Martin Le-May, from Essex, is considered an amateur photographer. That status is sure to change when people have the opportunity to see his photo of a weasel riding on the back of a green woodpecker. Le-May was out walking with his wife, Ann, at Hornchurch Country Park, in east London, when he was fortunate enough to capture this photo. He said he heard a distressed squawking sound that caught his attention. He actually feared the worst. However, after looking around and spotting the woodpecker, he discovered a small mammal was atop its back, much like it was on a carnival ride. Le-May and his wife observed the woodpecker fly away. Soon, after it landed, the weasel de-boarded and went running into the grass.
The picture has been a hit on Tweeter much to the surprise of Le-May. He said, after just a couple of days, the photograph has been retweeted several thousand times. He said he is so proud that people are getting to see his picture. However, he is also amazed at how many people there are who have seen it. He should be even more proud of what wildlife expert Lucy Cooke told the BBC News Channel. She said that the picture is extraordinary. She explained that woodpeckers are ground-feeding birds and that weasels usually attack rabbits.
The woodpecker is not the usual prey for a weasel. She added that weasels are fearless creatures. According to Cooke, a female weasel generally weighs less than a Mars Bar; however, it can be as strong as a lion. She explained that is the reason why the woodpecker would have taken flight with the weasel on its back. Steve Backshall, a wildlife present, agrees with Cooke. He said it is very unusual to see such a site. He also said there is no reason to doubt the picture. Despite who eats what most authorities agreed, the weasel hitched the ride on the back of the woodpecker likely as a result of a predatory attack gone awry. Who knows if the weasel tried to take on the bird or if s/he had second-thoughts once they started traveling through the sky.
Some believe that Le-May’s presence may have saved the life of the woodpecker. He told BBC that he thinks he and his wife distracted the weasel. No one will ever know the answer to this situation. According to Snopes, an online site that checks stories for their accuracy, they agreed it is true that the photograph shows a woodpecker with a weasel on its back. Some authorities believe that it was a baby weasel. Weasels love to rob nests, perhaps this particular weasel confused the colors of the woodpecker with a nest and hopped on assuming it would find a meal there. No matter what the weasel believed, those in the know do believe the weasel was probably after the woodpecker itself. In any case, the situation was foiled, the woodpecker continued to peck and the weasel continued to search in the grass — another story with a happy ending.