There is a great deal of pleasure to be gained by watching garden birds taking their fill on the sunflower hearts feeders. From the robin, the only bird to struggle a little maintaining balance, through the tit family, the feisty upside down nuthatch and colourful goldfinches, the latter spending up to fifteen minutes at any one time.

Many years ago starlings and greenfinches were ever present on the feeders but no longer. The starling population has declined and greenfinches have suffered from a virus infection for several years now.

Perhaps my favourite species to watch is the smallest of them all, namely the coaltit. With a white stripe over the back of a coal black head, white cheeks and greyish - buff underparts, the little bird is very smart but his head always seems too large in proportion to his body (pictured in a wintry scene)

Unlike the goldfinches which spend so much time feeding, the tits spend just about a second plucking out a seed before flying to the nearest tree to eat it.

Meanwhile, wood pigeons patrol below picking up spilt pieces and recently even a magpie has tried his luck learning that if he knocks the feeder in flight, then several seeds will be dislodged , a similar ploy practiced by a squirrel leaping from the fence.

I tried experimenting with suet balls but the birds completely ignored them so after a month I took them down.