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Rare Photo Catches A Weasel Riding On A Woodpecker

Rare Photo Catches A Weasel Riding On A Woodpecker 86

An incredible image recently captured by an amateur photographer from the UK named Martin Le-May, shows a weasel hitching a ride on the back of a woodpecker.

Le-May told BBC News that he took the amazing shot while he was out walking in the Hornchurch Country Park in East London.

It turns out that this was not a cute and friendly picture as many of us would like to assume, or as it may appear at first glance. Experts believe that the most likely scenario to explain this photo is that the weasel was attempting to kill the woodpecker. Le-May seems to agree, from what he witnessed.

Le-May says that he was drawn to the area because he heard loud squawking. It sounded like a bird was in distressed. That is when he saw the once in a lifetime event.

Le-May says he might have saved the woodpecker’s life by distracting the weasel.

“I think we may have distracted the weasel, as when the woodpecker landed it managed to escape and the weasel ran into the grass,” Le-May told the BBC.

Rare Photo Catches A Weasel Riding On A Woodpecker 1

A long range photo of the incredible moment. Photo Credit: Martin Le-May

The photographer said that the bird and the weasel got roughly 10 feet into the air before landing again, at which point the bird managed to free itself and fly away. He estimates that both of the animals were unharmed in the incident.

“The woodpecker left with its life, the weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry,” he said.

As soon as the photo went viral, everyone was skeptical about whether or not the image was real.

Hany Farid, a professor of computer science at Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, who researches digital forensics and image analysis, questioned the photo in an interview with National Geographic.

Farid says that the picture would be extremely difficult to forge, but the low resolution raises some questions.

This would have required a nearly perfect and coincidental alignment of the two animals in their original photos so that they could be composited together. This type of forgery is therefore more difficult to create than, for example, two animals simply standing side-by-side,” Farid said.

Rare Photo Catches A Weasel Riding On A Woodpecker 2

A close up of the image shows the woodpecker seems to be in fear for his life. Photo Credit: Martin Le-May

Farid concluded that the photo is likely real. A fact check on Snopes also indicates that this photo is real.

Wildlife expert Lucy Cooke told Snopes that weasels don’t often feed on birds, but they will if the birds get close enough to the ground.

“This is a truly extraordinary image. The green woodpecker is a ground-feeding bird, but weasels normally attack rabbits. The woodpecker is not its usual prey. But weasels are fearless. A female weasel weighs less than a Mars Bar but is as ferocious as a lion, so this is why the woodpecker would have been able to take off with it on its back,” Cooke said.

David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation, in Virginia, said while this event may not be very common, it does make sense.

Rare Photo Catches A Weasel Riding On A Woodpecker 3

A mid range shot of the pair in mid flight. Photo Credit: Martin Le-May

“While it looks like a bizarre event, it’s really not all that surprising if you know a little bit about these two species,” Mizejewski said.

As cute as Weasels may be, Mizejewski says that they can be quiet violent.

“The least weasel’s signature move is to sever the spinal cord of its prey with a bite to the neck, which is exactly what we’re seeing in the photo. The natural world is filled with wonders, and we have the chance of observing them firsthand if we get outside to experience them,” Mizejewski said.

The majority of woodpecker species feed on insects and other invertebrates that live under bark and inside of trees.  The diet includes ants, termites, beetles and their larvae, caterpillars, spiders, other arthropods, bird eggs, nestlings, small rodents, lizards, fruit, nuts and sap, according to Wikipedia.

Woodpeckers are tough birds, but would certainly have trouble holding their own in a fight against a weasel.

What do you think about this crazy once in a lifetime sight, captured by this amateur photographer?

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Planet Earth

Polar vortex: “wild” winter is coming in the US, Northern Europe and East Asia after the 16th of January

Polar vortex: "wild" winter is coming in the US, Northern Europe and East Asia after the 16th of January 87

In the upper atmosphere above the North Pole, experts saw a rapidly swirling vortex of cold air that could bring severe frosts to the United States, Northern Europe and East Asia. Serious cold snap and snowy weather are expected after January the 16th.

