New Pochard Survey – Winter 2015-16

Common Pochard are becoming increasingly uncommon in East Glamorgan. Looking at my own Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS ) site, Roath Park Lake, you only have to go back ten years or so and you’d regularly see 50+, occasionally 100+, birds there during the winter months. Now, I’m more likely to see only 5 or 6. But this phenomenon isn’t only happening here. Wintering Pochard numbers are dropping across the UK.

But what’s driving this decline? Well, the Duck Specialist Group, through the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in the UK has set up a project asking people to record sex ratios of Pochard in the hope this will give them an insight into reasons for declines.

Pochard (RSPB Images)
Common Pochard (Photo: RSPB Images)

If you’re lucky enough to record Pochard whilst out birding this winter – in East Glamorgan or elsewhere – can you please make a note of the male to female sex ratio at the site and submit these additional data via the Pochard Survey website? You’ll find out a lot more about the survey on this site and, if scroll down to the bottom of the survey’s webpage, the link you need to click on is ‘CLICK HERE to submit your data’. This takes you to a survey page which is very easy to fill in.

If you have any queries, please contact



Waterbirds in a Freezing Winter

Reporting on population trends of birds revealed through WeBS counts, the latest issue of Waterbirds in the UK is now available.  The report covers the freezing winter of 2010/11 and reaffirms how important the Severn Estuary is for wintering waterbirds in Wales.

Waterbirds in the UK 2010/11: The Wetland Bird SurveyCounts on the Severn Estuary were, for many species, higher than recent averages, with over 75000 wildfowl and waders utilising the estuary, presumably in response to the cold weather.  Although it was cold in western Britain, birds from even colder areas further east in Europe, are likely to have made use of west coast estuaries as cold weather refuges.

Along with Dunlin and Ringed Plover, the six other species to use the Severn Estuary in internationally important numbers (more than 1% of the total international population) are Mute Swan (400), Bewick’s Swan (250), Shelduck (4,230), Pintail (730), Shoveler (570), and Redshank (2,920).

By monitoring our wetlands our volunteers are helping to illustrate important population trends of our wintering waterbirds and how these birds respond to cold weather.

Holt, C.; Austin, G.; Calbrade, N.; Mellan, H.; Hearn, R.; Stroud, D.; Wotton, S. & Musgrove, A.  (2011) Waterbirds in the UK 2010/11: The Wetland Bird Survey. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford.

WeBS Report Published

The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) is the scheme which monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. The principal aims of WeBS are to identify population sizes, determine trends in numbers and distribution and to identify important sites for waterbirds.

The latest annual report, for 2009-10 has now been published.

Though many of our most important water bodies in East Glamorgan are currently surveyed, BTO is keen to broaden the survey to include smaller sites, especially marshy areas that may hold species such as Snipe.    If you’d like to get involved, please contact:

Daniel Jenkins-Jones
WeBS Organiser for East Glamorgan

Holt, C.; Austin, G.; Calbrade, N.; Mellan, H.; Mitchell, C.; Stroud, D.; Wotton, S. & Musgrove, A. (2011) Waterbirds in the UK 2009/10: The Wetland Bird Survey. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford.

February WeBS Counts

Here are some Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) counts made in East Glamorgan over last weekend.

Ogmore Estuary

Canada Goose (4), Cormorant (4), Curlew (4), Gadwall (3), Goldeneye (3), Goosander (1), Green Sandpiper (1), Grey Heron (2), Little Egret (1), Little Grebe (9), Mallard (39), Mute Swan (23), Oystercatcher (18), Purple Sandpiper (14), Redshank (16), Shelduck (16), Teal (60), Turnstone (2), Black-headed Gull (330), Common Gull (6), Great Black-backed Gull (2), Herring Gull (120), Lesser Black-backed Gull (5).

Hensol Lake

Coot (46), Cormorant (3), Gadwall (7), Great Crested Grebe (3), Mallard (6), Mute Swan (3), Pochard (2), Tufted Duck (20).

Wilderness Pond, Porthcawl

Canada Goose (15), Coot (15), Cormorant (2), Mallard (44), Moorhen (21), Mute Swan (3), Domestic Greylag Goose (1), Muscovy Duck (2).

East Aberthaw Quarry Pool

Coot (7), Mallard (8), Pochard (4), Teal (13), Tufted Duck (7).

Clydach Vale Countryside Park

Coot (11), Goosander (1), Little Grebe (2), Mallard (40), Moorhen (4), Black-headed Gull (5), Lesser Black-backed Gull (1), Domestic Greylag Goose (8), Domestic Mallard (19), Muscovy Duck (2).

Lisvane Reservoir (Daniel Jenkins-Jones)

Coot (13), Cormorant (2), Great Crested Grebe (5), Little Grebe (2), Mallard (11), Pochard (15), Tufted Duck (39), Black-headed Gull (103), Herring Gull (2), Lesser Black-backed Gull (2).

Next WeBS Count

WeBS LogoJust a quick reminder to all the East Glamorgan WeBS Counters that the next Core Count date is next Sunday,  13 February.

If you’ve got no idea what WeBS is but would like to know more, please click here.

First WeBS Core Count of 2011

Kachny by CzechR, on Flickr

Sunday 16 January is the date of this year’s first core count for WeBS.

Counts are taken on one Sunday each month at a range of wetland sites across the region.  We have a few sites that are currently without observers, and potentially a few more sites that have never been surveyed.  If you’d like to take part in WeBS, then please contact Dan.

Thanks to all our observers for taking part tin this long-running core survey.