Cardiff: Golden eagle spotted in St Mellons park

You would not normally expect to see a golden eagle relaxing on a fence in suburban Cardiff.

But that is just what happened when husband and wife Cefyn and Helen Potts were parked in their car in St Mellons.

Cefyn, 52, managed to grab photos, and Helen said they were both shocked to see a bird which has been largely extinct from Wales since 1850.

"I'm never going to get to see a bird like that that close again," said Helen, of St Mellons.

"It was such a surprise. We were in awe, it was stunning. What a spectacular sight to see on a Sunday morning."

At first she did not think it could be an eagle.

She said: "My husband pointed it out and said, 'Look at that!' He was convinced it was an eagle but I didn't think it was.

"They're so rare, and you don't see them in Wales.

"We didn't really know how it got there. We wondered if it belonged to somebody, as it didn't really seem to be bothered by people or cars.

"If it was flying around and our cat was in the garden we'd be very worried."

After the RSPCA was called the bird was found in nearby Willowbrook Gardens later that day.

It was taken to a vet for a check-up before going to a specialist facility to be looked after.

Owner Michael Fedeli, who lives in St Mellons, has now been reunited with his 13-year-old pet, and was delighted to have Apollo back.

The security guard, who has kept birds of prey for 20 years, also has seven owls.

Apollo, who weighs 9lb 8oz (4.3kg) and has a 7ft (2.2m) wingspan, escaped last Saturday as he was building an aviary for the owls.

When he broke free from his perch in his garden, his owner knocked down two fences chasing after him. The RSPCA said Apollo was returned on Tuesday after a few days recuperating at a rescue centre in Amroth, Pembrokeshire.

"Apollo flew right into my arms," he said.

Golden eagles can live for more than 30 years, and are a protected species.

Their only UK stronghold is in Scotland, although there are proposals that they may one day be reintroduced to Wales.