In an extraordinary wildlife encounter, a baby weasel was captured hitching a ride on the back of a green woodpecker as it flew across Hornchurch Country Park in east London.
The remarkable photograph was taken by amateur photographer Martin Le-May from Essex, who was enjoying a walk with his wife Ann.
Watch the video at the end.
Le-May revealed that the weasel had actually attacked the woodpecker as its prey. He managed to capture the stunning image during their walk and later shared it on Twitter, where it quickly went viral, garnering thousands of shares from astonished users.
The 52-year-old project manager, who pursues photography as a hobby, recounted the events that led to the astonishing photo. After hearing distressed squawking from the bushes, Le-May spotted the green woodpecker, which was acting strangely. He then picked up his camera and began taking pictures as the bird took flight.
It was only then that Le-May noticed the small animal on the bird’s back, realizing it was either a stoat or a weasel. As the couple approached the scene, they unintentionally distracted the weasel, allowing the woodpecker to escape back into the bushes.
Le-May expressed amazement at the popularity of his photo, saying that the response has been “absolutely mind-blowing.” He used his Canon 70D camera and a 300m f2.8L lens to capture the image, which has now been seen by millions of people around the world.
Richard James, a wildlife advisor for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, praised the images, calling them an “incredible set.”
He explained that weasels are fierce predators that often target larger prey, and the woodpecker’s ground-feeding habits made it vulnerable to attack. In this instance, however, the woodpecker was fortunate to escape, as it was strong enough to fly with the weasel on its back. James described the photo as a “one-in-a-million shot.”
Watch the video below:
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