A greedy cormorant came inland for a meal at the Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve in Kent, UK, and tried desperately to gulp down a huge 5 lb pike.
Having thrashed around on the surface of the water for around five minutes the ravenous cormorant appeared to have won the battle, swallowing most of the pike’s body.
But just when it seemed like it was ready to move on to dessert the seabird suddenly regurgitated the freshwater pike having decided it was simply too big to go down.
Adamant that he could finish the fish in one it made one more token attempt, seizing the pike again, before finally giving up.
The pike floated away and photographer, 68-year-old Fred O’Hare, who took the amazing pictures was unsure whether it survived.
Fred O’Hare, a retired fireman from West Wickham, Kent, had turned up hoping to photograph another bird, a bittern, but his lens was attracted to the life or death battle between the cormorant and the pike.
He said: “I saw the cormorant surfacing with something and couldn’t make out what it was to start with. It became apparent it was a pike and it was clearly too big for the cormorant.
“It tried really hard to swallow it but got fed up in the end and the pike drifted off. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before.”
There are thought to be around 24,000 wintering cormorants in the UK.
Some species of cormorant can dive to a depth of 45 metres in the hunt for fish.