts” event on Cardiff Bay barrage on Saturday May 14th. Come along to celebrate the return of these iconic birds. There will be plenty on offer, including guided bird walks and children’s activities. The main event will be on the rubber crumb surfaced area near the skate park at the Cardiff end of the barrage. There is limited paid parking in that area so it might be better to park at the Penarth end and walk across. See below re free parking at the Penarth end.

Some useful info regarding this event. Rather than pay the extortionate parking fees at the car park at the Penarth end of the barrage, there is a free car park near the Tesco store. When you drop down to the Tesco roundabout, take the first exit and there’s an entrance to a free car park about 100m on the right [there’s a height restriction but cars are fine]. From there it’s about a 10-15 min walk to the barrage. Walk along the adjacent road, then go right at the first junction then left when you reach the main road to the barrage. This avoids possibly being caught by the Marina lock gate being open for boats and thus closed for pedestrians whilst boats enter or leave. There’s not usually a long wait but you never know.

Upcoming field trip

Tuesday 10th May we have a field trip to the RSPB Highnam Woods reserve, just west of Gloucester. The main reason for visiting is to hopefully hear, and with some luck and patience see, Nightingale, plus other commonm woodland species including possibly Spotted Flycatcher.

I will be away for this trip so Alan Rosney will be leading [thanks v much Alan]. One stipulation is that another participant will be needed and willing to act as deputy leader. Please could anyone who wishes to attend communicate with Alan rather than me [alanrosney@gmail.com].

The reserve is easy to find – go all the way up the A48 from Chepstow and when you meet the A40 turn left and the reserve is a short way along on the right [see map]. The car park is being opened especially for us, at 10 a.m. [it is normally closed on weekdays] and will be closed at 4 p.m.

AGM 2022 – 26th April

The 2022 GBC AGM will be held live at Pencoed Rugby Club starting at 7:30 p.m. Full details are in the embedded pdf notice below. The displayed page is scrollable or can be popped out into a new window with the popout button top right. In the popout view the pdf can be downloaded using the down arrow symbol top right. As always, the official business will be followed by one of Alan Rosney’s devilish birdy quizzes. There will also be refreshments.

As required by our constitution, those trustees being elected anew or re-elected are required to provide a brief biog. Those for this AGM can be viewed by clicking here.

As required, GBC Chair, Jean Haslam has prepared the trustee’s report for 01/01/2021 to 31/03/2022. Click here to view and download a copy.

Also as required, the accounts in pdf form are now available to view and download – please click these links: Income and Expenditure and Balance Sheet. NB it should be noted that the accounts are as yet, not audited.

Upcoming field trip 27th Mar


Next Sunday, 27th March, there’s a field trip to Chew Valley Lake [aka Chew Reservoir] south of Bristol. If you haven’t been, it’s a huge reservoir that offers lots of wildfowl, occasionally waders. We might get some early hirundines. There’s a long staying 1stW Ring-billed Gull there and there has been Cattle Egret, Little Gull, & Scaup recently. There are free roadside viewing areas at Herriot’s Bridge/Pool and Heron’s Green Pool but there are also hides we may want to visit and these require permits from Bristol Water. This also gives access to the nearby Blagdon Reservoir and the Barrow Gurney Tanks, which we have visited in the past. Some of the hide access tracks can be very muddy. NB there has been an update as the permit situation has changed somewhat since our last visit. Please see below.

Due to the new permit arrangements we will meet at 09:30 or as near as is possible in the laybys at Herriot’s Bridge [see the bottom of the map below]. From Penarth acc to Google Maps it’s 1hr 30 mins. As far as I can make out, the post code is BS40 8TF [this is the post code of the cafe]. I have not thus far been able to contact Bristol Water to ask about a group permit but I will try a couple more times. Individual permits have to be obtained online through a ‘portal’ and require password registration – too much red tape!

Access is from the A38 going S from Bristol and taking the next left turn after passing the Barrow Gurney reservoir complex, the turning signed for Chew Magna, called Barrow Lane on Google Maps.

