A DRAMATIC video shows a hungry heron struggling with its eel dinner – only to have it stolen at the last moment by a bird of prey.
The clip shows the poor heron repeatedly trying and failing to gulp down the wriggling eel.
Just as it seems mealtime has finally arrived, the hapless bird is forced to duck and drop its snack by a swooping buzzard.
In the final seconds of the video, filmed on Mull, the buzzard itself gets buzzed by crows.
The footage was captured by professional photographer George Riddell, from High Wycombe, Bucks.
George, 50, originally from Belhelvie, Aberdeenshire, was on a two-week filming trip on the Isle of Mull when the scene played out in front of him.
He said: “I watched the heron fly past, so I quietly set up my camera and starting filming it trying to pacify the eel.
“Eels exude goo for defense, so the heron was really trying to shake off this goo and get it in to a position to swallow it.”
“Then this blur came across the camera and I realised that the buzzard I had originally been watching had come in to take the eel.”
George, who films wildlife as a hobby, said he had never seen anything like it in his 20 years in the business.
He added: “It was one of those ‘what the heck moments’ or words to that effect!”
“Even hoodies [hooded crows] came in at the end and tried to take the eel off the buzzard and scavenge.”
“To be honest I was surprised by the eel, it put up a good fight but the buzzard got there in the end and flew off with its meal.”
The footage was filmed at Loch na Keal – meaning Loch of the Kyle – on the western side of Mull, the island is famed for having a diverse wildlife population with regular sightings of rare White Tailed Sea Eagles.
Mr Riddell also runs www.eyesopenwild.co.uk, a wildlife photography website.