East London resident Martin Le-May captured this incredible photo of a baby weasel on the back of a green woodpecker in Essex, England, on Monday
As much as we’d all like to believe this is a wondrous tale of friendship wherein two mates go on an epic adventure featuring a baby weasel and his magnificent flying steed, sadly it’s NOT. It’s a photo of a weasel trying to kill a woodpecker.
“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.”
by Robert P. T. Coffin (1892–1955)
Once or twice this side of death
Things can make one hold his breath.
From my boyhood I remember
A crystal moment of September.
A wooded island rang with sounds
Of church bells in the throats of hounds.
A buck leaped out and took the tide
With jewels flowing past each side.
With his head high like a tree
He swam within a yard of me.
I saw the golden drop of light
In his eyes turned dark with fright.
I saw the forest’s holiness
On him like a fierce caress.
Fear made him lovely past belief,
My heart was trembling like a leaf.
He leans towards the land and life
With need above him like a knife.
In his wake the hot hounds churned
They stretched their muzzles out and yearned.
They bayed no more, but swam and throbbed
Hunger drove them till they sobbed.
Pursued, pursuers reached the shore
And vanished. I saw nothing more.
So they passed, a pageant such
As only gods could witness much,
Life and death upon one tether
And running beautiful together.