Merry Christmas!

The birds have had a Christmas present.



We’d noticed that every time a new batch of mixed seed went out there was a feeding frenzy. But a selective feeding frenzy. Just like opening a tin of Quality Street really. Don’t those big purple ones always go first? For our feathered friends the same is true of the black sunflower seeds. Late comers would dive head first into the seed and rummage furiously, hurling the lesser favoured varieties hither and thither in the process.



And so, when Mike returned from shopping a couple of days ago he left a large bag of black sunflower seeds, and only black sunflower seeds, on top of the shoebox in the lobby. We’d open them on Christmas Day. But wouldn’t you know it. There was no way the birds were going to stand for that. Our mistake, perhaps, was in leaving the door to the lobby open. It is, after all, our main thoroughfare into and out of the house and between the two of us it’s in use most of the day.



By the time Mike returned to put the bag of seed away in the shed ‘someone’ had already pecked a hole in it.



With the element of surprise gone out of the window, or the lobby door even, there was nothing else for it but to put the seeds up for grabs.



Three in a beak is just plain greedy..



“Come on, get a move on. Can’t you see there’s a queue?”



No pressure..


Have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Jessica x


2017-12-27T10:36:38+00:00December 24th, 2017|Tags: , |


  1. offtheedgegardening December 24, 2017 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Happy Christmas to you both, hope to see you in the New Year, thinking of planning a January Rosemoor visit ….. xxx

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      A January Rosemoor visit would be excellent!

  2. justjilluk December 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    Merry Christmas to you both – and the birds. Sunflower hearts will draw in others! Our Goldfinches are in to double figures.x

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:03 pm - Reply

      I think I’ve only ever seen one goldfinch here. And then just the once! More would be nice.

      • Brian Skeys December 26, 2017 at 10:21 pm - Reply

        Goldfinches cannot manage whole sunflower seeds but love sunflower hearts.(as do all birds)

        • Jessica December 27, 2017 at 10:35 am - Reply

          I can see it’s the sunflower hearts we are going to have to try next.

  3. pollymacleod December 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    Adorable Jessica, beautiful beautiful images. Merry Christmas to you and Mike x

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      I had to take literally hundreds of shots to get just these few. The birds are too quick!

  4. Melody A. December 24, 2017 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!! I wish you JOY ! Love the story and pictures. Take care and Be safe from Iowa

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Keep safe in Iowa too. And I do hope the weather is better than here. No nice long walks for us today sadly, more of a retreat in front of the fire.

  5. Ian Lumsden December 24, 2017 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful means of entering Christmas! Happy Christmas to you.

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      The birds had another helping today for their Christmas lunch. I don’t know who gets the most pleasure from it, them or me.

  6. Sam December 24, 2017 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Fabulous photos. I hope you both have a wonderful Christmas. Sam x

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sam. You too.

  7. Susan Garrett December 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    They are a popular food as are sunflower hearts. Have a Happy Christmas

    • Susan Garrett December 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      By the way great photos.

      • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:14 pm - Reply

        Thanks Sue. Very difficult shots to get, the birds move so fast. About 200 of my attempts were just a blur of wings! Thank goodness for digital.

  8. Chloris December 24, 2017 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Amazing photographs. Happy Christmas Jessica.

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      I was amazed that any of the shots came out. The light levels were dreadful.

  9. Torrington Tina December 24, 2017 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    They all look as if they have their ‘bandit masks’ on, any could be the guilty party. Happy Christmas to you both and look forward to catching up in the New Year.

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      Thanks TT. It would be great to see you both, we must definitely arrange it.

  10. Helen Johnstone December 24, 2017 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Happy Christmas to you too and congrats on such amazing photos

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks Helen. Not the best conditions for photography.. you can see the rain!

  11. CT December 24, 2017 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Happy Christmas Jess x

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks CT. I must catch up with you more often next year and everyone else come to that.

  12. Vera December 24, 2017 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Hope you have a lovely Christmas, and wishing you all the best for 2018.

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks Vera. Another growing season awaits!

  13. smallsunnygarden December 24, 2017 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Actually coming indoors to rummage for food?! Cheeky little rascals! Wonderful pictures! Wishing you and Mike a very happy Christmas and New Year! 🙂

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      It could have been a mouse I suppose. They do have form. But it would appear the birds will risk everything for sunflower seed. I had the camera pointed through an open window.. they could hear the focusing peeps and the shutter release and just carried on unfazed.