If people wish, we can probably car share for this so if you want to do that then let me know when booking via email. We should meet at St Margaret’s Road, Whitchurch [see map on the website <events>< field trips> page] and aim to leave there at a little after 8. We meet at the Whitchurch Park end of the road. I do need to know one way or the other. If no-one says yes to car sharing I won’t go via Whitchurch as it’s out of my way.

Help! Bird report summary writers req’d

Help! John Wilson here – I finally have all the bird records for 2021 [just over 130,000 of them!], in a ‘master’ spreadsheet. So the “help” is basically a plea for volunteers to write species summaries. The more volunteers there are the smaller the groups of species to be shared out. Basically you need access to MS Excel and be able to use it to sort records [e.g. by location, or date to extract info for the summary]. If you think you can help, please email me [johndw1948 at gmail dot com]. As always I usually aim to have summaries back by the end of August. If you’ve not done it before, have a look at a recent report to see the kind of style we aim for.

Swift Bricks

As folk who follow or are involved in the Swift project, we are keen to encourage the installation of Swift bricks into new build housing and the like, to compensate for the loss of Swift nesting apertures in the eaves of older properties which are increasingly being improved with UPVC soffits. There is an interesting leaflet on the construction and use of these bricks which is now viewable below. Click within the image and you can scroll through it. Hit the black ‘pop-out’ button top right and you can view in Google Drive and download it.

Friends of Nant Llwynog Park – Bedlinog

Nestbox installation and nest record scheme

Marginal bird species can be encouraged to thrive and be part of Nature’s Recovery. It is surprising how many species can be found in woodland edges and parkland areas. Many bird species can be supported and protected by the careful placing of nesting boxes, including Nuthatch, Redstart and Pied Flycatcher. Other timid birds such as Willow Tits can be given sheltered spots in old or rotting timber. If the place is right they will use it. The Friends of Nant Llwynog Park are supporting this scheme and more details and illustrations can be found in the leaflet which is viewable below. Click within the image and you can scroll the pages. Click the black pop-out button top right and you will see it in Google Drive where it can be downloaded.

Upcoming field trip – Forestof Dean

A heads up that there’s a field trip to the Forest of Dean on Sunday 27th Feb. We always meet at a location called New Fancy View, north of Parkend. This is an elevated viewpoint over the forest, atop what was an old mine spoil heap. It’s a good place to scan for Goshawk, and we have often seen Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Crossbill, Siskin and the like from there. It’s short steep walk up and down on a dirt path. I suggest meeting there at 9:30. It’s about an hour and a quarter run from my house in Penarth, to give some idea. The location is marked on the map. You travel up the B4234 from Lydney, off the A48 from Chepstow. We will also visit nearby Parkend Church where the adjacent wood is a location for Hawfinch. There are other local sites to visit, including the RSPB Nags Head woodland reserve. Apart from the viewpoint most walking is more or less flat.

GBC/WOS Rookery survey 2022/23

We are just getting involved with a major Rookery survey, both for our local area and in partnership with the Welsh Ornithological Society, who are organising a Wales wide survey. It involves surveying Rookeries to see which have breeding activity, as Rooks are in serious decline. There’s a full page on this site here, which gives all the detail and how to get involved – do take a look.

Julian Hughes’s talk this evening

What a fascinating talk we were delivered by Julian Hughes, editor of the Welsh Bird Report and co-editor of the recently published “The Birds of Wales, Adar Cymru”, for which GBC sponsored the summaries of two species. Forty participants were treated to 90 minutes of how the book was researched and put together, historical facts about Wales and its birds, conservationists, habitats, lost species, new colonisers …. you name it, we heard about it. An absolutley fascinating talk, so a big diolch yn fawr to Julian.

