This is an amazing picture of the rarely-seen cuckoo stretching its wings as the sun sets behind it.
Wildlife photographer Steve Ward waited patiently for two hours in the Bank Holiday heat in north Wales to get his stunning shot.
The 39 year old from Liverpool had slipped away from his family during a trip to Anglesey to return to a site where he had photographed the bird before.
Dad of three Steve said: “It was the final hours of sun on the bank holiday Monday.
“They are one of those often heard but seldom seen birds.
“They normally arrive from their wintering grounds of Central Africa in the first two weeks of April and start to return to Africa by late June, so I knew I was in with a chance.
“After waiting more than two hours in my car the male bird finally arrived very late in the evening.
“After watching a certain tree the bird was using to call to the female I positioned myself directly facing the sun with the dream shot in mind to capture a backlit cuckoo with full wingspread as it landed.
“As the sun started to dip behind the mountains the bird landed and I rattled off as many images as I could, hoping to capture this bird in the orange glow that was now trickling away behind the hills .
“The shot is certainly a difficult one to nail as they come in at speed and with hardly any light. The bird literally landed then flew straight off and the the sun had all but gone.
“I was gobsmacked when I flicked through the images and a series of dream shots had become a reality.
“I can’t believe I got the shot from my car. I knew once the bird was there that if I got out it would fly away.”
After posting the picture online, it began to go viral and was even retweeted by TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham who wrote “Nice Shot!”
The cuckoo is most famous for its method of breeding, known as a brood parasite.
The female will wait until another species has laid its eggs then swoop down to the nest, push one of the eggs out and lay its own.
The whole process takes just 10 seconds but the chick is brought up by the host bird and its mother has nothing else to do with it once the egg is laid.
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