Martin Le-May, an amateur photographer from England, captured an incredible photograph of a weasel “riding” on the back of a green woodpecker as it flew through the air. Weasels are usually a ground-feeding animal that preys on rabbits, so this attack on a woodpecker is extremely rare.
ABSOLUTLEY INCREDIBLE photo by Martin Le-May. Green Woodpecker and Weasel. Apparently the Woodpecker escaped. pic.twitter.com/PUt1b2Mbhs
— Jason Ward (@Jayward7) March 2, 2015
Martin Le-May quickly emailed writers at Buzzfeed with this description of the events:
“As we walked we heard a distressed squawking and I saw that flash of green. So hurriedly I pointed out to Ann the bird and it settled into the grass behind a couple of small silver birch trees. Both of us trained our binoculars and it occurred that the woodpecker was unnaturally hopping about like it was treading on a hot surface. Lots of wing flapping showing that gloriously yellow/white colour interspersed with the flash of red head feathers. Just after I switched from my binoculars to my camera the bird flew across us and slightly in our direction; suddenly it was obvious it had a small mammal on its back and this was a struggle for life. The woodpecker landed in front of us and I feared the worst. I guess though our presence, maybe 25 meters away, momentarily distracted the weasel. The woodpecker seized the opportunity and flew up and away into some bushes away to our left. Quickly the bird gathered its self respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight. The woodpecker left with its life. The weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.”
The BBC put together a Vine showing all the photos of the event, which can be seen below.