The woodpecker-riding weasel gets its own sign

Last March I posted about what may turn out to be the most famous natural-history photograph of all time. It’s this one, taken by Martin Le-May in Hornchurch Country Park, and shows a stunning encounter between a European green woodpecker (Picus viridis) and a weasel who tried to jump it, probably a least weasel (Musetla nivalis). The woodpecker did escape, by the way (see an update here).


Despite all the naysayers who pronounced the photo a fake (see my earlier post), it did turn out to be real. And now Hornchurch Country Park, a former RAF base, has a sign commemorating the photo! This tw**t from Ravenstone Press was sent to me by Matthew Cobb:



  1. Posted May 11, 2015 at 6:39 am | Permalink


  2. John
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Very similar to the owl warning sign the Rachel Maddow show created.

  3. Posted May 11, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    It’s a good thing something like that hasn’t happened in Canada. We could end up with a touristy sign proudly declaring Town-Such-and-Such, Home of the woodpecker-riding beaver. 😛

    • Posted May 11, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      woodpecker-riding beaver

      Now that’s not got any salacious overtones, nosiree!


      • Posted May 12, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        Teehee… I’m working up racking some ‘most embarrassing moments’ so I can enter a future book contest. I keep coming up empty for these things. 🙂

        • Posted May 12, 2015 at 7:19 am | Permalink

          wth… I meant to type “working on racking up”..

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Shirley that’s the beaver that got stuffed shortly before they started filming (umm, struggles) Naked Gun 33_1/3 ?

      • Posted May 16, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        Don’t call me Shirley!

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Wow its own sign! It went viral into meat space!

  5. Anonymous
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    You say “probably” a least weasel Mustela nivalis, suggesting a degree of doubt, but I think we can be pretty sure that is what it is. There is one possible confusion species in England, namely the stoat, Mustela erminea, which is significantly larger and has a black tip to the tail. The tail is visible in some of the photos (albeit not very sharp) and I think there is no suggestion of a black tip.

  6. KCS
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I can picture an army (air-force?) Of these coming soon. I think we may be doomed.

  7. JohnW
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Makes me wonder what the average flight speed of a European green woodpecker is when laden with a least weasel…

    • Jonathan Dore
      Posted May 12, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      It would depend on whether the weasal was carrying a coconut at the time.

  8. Posted May 11, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on eduardohomem.

  9. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Oh, that kind of sign. I was rather imagining a singles-bar conversation like this:

    She: “Hi, I’m a Pisces. What sign are you?”

    He: “Woodpecker-riding weasel.”

    • Posted May 11, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Hee heeeeee

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      For certain bars … that might work surprisingly well.
      (Scribbles in Little Black Book.)

  10. Hempenstein
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Reminiscent of Rollie Free at Bonneville (in the estimation of many, the most famous photo in motorcycling).

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      That’s impressive!

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      The fact that this photo is genuine makes the universe a slightly less bleak place.

  11. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Of course this even more amazing video has still attracted very little concern.

    • Marella
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Holy crap that’s appalling! Poor baby.

    • Marella
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      The baby has a story he’ll be able to tell for the rest of his life though.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 12, 2015 at 1:28 am | Permalink

      I believe that was debunked a while ago. Believe PCC posted about it, too. 🙂

      • Posted May 12, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        I must have missed that. Anyway, the video makes me want to now look around for my ole kitty whenever there’s a hawk circling the neighbourhood.

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 13, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

          I think Great Horned Owls get more cats in the US than hawks do.

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