Ty Tanglwyst Farm [S. Cornelly]

On Monday 7th February, 6 GBC members undertook a Big Farmand Bird Count at Ty Tanglwyst Farm, a partner of GBC, where we have previosuly installed nestboxes in an area of woodland on the farm. They spent from 10:00 until 12:45 walking a route around the farm, making a note and count of every species seen. This resulted in a count of 30 different species, covering a good range of common species including both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 4 thrush species {Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and Redwing], and many others. See the full list here. With apologies to the purists, it’s not in taxonomic order. Well done to the team tho’.

This count is orgamnised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, sponsored by NFU, with many other partners. Full details can be seen on the website here.

Zoom presentation – Tues 15th Feb – 7:30 p.m.

We are pleased to announce that we have booked a Zoom presentation from Julian Hughes, the editor of Birds in Wales, the publication of the Welsh Ornithological Society. The presentation is entitled ‘Birds of Wales. Julian is also one of the editors of the recently published major work, The Birds of Wales, which GBC contributed to by sponsoring the chapters of two species. As a reward for this, sponsoring clubs and societies have been offered the presentation by Julian. Hope to ‘see you there’, as it were. The date and time are Tues 15th Feb starting at 7:30 p.m. The proposed start time is 7:30 but Zoom will be started at 7:15. to give people time to join. Members on the email news group have been notified with a link. If you are not in that group then contact John Wilson for details. John will be away from Fri 11th Feb and will be driving home on the day of the meeting, getting back in time. However he might not have WiFi whilst away so other members of the committee have been given the meeting details and link as well and can be contacted for it. John Wilson

Field trip – Whiteford Pt, Gower

Just a heads up that there’s a field trip next week, on Thurs 10th Feb, to Whiteford Point on N Gower. The plan is to meet at the Cwm Ivy car parking field at 09:30 – timing to allow us to get out to the point without rushing, with the tide nearly high, but still rising [approx high at 12:53]. We would hope to also visit Llanridian Marsh at dusk, hoping for Harriers & Owls. Be aware that this is quite a long and arduous walk, the outer stretch possibly being quite muddy. The car park is at the top of a steep tarmac hill which you have to climb on return. Whiteford Point provides the possibility of seeing divers, rarer grebes, Eider, Geese & waders. As always please email me if you intend to come [unless you’ve already done so, in which case you’re on the list]. Here’s a link to a map of the meet point:


John Wilson johndw1948 at gmail dot com

Bird Report Editor required!

Members may recall the announcement in the Oct 2021 newsletter that I will be retiring as Bird Report editor after c.24 years. The idea was that someone could shadow me as work starts on the 2021 report [and work has now started]. No-one has come forward yet, but we have produced a pdf describing all that the report prodution entails, and this is accessible and downloadable from the ‘Volunteering’ page of the website. See the link below. We are also looking for more volunteers to write species summary sections and the pdf covers this as well. Do have a look and see if this is something you could do. John Wilson
Here’s the link: https://glamorganbirds.org.uk/volunteering/

Very sad news

We in the Glamorgan Bird Club are very sad to have to announce the recent passing of Richard Smith, who many members will remember with great affection.
His funeral will be at Thornhill Crematorium, Cardiff, on Weds 9th February at 2:45 p.m. and anyone who knew him is welcome.
Richard was a founder member of GBC and was actively involved with the club since its birth in 1989, and in the birding scene in South Wales for very many years. He was on the GBC committee for a good number of years, holding various posts, and did a stint as the County Recorder. He was continuously involved with the production of our annual Bird Report, as part of the editorial team from 1996 and as the photo editor until very recently.
Regular attendees at GBC indoor meetings will no doubt remember his entertaining talks about his and Sue’s travels around the world in search of new birds, and in recent years his love of ‘big cats’. His skills with a camera produced some wonderful images. Indeed it was with great pleasure that we commissioned a framed print of one of his favourite tiger images, as a thank you for his services as photo editor when he retired from that task last year. Anne and myself presented it to him at home and he was absolutely delighted with it and it’s such a shame that the pleasure and memories it gave him were so short lived.
Richard was an absolute gentleman and a pleasure to know and be with, and will be sorely missed. We collectively express our condolences to his lovely wife Susie. John Wilson on behalf of the GBC trustees.

