In a heart-wrenching moment, water birds – Great crested grebes were seen sharing a romantic gesture in which one of the birds was seen offering its partner a deadly scrap of discarded plastic.

Photographer Mary Wilde captured this moment at a lake in Derbyshire.

It is well-known that these birds shake their heads at each other during a ‘dance’ on the water, and dive down to collect bits of weed and plants to offer to their partner.

The photographer said, “It’s usually a beautiful sight. The birds dive down to offer each other bits of weed and flick their heads back and forth. It dropped the plastic back into the water afterwards. It was very sad and I thought it’s a current issue with people chucking rubbish.”

Kaite Helps, from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, said, “Plastic pollution has been big news recently thanks to programmes such as the BBC’s Blue Planet, but the problem is so close to home, not just in far-away oceans, and this photo is a stark reminder of that.”

She added, “We have all contributed and we all need to make changes in order to prevent plastic waste. Plastic in the environment poses such a huge threat to wildlife because it doesn’t just disappear, it simply breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.”

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