Eel ticket! Smug otter wins battle with hungry heron who spots his slippery catch… but flies off empty-beaked
- Ally Dowd, 45, visited the Baron’s Haugh RSPB reserve in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire on Monday
- He photographed a heron flying low over the loch’s ice looking for its next prey when it saw an otter
- The otter was feasting upon a large eel and was forced to run when it was chased by the grey heron
- Amazingly, the otter was able to carry the eel across the frozen lake to the safety of some undergrowth
Pictures show a determined otter hang on to its eel dinner – despite falling through ice and being chased by a heron.
The dramatic battle was caught on camera by Ally Dowd during a visit to Baron’s Haugh RSPB Reserve, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire on Monday.
Mr Dowd, 45, from Largs, North Ayrshire, posted online: ‘An otter catches an eel and is pursued across a frozen loch by a grey heron. Otter runs for cover.’
Ally Dowd photographed this otter feasting upon an eel at the Baron’s Haugh RSPB reserve in Motherwell in North Lanarkshire on Monday
A large grey heron swooped down and tried to steal the eel from the otter who appeared to be struggling on the ice
The otter had swallowed the eel head first when it was attacked by the grey heron which was circling overhead
The heron appeared to swoop down as the otter struggled to secure the eel to prevent it escaping below the icel
The first image shows a heron gliding in the air just above the frozen loch as it scans the area for prey.
The second image shows an otter with its meal, a long eel that stretches as long as the otter.
However, the otter forced as the heron swoops but crashes through the ice.
This allows the heron to catch up and the race is on as the otter desperately tries to evade the swooping heron which is gaining on the mammal.
Thankfully for the otter, it manages to make the safety of the bank and scurry away with its hard-won meal.
Arthur McKee said online: ‘Fantastic snaps of wildlife.’
Allegra Jay added: ‘The size of the eel!’
Ross M. Kelly wrote: ‘Would never have expected a heron to have the balls to have a go at an otter, or for an otter to be afraid of a heron, for that matter… shows how much I know!’
Mr Dowd said today: ‘The otter took off but fell through the ice. This allowed the heron to catch up and was practically on top of the otter’s head. I have never caught anything as dramatic before. I have captured some interesting things but none of them has this kind of action.’
The heron had been flying low over the ice looking for food when it observed the otter devouring a section of large eel
At one stage the otter fell through the ice but was able to keep hold of it as struggled back to the edge
The otter, pictured, managed to escape away into the reeds beside the frozen loch along with its fresh eel dinner