Stunning images show moment rare white-tailed eagle snares goose mid flight

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Eagle swoops on goose - Nature News Scotland
The white-tailed eagle eyes up its prey. (Image: Stephen Duffield)

INCREDIBLE images capture the moment a rare white-tailed eagle swoops in on a barnacle goose.

The juvenile bird was snapped soaring above the skies of the Isle of North Uist, Outer Hebrides.

Wildlife tour guide Stephen Duffield, 50, was counting the geese in the flock on Tuesday when he managed to catch the dramatic moment on camera.

Stephen says it is the first time in 16 years of living on the island he has managed to witness such a scene.

Eagle clutching goose
The bird of prey manages to make a successful strike. (Image: Stephen Duffield)

The incredible images, which have gone viral, begin with the eagle with its wings outstretch hovering ominously above the goose.

The photos show the eagle grappling with the goose, using its talons to grasp its prey by its feathers.

In one shot, the goose has managed to break free and can be seen flapping its wings wildly before being swiftly recaptured.

The final photo shows the eagle clutching the goose firmly in its talons, having won the battle.

eagle catches goose
The bird were seen struggling in the air. (Image: Stephen Duffield)

Stephen caught the images whilst ring reading, a technique used to identify and count the number of animals in an area.

He then took to social media to share his snap, saying: “I was enjoying the ambience whilst reading rings on barnacle geese at Knockintorran this afternoon when suddenly all hell broke loose.

“This juvenile white-tailed eagle hurtled across the machair chasing a lone barnacle goose, making three attempts before finally catching it and causing spectacular disruption to the ring reading.”

Speaking today, he added: “The hunt took place on on the machair at Knockintorran, North Uist whilst I was ring-reading barnacle geese.

Eagle grappling goose - Nature News Scotland
The goose would not go down without a fight. (Image: Stephen Duffield)

“The eagle was chasing the goose very fast, and low over the machair to the south flushing hundreds of other geese and waders as they hurtled towards the coast.

“The white-tailed eagle made three or four passes before actually managing to grab the goose in the air.

“It was an awesome sight and one I’ve never seen before despite living in the islands for 16 years.

“Despite the thrill I did feel a little sorry for the goose although of course eagles have to eat too.

Eagle carrying goose
The barnacle goose proved to be no match for the juvenile eagle. (Image: Stephen Duffield)

“It was impressive that a juvenile eagle had already mastered such a hunting technique.

“Many young birds of prey die during their first year but I’m pretty sure this one is going to be a survivor”.

The sight has left social media users equally amazed.

Eleanor Muir wrote under the post: “Wonder how many years you would have to wait for another chance like that! Just ‘wow’.”

Jeanie Kirkby added: “Definitely life in the raw. The right place at the right time. Amazing”.

And Pete Coomber said: “Brilliant pictures of nature in action.”

White-tailed eagles are a globally endangered species that have been on the decline since 1918 in the UK.There are currently around 130 pairs of the raptors in Scotland.