  14. Helene December 24, 2017 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Lovely photos Jessica, sunflower seeds are so popular in my garden too so I have stopped feeding with the mix – I give the birds just sunflower hearts plus peanuts in the winter. No mess and no sprouting seeds. I buy 20kg bags from Amazon and they don’t last very long 🙂
    Happy Christmas and all the best for a great gardening year in 2018!

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      That sounds like a cost effective way of doing it and one I will investigate. Bird seed gets very expensive. Worth it though when they appreciate it so much. And it’s supposed to be getting cold again, they need feeding up.

  15. New Moons For Old December 24, 2017 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos as ever. Have a lovely Christmas.

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks, I hope you’re having an enjoyable and relaxing day.

  16. Anna December 24, 2017 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    Fabulous photos Jessica. Hope that you both have a happy Christmas and wishing you all the best for 2018 xxx

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      Yes, another gardening season awaits. The drops are coming out already. Before we know it it’ll be Spring 🙂
      Thanks Anna.

  17. Linda P December 24, 2017 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Lovely photos! Wishing you both a happy Christmas.

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda. Well we didn’t get a walk but it’s been a nice relaxing day. I hope you all had a good time. Take care.

  18. Kris P December 25, 2017 at 12:36 am - Reply

    You have some very happy birds, but I expect they’re already wondering what you have in store for New Year’s Day…Best wishes for a very merry Christmas, Jessica!

    • Jessica December 25, 2017 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      The best thing is the squirrels didn’t get a look in… the seed disappeared too fast!

  19. snowbird December 25, 2017 at 12:54 am - Reply

    All the very best, so glad you’re still blogging. Lovely post, as

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks snowbird. The birds played their part well!

  20. grammapenny December 25, 2017 at 12:57 am - Reply

    Merry Christmas to you too. We have also had lovely birds at the feeder but have also had many wild turkeys stop by… oh my

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      I suppose our pheasants are the closest we can get to those. Turkey is the traditional Christmas dinner over here..

  21. FlowerAlley December 25, 2017 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Sweet. Tweet. Merry Christmas.

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      They have been utterly spoilt. They’re now turning their beaks up at the old seed mix and waiting until we bring out the black seeds..

  22. derrickjknight December 25, 2017 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Wonderful shots. I repeat my Christmas greetings to you both

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks Derrick. The birds are the stars.

  23. hb December 25, 2017 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    Delightful to see your happy locals, and fun to see the bowl emptying over the course of the post. Merry Christmas!

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      The contents of the bowl disappeared all too quickly. We had to top it up to get enough shots. I didn’t hear the birds complaining.

  24. stephanie young December 25, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    merry christmas to you and your feathered friends…..i’ve sort of given up the general birdseed mix and have splurged for the black sunflower seed packages lately. Lots of happy peeps out there! I might have to also try just putting some seed in a dish for some closer looks. Love the pics (as always!!!!).

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      I use a bowl so the ground feeders, like the robin, stand a fair chance. The squirrels have cottoned on though and try to shimmy up the pole of the bird table. But putting the bowl on the ground itself would be even more problematic.. then the mice would have the lot!

  25. Peter December 25, 2017 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    May you find as many delights in Christmas as you’ve provided for your feathered friends!

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      I had chocolates, they had seed 🙂

  26. Jayne Hill December 25, 2017 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Christmas wishes to al at Duck Towers :). Northern avians are also very selective, but ours have turned their backs on the sunflower seeds in recent months and are preferring peanuts and fat balls. Usually get ours from Little Peckers (stupid damn name, used to be GJW Titmuss), prices are very competitive, quality is good (box of smashed up fat balls notwithstanding).

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the tip Jayne. The birds love the fat balls too and they’re a good source of calories in winter. Trouble is the damn squirrels make off with them within minutes of putting them out. Apart from the cost I can do without a woodland full of squirrels with obesity related disorders.

  27. karen December 25, 2017 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos. I really enjoy feeding the birds here. I’ve made fat ball fir cones for Christmas. They are dangled right at the tips of my beech trees so the squirrels can’t reach them. Thanks for sharing your photos and stories. Always make me smile. All the best for 2018 . Karen x

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks Karen. Now that’s a very good idea. How to frustrate a squirrel in one easy lesson 🙂

  28. CherryPie December 26, 2017 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Happy Christmas, I hope you had a great day:-)

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Very lazy and relaxing, thank you Cherie. I guess the rain isn’t all bad news!

  29. Jo December 26, 2017 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Lovely photos. We buy black sunflower seeds, they’re always very popular. Hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas.