Two events next week

On Tues 25th at 7:30 p.m. there will be a Zoom talk entitled “Urban Peregrines – what we know so far” by Ed Drewitt, who is a freelance naturalist, broadcaster and wildlife detective – there’s lots of info on his website: https://www.eddrewitt.co.uk/. Members please contact John Wilson for login details [johndw1948 at gmail dot com].

On Thurs 27th Jan there’s a field trip to Garwnant forestry, which is above the N end of Llwyn-on Reservoir by the A470. I am suggesting meeting in the Visitor Centre car park at around 09:30 traffic permitting. The Garwnant Visitor Centre parking charge is £2. Post Code for Sat Nav is CF48 2HU. There’s a brown sign pointing left off the A470 after you have passed the reservoir, which is beyond Merthyr. Target species will be Crossbill, Redpoll, Siskin and hopefully Willow Tit. It will be a circular walk of approx 3 km, the first half on gravel/earth path, then there’s a steepish downhill section to the return loop which can be quite muddy and slippery, so wear walking boots preferably. Depending on how wet it is there may be a small stepping stone crossing of a drain-off channel, about 2m wide. Please contact me either in reply to this email or direct to my personal address [johndw1948@gmail.com] if you intend to come.

Field trip – Newton Point – Sat 27th Nov

A heads up re an upcoming trip on Saturday week, 27th Nov to Newton Point near Trecco Bay. I am away that weekend so Alan Rosney has kindly agreed to lead for me. Please let him know if you are coming – alanrosney@gmail.comThe start time will be 10 a.m. with high tide being at approx 11:34. The meet point is in Beach Road, Newton just outside, or in the Newton Beach car park – the car park address is 39 Beach Rd, Porthcawl CF36 5NH. This is a pay & display car park but we understand that the double yellow lines on Beach Road just outside, are not ‘active’ between October and May, so if there is room it is possible to park tidily there. It is about a 5 min walk from this location to Newton Point. If folk look at Google Maps there is a car park at the end of the road indicated as Trecco Bay Beach free car park, but a regular birder at this location says that this car park is randomly closed. This link shd give you a Google Maps page with the car park area showing:https://goo.gl/maps/S8BSA1TDWSCW8LY36 Beach Road runs past adjacent on your left to the church and graveyard in Newton. From the main road [Bridgend Road] take Clevis Crescent which then becomes Clevis Hill [quite narrow]. When the village green appears ahead take thed road visible ahead between the two trees. This is Beach Road. Have a good day. JDW

Recent talk

Yesterday evening, 23 participants enjoyed an excellent talk via Zoom, by Naturetrek leader Tom Mabbett. It centered on his favourite locations in the UK, entitled “The best of Britain, Ardnamurchan to The Forest of Dean”. In fact it covered those two locations plus Spurn in E. Yorkshire, the Somerset Levels and a couple of locations in his local patch near Cheltenham. An interesting presentation by an clearly enthusiastic naturalist. Thanks to all who ‘attended’.
Many folk will have heard of Naturetrek, a UK based natural history tour company. During the peak Covid period they set up free online virtual tours to some of their destinations and also have a number of free online talks scheduled, which folk might find interesting. There are links to these below. The talk yesterday was one of another set of talks which are given for free, to suitable organisations or groups such as ours, by some of their leaders. Also of interest is the forest reserve set up in Ecuador using money from their carbon offset donations that are allocated for every individual making a trip with them. Rather like our own carbon offset collections for our trips except we won’t be creating an Ecuadorian rain forest!

Free online talks to sign up for: https://www.naturetrek.co.uk/news/naturetrek-online-winter-roadshow
Free virtual tours: https://www.naturetrek.co.uk/tour-focus/virtual-tours
The carbon offeset nature reserve in Ecuador: https://www.naturetrek.co.uk/about-us/the-naturetrek-reserve