A duckling shrieked in terror as it was speared and killed by a predatory heron after swimming away from its mum on a lake.
The fluffy youngster had been sheltering near reeds at a nature reserve when it left the security of its mum's shadow.
The helpless mum squawked and flapped her wings to try and scare off the grey heron but failed to save her chick.
Lunchtime: This fluffy duckling screamed in terror as it was speared by a heron after swimming away from its mum on a lake
Photographer Keith Cochrane, 55, witnessed the attack on the family of mallards at Big Waters Nature Reserve, near Newcastle.
He said: 'l noticed a heron standing on the bank of the lake, quite close to the family of mallard ducks.
'One of the ducklings swam away from the family group, which is exactly what the heron was waiting for.
Too late: The youngster's mother can be seen flapping to try and rescue her baby, but the heron flies off with its prey
'It took off and tried to catch the duckling a few times but each time the duckling would dive under the water to avoid it.
'However, the heron never gave up and it got another chance when the duckling moved to shallower water.
'The heron landed in the water, struck down with its sharp beak and lifted its head out of the water with the duckling impaled on its beak.
'It took off from the water with the duckling calling to its mum.
'The heron carried it to the bank of the lake, where it tried to kill the duckling.
Back to nature: Photographer Keith Cochrane, 55, witnessed the attack on the family of mallards at Big Waters Nature Reserve, near Newcastle
'The mother heard her young calling out and flew at the heron again and again but to know avail.'
Keith, from Blyth, Northumberland, added: 'The heron grabbed the baby, took off and flew to another part of the lake to finish off the duckling and have his lunch.
'It left the mother calling for her baby that never came back.
'However, the heron did return about thirty minutes later, perhaps to try for a second duckling.
'This left me feeling sad for the duckling but it drove home the harsh reality of nature in the raw.
'l was pleased that l was able to capture such a thing on camera as not many people get to see this side of nature.'
Originally posted by dailymail.co.uk