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      I think we’ve spoilt the birds that’s the trouble. Now they won’t eat anything else.. really!

  30. Brenda December 26, 2017 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    I echo the previous comments in complimenting the photos–just beautiful. Especially that cheeky little robin. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and cheers to a happy, healthy, and productive upcoming year!

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks Brenda. I had the camera propped up on a pile of cookery books on the kitchen window sill. The hardest part was trying (failing) to match the birds’ reaction times. In the end I resorted to taking very many frames and hoping that a few might come out!
      And a wonderful 2018 for you too. New Year is one of my favourite times of year. Everything seems possible. How long that lasts is another thing!

  31. Dorothy Borders December 26, 2017 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    And may you and yours have the happiest of holidays. Love the robin!

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks Dorothy. After two days of lounging about we must get outside tomorrow whatever the weather. I can feel the additional weight of each and every chocolate.

  32. Gillian December 26, 2017 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Happy Christmas Jessica. Beautiful photos. Have a nice week with your garden birds!

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gillian. By tomorrow they may well be breaking and entering in search of seed!

  33. ginaferrari December 26, 2017 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    What beautiful photographs. Happy Christmas Jessica x

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gina. Enjoy the rest of your Christmas break.

  34. Cathy December 26, 2017 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Great photos – worth all those shots to get the final result! They certainly know what they like – although we gave up on the mixed seed (and whole sunflower seeds in particular!) because of the waste and the mess, and just buy sunflower hearts, which always seem to go down well

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      It may well be the novelty but at the moment one thing is guaranteed.. with the black sunflower seeds there is absolutely no waste. It remains to be seen what happens when the novelty wears off!

  35. Diana Studer December 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Oh – how wonderful to see – a VERY happy Christmas!

    • Jessica December 26, 2017 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      Thanks Diana. The birds are a real pleasure to watch. I can’t compete with your ibis though. Now those I would love to have, mischievous or otherwise!

  36. Freda December 27, 2017 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    A lovely variety of birds in your garden! I hope you both had a lovely Christmas break. More snow forecast here…all the more important to feed the birds.

    • Jessica December 30, 2017 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      A wild night forecast for here tonight, but no snow as yet. Take care, there’s another storm headed your way too I think.

  37. Beth @ PlantPostings December 27, 2017 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Happy birds! I love to watch them here, too. They are amazing survivors. Your photos are wonderful! Blessings to you and yours during the holiday season!

    • Jessica December 30, 2017 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      The birds need to be survivors the way our climate seems to be going. Hopefully feeding them helps a bit. Thanks Beth.

  38. Chris N December 28, 2017 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Such wonderful pictures! Merry christmas to you!!

    • Jessica December 30, 2017 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      When they managed to keep still for a moment the birds posed beautifully!

  39. Alistair Cruickshank December 29, 2017 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Loved your bird pics. I think I will try these black sunflower seeds, the peeled sort are getting too expensive. Wishing you all the best for 2018.

    • Jessica December 30, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      I did wonder about the cost. I have the peeled sort on my breakfast muesli. One thing’s for sure, the bird seed won’t be coming from the same source!

  40. germac4 December 30, 2017 at 9:35 am - Reply

    I love the detail in your bird photos, especially the one with three seeds in his/her mouth! Always a winner in the group! We will be watching the fireworks in Sydney on New Years Eve…so will think of you!

    • Jessica December 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      Every day for the past month I’ve been thinking back to where we were this time last year. I’m very envious of you going to the fireworks. I shall think of you when I have to make do with the clip on the BBC news!

  41. Cathy December 30, 2017 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Makes the heart happy to read the story Jessica! What a clever bird photographer you are …

    • Jessica December 30, 2017 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      You should see the hundreds of blurred pictures. Or the camera perched on top of the pile of cookery books on the kitchen windowsill. I don’t think I need to trouble National Geographic with my efforts just yet..

  42. Sarah West December 30, 2017 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Your patience in taking so many photos paid off, they are wonderful and will encourage me to try harder! Hope you and Mike had a fantastic Christmas. Sarah x

    • Jessica December 30, 2017 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sarah. I think there was quite a bit of luck involved!

  43. Seagull Suzie January 6, 2018 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Happy New Year Jessica, great images of the local birds. Ours have been popping in and out of the hedge in between the rain and gales. Dolphins have been the main attraction recently, so I can’t complain!

    • Jessica January 11, 2018 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Yes, the weather has been pretty bad, for the birds as well as for us. Dolphins! What a fabulous sight!

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