Moorhen tackles snake - and wins

THIS fearless moorhen had no hesitation about defending her chicks when they were threatened by a potential predator.

Tom Potter

THIS fearless moorhen had no hesitation about defending her chicks when they were threatened by a potential predator.

The moment when the moorhen fought back to scare off a grass snake at the Minsmere bird reserve was captured by keen photographer Steve Plume.

Mr Plume, of Great Blakenham, is a regular visitor to Minsmere and often contributes his photographs to the pages of The Evening Star.


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He said: “I try to get to the reserve once a month. It's a fantastic place to see wildlife of all varieties, including adders and grass snakes.”

The adult bird would have been in no danger from the non-venomous snake, but its young would have made it a good meal.

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A number of black headed gulls had already been spooked by the snake and flew off to try to mob it - but the moorhen was clearly made of sterner stuff and faced it off head to head.

The snake soon spotted a feisty opponent and slunk off into the long grass and reeds.

Mr Plume said: “It's incredibly rare to see a mother moorhen force a snake to leave. I saw the snake coming across the water and heading towards a small island where the birds were. As soon as it got close, the gulls started mobbing it and then the moorhen went over for a peck.”

Grass snakes are quite happy in water, they are the most aquatic of all Britain's reptiles and will regularly be found afloat.

- Send your great pictures to us and we may print them in The Evening Star. Send pictures to starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

- Have you been in the right place at the right time with your camera? Have you capture one of nature's rare phenomena? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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