Snowfalls and a cold snap hit South Korea since the start of 2021, hitting historic snow maximums and temperatures. In the country, for the first time since 1964, television and newer communications are sending people cold snap warnings:

https://twitter.com/sonyeoljin/status/1346841272347082752?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The situation is similar in Japan, where a new snow storm hit historic highs:

On January 7, the thermometer In Beijing dropped to -20 degrees Celsius, breaking the 1966 record. In other regions of China, the temperature is also not sugar, and you can only move around in special uniforms:

The cold even reached Taiwan, where the temperature in some areas dropped below freezing point, snow poured down and people realized that rice terraces can be used as a ski jump:

Even more snow went to Spain, where on January 6, 2021, a temperature of -34.1 ° C was recorded – the lowest on record. After that, a snow storm hit the country, which has not been seen for 80 years:

https://youtu.be/pHU533Krs5M

The same thing happens in Canada and in the northern states of the United States:

It seems that after a stratospheric warming, the subpolar vortex began to split:

The vortex itself is a standard phenomenon. However, this time experts were surprised at his movement. It is possible that in the near future it will be divided into two parts. 

Scientists associate the strange behavior with the changed climate in the Arctic, which has become warmer. From September to December, the amount of ice cover decreased significantly.

The polar vortex is a low-pressure region located in the stratosphere and filled with cold air. When the jet stream of air that holds the vortex weakens, the low pressure area moves south. 

As the ice shrinks, more moisture will move inland. It will turn to snow, so snowfalls are expected. Snow, in turn, reflects heat, leading to a cold snap.

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Planet Earth

Hospital in Naples was evacuated after a new, huge sinkhole appeared

Hospital in Naples was evacuated after a new, huge sinkhole appeared 88

Eyewitnesses said they heard a loud crash at dawn when a huge hole in the ground formed outside the Ponticelli Ospedale del Mare hospital in eastern Naples.

Early in the morning of January 8, 2021, a sinkhole occurred in the parking lot of a clinic in Naples. The depth of the formed cavity is about 20 meters, the total area of ​​the hole is about 2,000 square meters.

No casualties were found at the scene; firefighters say the sinkhole “affected an area of ​​about 500 square meters” and engulfed several cars parked near the hospital.

As the press writes and as a little can be seen from the videos, rescuers and firefighters were running around the pit together with the governor of the area.  But who should be there in the forefront are Italian geologists, since Naples stands in the very center of the volcanic system known as the Phlegrean Fields.

If the surface collapsed, moreover – the surface reinforced with concrete and reinforced from below with some kind of communications, then we are talking about serious soil deformations caused by the activity of magma.

Italy has been in doubt since the summer of 2020, because swarms were observed there in very atypical places in May, and according to the forecasts of old Italian seismologists, who had witnessed many strong earthquakes, it should have boomed in the August region.

Fortunately, nothing bad happened to Italy and there was no big earthquake. But, since there are swarms, it means that something is being prepared, the magma is gathering strength. 

Following this particular sinkhole event – an obvious sign that a major earthquake in Italy is already very close.

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Planet Earth

A new great pandemic cycle has begun (again) in China

A new great pandemic cycle has begun (again) in China 89

In the first months of 2020, the whole world with a certain fright followed the events unfolding in China, where people fell on the streets during the day and astronauts wandered, and in the evening crematoria began to smoke. And now, with the onset of December, the cycle seems to be repeating itself.

Shunyi area in Beijing, where the authorities announced “wartime status” the day before. As you can see in the videos, thousands of people are lined up in the queue for mandatory testing:

Dalian city, where “wartime” is also declared. Neighborhoods are blockaded, people are walled up in entrances, familiar characters of George Lucas roam the streets:

https://twitter.com/UndergroundSilk/status/1341741036297723905?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Chinese ‘rescuers’, before performing a combat mission:

Chengdu City:

Daluo Port, Yunnan – tourists came for adventure and they received the ‘time of their life’ after leaving the ramp:

If something happens in Beijing, it does not mean that tomorrow the same will happen everywhere. However, the trend towards such dynamics is observed and, as the practice of the first wave of the pandemic has shown, all countries and people, to one degree or another, have taken into account the ‘Chinese experience’. 

Therefore, one must think that everything will now be in peace, as in spring – a new global round of the fight against the Covid has begun in China, a new great pandemic cycle!

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