Records of unusual species requiring descriptions

Species requiring further details fall into three categories:

  • British rarities
  • Welsh rarities
  • County birds

British rarities

These are species considered nationally rare in Great Britain, and come under the jurisdiction of British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC). A complete list of national rarities, for which details are required for consideration by the BBRC, is viewable online.

Records concerning national rarities are often sent directly to the BBRC by the observers, and this is done via the electronic portal on the BBRC website.  It is recommended that a record of a national rarity be submitted via the Recorder, who will retain a copy of it for the county archive, and forward the original to the BBRC on the observer’s behalf.  An observer is normally informed by the Recorder of the acceptance or otherwise of records concerning a rarity, within six months after the submission of the record. The BBRC publishes its own annual report detailing records of all of the nationally rare birds in Great Britain. This report, familiarly known as the ‘Rarities Report’, is published in the journal British Birds.

Welsh rarities

There are species considered rare in Wales, and come under the jurisdiction of both the Glamorgan Rarities Committee (GRC) and the Welsh Birds Rarities Committee are:

Brent Goose (of race nigricans ‘Black Brant’); Snow Goose; Taiga Bean Goose; Tundra Bean Goose; American Wigeon; Green-winged Teal; Ring-necked Duck; Lesser Scaup; Surf Scoter; Smew; White-billed Diver; Wilson’s Storm-petrel; Cory’s Shearwater; Great Shearwater; Red-necked Grebe; White Stork; Glossy Ibis; Night-heron; Purple Heron; Golden Eagle; Montagu’s Harrier; Black Kite; White-tailed Eagle; Rough-legged Buzzard; Corncrake; Spotted Crake; Stone-curlew; Black-winged Stilt; American Golden Plover; Kentish Plover; Temminck’s Stint; White-rumped Sandpiper; Buff-breasted Sandpiper; Pectoral Sandpiper; Red-necked Phalarope; Ring-billed Gull; Iceland Gull (of the race kumlieni ‘Kumlien’s Gull’); Caspian Gull; White-winged Black Tern; Alpine Swift; Bee-eater; Red-footed Falcon; Red-backed Shrike; Woodchat Shrike; Golden Oriole; Penduline Tit; Shore Lark; Short-toed Lark; Red-rumped Swallow; Dusky Warbler; Radde’s Warbler; Pallas’s Warbler; Greenish Warbler; Blyth’s Reed Warbler; Marsh Warbler; Melodious Warbler; Icterine Warbler; Barred Warbler; Subalpine Warbler; Rose-coloured Starling; Bluethroat; Nightingale; Red-flanked Bluetail; Red-breasted Flycatcher; Yellow Wagtail (all races other than flavissima and flava); Citrine Wagtail; Olive-backed Pipit; Common Rosefinch; Common (Mealy) Redpoll; Arctic Redpoll; Parrot Crossbill; Serin; Corn Bunting; Ortolan Bunting; Cirl Bunting and Little Bunting.

It is recommended that records concerning such species, together with supporting details, are submitted to the Recorder who will arrange for them to be considered by the Glamorgan Rarities Committee before being passed to the Welsh Birds Rarities Committee.

County rarities

These are species considered locally scarce in Glamorgan, and are dealt with solely by the Glamorgan Rarities Committee (GRC), and are as follows:

