March 3, 2015

"Life and death upon one tether / And running beautiful together."


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."

Via Never Yet Melted サ Photo of the Week

Crystal Moment

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.

Posted by gvanderleun at March 3, 2015 2:46 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

How the dinosaurs went extinct.

I don't think that was a baby weasel though, a lot of weasels aren't very big, but very fierce.

Posted by: chuck at March 3, 2015 4:46 PM

i don't read poetry. And I knew that weasel was up to no good the instant I saw the pic. Thank goodness the woodpecker escaped. My backyard is frequented by woodpeckers and bluejays, noble birds all. On one occasion a red-headed woodpecker and a jay were disputing a pile of peanuts; the jay took a menacing hop toward the woodpecker; whereupon the woodpecker carefully lowered his head and showed jay the redspot..."Red! Danger!"...and the Jay immediately jumped back and showed some respect

Posted by: Haxo Angmark at March 4, 2015 4:21 AM

Jays are not noble. They're the ghetto pimps of the avian world.

Posted by: Monty James at March 4, 2015 5:51 AM

Some idiot bloggers pointed out that the woodpecker was a hummingbird and others thought the photo was cute.

Anyone who knows anything at all about weasels knew that this one was not involved in a joy ride and that his sole purpose was to kill and eat the bird but those responses are very typical of stupid people.

Posted by: Jack at March 4, 2015 8:57 AM

Woodpeckers and weasels, wolves and sheep.
We can learn a lot from our little friends in the animal world.

Posted by: chasmatic at March 4, 2015 9:57 AM

Once, I saw a Coopers hawk do that to a crow, jumped on it's back. The crow, highly intelligent creature it is, took off from the ground with the hawk on it's back, and flew under the branch of a nearby tree knocking the hawk off.

The 'pecker in the pik looks like a variety of pileated so it's pretty large as far as birds go and the weasel is not as small as you might imagine.

Posted by: ghostsniper at March 4, 2015 10:07 AM

I've shown that great pic to a batch of millennials and all but one thought it was the cutest thing ever. Lion King pap. The one that wasn't fooled had some experience chopping off the heads of chickens. He looked at it and said, "That isn't right".

Posted by: james wilson at March 4, 2015 9:04 PM

My uncle Letsgo Lozko raised and trained bantam chickens. He thought he could find a niche market for security chickens.
Better than a big ol' dog and giving eggs as well.
His motto was: As for the bantam chickens, those little sumbitches are the living descendants of velociraptors. I wouldn't be messing with 'em.

but it didn't fit well on a business card.

Posted by: chasmatic at March 5, 2015 5:59 AM

I'm picturing an enormous white rooster, with an over-the-top Southern accent, previously telling the weasel "You don't want a chicken, boy! You want, I say what you want is a woodpecker! Now here's what you do . . . "

Posted by: Monty James at March 5, 2015 7:28 AM

That's the ticket Monty m'boy. you got to, I say you got to get more brain flow.
aside: a fence post has more sense than that weasel, hyuk hyuk

Posted by: chasmatic at March 5, 2015 10:11 PM

I once saw a praying mantis with a hummingbird in its grip. Although hummingbirds are small, it was still much larger than the mantis. The praying mantis was hanging out in our trumpet vine where the birds came for the blooms and nectar. It had already paralyzed and killed the hummingbird by the time I saw it. I imagine the mantis was trying to figure out exactly how to consume its huge prey.

Posted by: Leonora at March 6, 2015 3:43 AM

Gutsy little bugger, that weasel. The beak of that bird was made to peck holes in wood.

Posted by: Speller at March 6, 2015 12:57 PM