Animals

By Sophie Norris


This is the moment a poor fish stared glumly up in defeat with a very real ‘trout pout’ at a giant osprey as it was plucked from a river – after the greedy bird tried to nab two in one dive.

Gary Jones, from Wirral, Merseyside, travelled up to Avimore, Scotland, to photograph the magnificent birds of prey when he caught a picture of one trying to drag two large fish from the water.

PIC BY GARY JONES/MERCURY PRESS

However one lucky trout wriggled free, leaving Gary to snap the tragic but hilarious moment the remaining 3lb fish stared up at its attacker in resignation over its fate.

Shop manager Gary, who has been venturing up to the Highlands for more than six year to photograph wildlife, spent 46 hours lying in wait to capture the incredible images.

Gary, 50, said: “I just love the way the poor trout is looking straight up at the osprey. You can see its eye fixed on the bird and it knows the game is up.

“I was so happy with the photo as its at once quite tragic to see a creature resigned to its fate like that but also beautiful to catch nature in such a raw way. It’s also happens to be quite hilarious in a painful kind of way.

“The bird came plummeting down from about 100 feet in the air after spotting the fish. They have incredible eyesight.

“The greedy bird must have thought it had struck gold when it came out with two big fish but it proved to have overstretched itself and one of the fish was simply too wily for it.

“It sat in the water for a minute after catching the two trout because it had obviously realised it wouldn’t be able to carry both of the fish.

“They were big fish too, so the bird had its work cut out. But it made off with the biggest one in the end, which was a good 3lb.”

PIC BY GARY JONES/MERCURY PRESS

Due to the success of breeding programmes, there are now more than 200 pairs in the UK and the independent migrators return year-in year-out to the Rothiemurchus Forest to meet with the same partners and strengthen the species.

Gar said: “Rothiemurchus is one of the best places to see the osprey. Whenever I have spare time I come here to do some photography.

“You would have had no chance of getting that close to the bird if it were just at a loch.”

The vicious, calculating hunting style of the osprey is world’s apart from its monogamous approach to breeding.

Also known as a fish eagle or river hawk, the osprey was considered extinct in the UK until 1954, but was spotted that year when only two known breeding pairs existed in Scotland.

Gary said: “It’s quite romantic, really. The osprey migrate to west Africa for the winter independently, then will return each year to the same mates and breed again.

“They will do this for several years.

“The males and females will migrate back to Aviemore completely independently and the following year they meet up at that same nest and raise their young.

PIC BY GARY JONES/MERCURY PRESS

“After two years in Africa, the young come back to the same place where they were born and begin the same routine.

“Catching the perfect snap is about watching what’s going on. I spent 46 hours in that hide over three days waiting to get these images.

“They dive really fast and it all happens very quickly. This action took place in about two minutes after three days of being sat there.

“I’ve always been interested in wildlife since I was a kid but I started getting into photography about 10 years ago.”