Barnacle Goose; Pink-footed Goose; White-fronted Goose; Bewick’s Swan; Whooper Swan; Velvet Scoter; Long-tailed Duck; Ruddy Duck; Black Grouse; Red Grouse; Black-throated Diver; Leach’s Petrel; Sooty Shearwater; Balearic Shearwater; Slavonian Grebe; Black-necked Grebe; Spoonbill; Cattle Egret; Great White Egret; Honey-buzzard; Avocet; Dotterel; Grey Phalarope; Wood Sandpiper; Sabine’s Gull; Glaucous Gull; Iceland Gull; Roseate Tern; Pomarine Skua; Long-tailed Skua; Little Auk; Puffin; Turtle Dove; Long-eared Owl; Hoopoe; Wryneck; Great Grey Shrike; Hooded Crow; Waxwing; Bearded Tit; Woodlark; Chiffchaff (of race tristis ‘Siberian Chiffchaff’); Yellow-browed Warbler; Tree Sparrow; Yellow Wagtail (of race M. f. flava; ‘Blue-headed Wagtail’); Richard’s Pipit; Rock Pipit (of race littoralis; ‘Scandinavian Rock Pipit’); Twite; Lapland Bunting and Snow Bunting; plus any species not previously recorded in Eastern Glamorgan.

Records concerning such species, together with supporting details, are submitted to the Recorder for consideration by the GRC. A rarities description form is available in PDF or Word formats.

Supporting details may include photographs, video, sound recordings, a written description and sketches based on field notes, or combinations of these methods.  Records concerning unusual species trapped for the purposes of ringing should be additionally supported by biometric data.  The Recorder will notify observers of sub-rarities and uncommon birds whether their records have been accepted or not, with reasons, as soon as practicable. Occasionally, further details may be requested at the discretion of the Recorder for more common species for such occurrences as colour variants, out-of-season sightings, and unusually large numbers. More information about the GRC is obtainable from the County Recorder.

Rare breeding birds

Readers should note that our clubs contribute to the records of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP). The Panel’s prime function is to act as a secure depository of sensitive information on the breeding of rare birds in the UK. Data held by the RBBP remains confidential but is used to support conservation objectives by assessing the status of each species annually. The present Panel is made up of representatives of the Joint Nature Conservancy Committee, RSPB, and BTO, together with three independent members and a Secretary. The Panel publishes its own annual report detailing the numbers and status of each species by county. This report is published in the journal British Birds. More information about the RBBP online.

Observers who have first-hand knowledge of rare breeding birds within Glamorgan are requested to submit their evidence to the Recorder, to be forwarded to the Rare Breeding Birds Panel. Information is requested on breeding or potential breeding records of all these species in three categories, based initially on standard Atlas methodologies:

  • possible
  • probable
  • confirmed

Each year, the Recorder will complete RBBP recording forms detailing the status, success and site of each pair. A full list of the species considered by the Panel can be seen on the RBBP website. This includes most species on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and also scarcer non-native species, including the scarcer geese and pheasants, Black Swan, Muscovy Duck.

Species for which information is required that are known to have bred, or attempted to breed, in recent years in Eastern Glamorgan are listed below:

Garganey; Common Pochard; Common Quail; Northern Goshawk; Water Rail; Little Ringed Plover; Long-eared Owl; Short-eared Owl; Lesser Spotted Woodpecker; Merlin; Hobby; Peregrine Falcon; Red-billed Chough; Firecrest; Willow Tit; Cetti’s Warbler; Dartford Warbler; Black Redstart and Hawfinch.

As indicated above, it would be appreciated if records of unusual species were sent to the Recorder as soon after the sighting as possible, to ease the workload that otherwise falls to the various records committees towards the end of the year.  Records not requiring additional details may, of course, be sent at any time, and it is quite in order to send a whole year’s records to the Recorder as soon as the year is over.

The Glamorgan Rarities Committee comprises:

  • Paul Roberts (Chair)
  • Phil Bristow (County Recorder, East Glamorgan) – 2 Forest Oak Close, Cyncoed, Cardiff CF23 6QN.
    Tel no: 07769 973890       Email Phil
  • Rob Taylor (County Recorder, West Glamorgan) – Email Rob
  • Mike Powell (also WBRC member)
  • John Wilson (Secretary and Eastern Glamorgan Report editor) – Email John
  • Barry Stewart
  • Owain Gabb

All records for a year should be submitted to the appropriate Recorder by 31 January of the following year.