THIS incredible image of a woodpecker in flight with a weasel on its back was taken by Essex photographer Martin Le-May.
Taken in Hornchurch Country Park, the picture shows the bird flying through the air seemingly carrying a weasel on its back.
But Mr Le-May has revealed that the mammal was actually attacking the woodpecker, and not merely hitching a lift.
The keen snapper had been out for a walk with his wife Ann, in the hopes Mrs Le-May would catch a glimpse of a woodpecker.
Mr Le-May told ITV: “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.
“Suddenly it was obvious [the woodpecker] had a small mammal on its back and this was a struggle for life.”Martin Le-May
“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 image has gone viral, with Twitter users sharing the picture in their thousands.
Although some have questioned the authenticity of the photo, Mr Le-May took a number of other images, documenting the struggle on the ground.
He added: “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.”
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