Woodpecker and weasel: This is what the photographer has to say about the incredible picture

‘The woodpecker left with its life, the weasel disappeared hungry’

You've almost certainly seen this crop up in your Twitter feed more than once.

It's a picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker. And it's pretty incredible.

This is what the amateur photographer who took it, Martin Le-May, has to say about it:

"It was a sunny afternoon, with the occasional cloud making the Hornchurch Country Park seem that grey-brown dull winter colour even though it was the 2 March.

My wife, Ann, and I had gone for a walk. I had hoped that she might see a green woodpecker as she has not really seen one before.

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The woodpecker was seen 'unnaturally hopping about' © Martin Le-May

"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.

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© Martin Le-May

"The woodpecker landed in front of us and I feared the worst. I guess though our presence, maybe 25 metres 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."

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