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Weasel rides woodpecker in dramatic mid-air scrap – Weasel Rides Woodpecker? || Animals Ride Animals
But the picture, taken yesterday by Martin Le-May in east London, is not as friendly as it first seems
This stunning picture shows the moment a hungry weasel appears to take flight on the back of a woodpecker.
The remarkable encounter was captured yesterday by photographer Martin Le-May at Hornchurch Country Park in east London.
He spotted the baby mammal eyeing up its next meal before pouncing on the colourful bird.
Martin captured the dramatic incident on camera while out walking with his wife Ann on Monday afternoon.
The weasel pounced on the much larger woodpecker to try and eat it while it was on the ground in Hornchurch Country Park in Essex.
It then fiercely clung onto its terrified intended meal as the bird took off and flew around before finally shaking it off.
Martin, 52, said he “feared the worst” for the green bird after hearing “distressed squawking” during the struggle.
“We had gone out because my wife had never seen a green woodpecker before and wanted to see one,” he said.
“After about 20 minutes we hear this really loud screeching like a distressed squawking.
“I flicked my head around and I saw this flash of green as a woodpecker flew in front of us about 30m to 35m away.
“It seemed to be hopping around strangely as if it was stepping on a hot surface.
“Then it flew across and towards us. I realised it had something small and furry on its back and that there was a desperate struggle for life going on.
“At that stage I didn’t know what it was. It didn’t have a long tail like a rat or a bushy tail like a squirrel
“The woodpecker flew for around 15m and got about 6ft off the ground before landing directly in front of us about 25m away.
“We feared the worst and started walking towards it, expecting to find the woodpecker had been killed.
“But I think our presence, momentarily distracted the weasel so that it released its prey.
“The woodpecker then seized the opportunity and flew up and away into some bushes to our left. You could see that it was shaken, but it was still in one piece.
“We went over and there was no sign of the little mammal that had been on its back.
“It is the most amazing set of pictures I have ever taken. To get a weasel on the back of a woodpecker is incredible.
“It is an unbelievably unusual to witness something like this and I guess it is just a chance in a million.
“It is certainly not something you expect to see on a walk around Hornchurch.
“You can see the look of terror on the bird’s face because it does not want to end up as a weasel’s next meal.”
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