By Tom Gillespie @TomGillespie1

RAVENOUS seagulls battle each other in the sky in these incredible close-up photographs

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209919

A seagull dives in and attacks another bird - Kei says the younger birds got the better of the older ones in their battles for food

The bold birds are notoriously unafraid of humans and have been known to snatch food right out of people's hands.

A seagull appears to be posing for the camera while showing off its wingspan

Brave photographer Kei Nomiyama used this fact to his advantage, capturing amazing shots of the birds closing-in on him to grab a meal.

One of his amazing images shows a seagull swooping down to attack another, while in a different photo one of the birds appears to be just inches away from Kei's face.

A line of birds travel through the California sky as a brave Kei stands below

The Japanese photographer's images offer a rare opportunity to see the mid-flight facial expressions of seagulls - and he achieved the shots by imitating the act of holding out food for them.

The 36-year-old, who works as an environmental chemistry researcher, took the photos on a visit to Monterey Bay in California in May this year.

In a flap: Seagulls fly overhead on their intense pursuit for food

He said: "Shooting seagulls this close was quite a different experience - they flap constantly and are totally obsessed with food.

"One thing I noticed was the strength of the young seagulls compared to the old seagulls.

Three's a crowd: The birds journey through the sky looking for opportunities to swoop down and snatch a snack

"The young sea gulls were way too strong, so the old ones just had to fly away.

"I was absorbed and took the photos in quick succession whilst avoiding a lot of droppings.

The winged-opportunists fly overhead

"Towards the end of the shoot around 30 seagulls gathered around me.

"I was a little afraid - a seagull often knocked into my camera."