A wildlife photographer from Oxfordshire has captured a ‘once in a lifetime’ image whilst out with his camera in the countryside.

The shot, entitled ‘Nature is Brutal’, captures the rare moment of a stoat stood over a rabbit it has just killed seconds before the image was taken.

Simon Booker, a wildlife photographer from South Stoke, captured the image as he waited to photograph hares near Cholsey.

Mr Booker noted that while some might find the image ‘harrowing’, it is ‘the great circle of life’.

He said: “One has to admire the efficiency and tenacity of a stoat which is a perfect hunting machine.”

Mr Booker described how while he was watching some rabbits a ‘brown streak jumped out of the grass to attack one’.

He said: “It missed and dived back to the hedge line with me thinking ‘blimey - was that weasel or stoat!?’.

“Moments later there was a squealing commotion about 6 foot behind me.

“I clambered out of my hide and through the hedge to see a stoat considering its next move after dispatching a young rabbit it caught off guard.”

The photograph is very rare as stoats drag their kills back to their dens but Mr Booker managed to capture this particular stoat sat in ‘perfect dawn sunlight’ over its kill.

The photographer added the stoat then ‘dragged the unlucky creature right past me as I lay on the ground’.

He said: “To be lucky enough to be there and have perfect lighting was perhaps a true ‘once in a lifetime’ occurrence and one that I will definitely never forget.”