The woodpecker-riding weasel gets its own sign

May 11, 2015 • 6:32 am

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:


28 thoughts on “The woodpecker-riding weasel gets its own sign

  1. 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. 😛

      1. 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. 🙂

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

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.”

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

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