Rare bird delights Llanelli wildlife centre visitors

The extremely rare gull-billed tern prefers warmer climes and has not been seen in Carmarthenshire in 16 years Credit: Mark Hipkin

Visitors to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust in Llanelli this week have been treated to an unusual sight – an extremely rare bird that has taken up residence there.

It’s thought the recent spate of bad weather has blown the bird, a gull-billed tern, off-course from its usual summer haunts.

Gull-billed terns breed across Europe in Denmark, Holland, northern Spain and parts of Eastern Europe.

This is only the second record of a gull-billed tern in Carmarthenshire - the first was recorded back in 1996, also at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust in Llanelli.

It is exciting to see such a rarity turn up, particularly as this species has not been seen here in 16 years. The bird is quite happy out on the newly-created saline lagoon and has been delighting visitors, who can clearly see it from our British Steel Hide. The gull-billed tern also seems to have been adopted by our black-headed gull colony, as he’s taken to roosting with them overnight.