Weasel flying on a Woodpecker?!

Have you seen this amazing photograph?

(Martin Le-May)

That is a weasel clinging to the back of a green woodpecker in flight!

These photos of a weasel attacking a woodpecker were taken in Hornchurch County Park in Essex when the photographer Martin Le-May was out with his wife searching for Green Woodpeckers. They saw a flash of green feathers and heard the bird squawking. Upon further investigation they discovered the bird was in a fight for its life. The weasel attempting to make the bird its meal was lifted into the air on the woodpecker’s back as the bird tried to escape. Miraculously, the bird did escape!

Here is the fight and initial take off:
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(Martin Le-May)

This photographer was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time, and the woodpecker is even more lucky to have escaped! Weasels are light weight but fearless predators that usually prey on rabbits. So while the ground feeding Green Woodpecker looked appealing the weasel was a little out of its element. The bird was able to take off and fly with the weasel on its back because of how light they are.

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(Martin Le-May)

Here is the firsthand account of the photographer from iTV News:

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 2nd 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.

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 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.


Nature is all around us, you never know what you might find when you start to pay attention!


iTV News
BBC News

Swimming Owl

Have you ever seen an owl swim? Other birds which are not water birds sometimes do out of necessity, like Eagles when they go after fish, but I have never heard of an owl doing so. A birder and photographer in Chicago captured video of an owl swimming in Lake Michigan after it was forced into the water by two peregrine falcons. There is no footage of the falcons, but the short video of the owl is amazing:

Here is the bird in the water:
(Steve Spitzer)

And after it got out:
(Steve Spitzer)

A bird rescue was called but the owl got out and flew off on its own. Smart owl!

– Fizz

Pope Francis

Habemus Papam! Whether or not you are Catholic, it is a historic day. The Catholic Church elected a new pope.

Pope Francis, the first Pope from Argentina and actually the first Pope ever from outside of Europe.

Pope Francis I appears on the central balcony

It is indeed a historic day!

What were most media outlets commenting on earlier today? Why, the Sistine Seagull of course:


(Business Insider)



This Seagull was perched atop the chimney which issues the smoke from the papal conclave vote burning, black smoke means no new pope and white smoke means a new pope has been elected.

The White Smoke which announced the new pope’s election earlier today:


(New York Times)

There were actually a couple seagulls to perch on the chimney, and they are a common side around the Vatican. I guess it might be a bit boring to just watch and wait, but the gull was not that interesting. You can check out one of his many news story at CTV News.

The seagull also got its own Twitter account….yep, that happens these days. You can see it at SistineSeagull (warning: may contain offensive content).

If you would like to read a bit more about the new Pope, check out the National Catholic Reporter.

Transit of Venus

Last night the planet Venus took a path between the Earth and the Sun, an event not to be witnessed for another 105 years. Did you get to see it? I did not get to see it in person, but there are amazing pictures of it online at the dailymail:

An amazing shot with a bird on a dome of the Taj Mahal in the foreground and Venus in the back:

Venus passing by as seen in Kathmandu:

Here is the Nasa high resolution image of the event:

All images found on Mail Online: “Once in a lifetime: Transit of Venus puts on spectacular show for the last time until 2117” I would encourage you to click the link and go see more of these amazing images!

Baby Robin

Today there was a little bird on our deck who was there for hours and kept calling out loudly. It would seem a baby Robin,  still too young to fly, got out of his nest and onto the deck somehow.

Long shot – confirmation of his tiny size

Close Up

And here is a shot of mom coming to feed him:

Nature in my backyard…hope the baby is okay with the heavy rain we are supposed to be getting soon.


Sleeping Hummingbird

Here is a video of a sleeping hummingbird:

The bird is in a special container to measure its oxygen consumption, and it was safely released after the experiment.

The students who performed these experiments also took pictures while they were gathering birds to observe.

Baby Sunangel

Violet-throated Starfrontlet

Chestnut-breasted Coronet

(all images from photobucket)

White Kiwi

A rare white Kiwi chick hatched just three days ago in Wellington, New Zealand. His name is Manukura, and he is believed to be the first white kiwi born in captivity.

The chick is so cute!

To see a couple more pictures, see Yahoo News.

I love Kiwis to begin with, and the white feathers make this little guy even more adorable. I have been lucky enough to go to New Zealand and see a couple of them running around, but it is hard to get good pictures because they are nocturnal. So please enjoy this much better pictures taken by others: