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I’m late to post for the Weekly Photo Challenge on Surprise (!) but today seemed a good day for surprises.

I remember many excited Christmas mornings fraught with the painfully delightful anticipation of surprises under the tree. These days, it’s a little stack of boxes from Amazon on the dining table, which is about my speed – we do very understated holidays, which is good for both my sanity and our finances.

Instead of a photo reflecting a holiday theme, however, I have a different sort of surprise!

Taken through my breakfast nook window, so it's not a great shot, but I love the surprised reaction.

Not a great shot because it was taken through a window, but I love the movement.

I love watching birds, but they are very hard to photograph without top-notch equipment and more patience than I’ve yet cultivated. Most of my photos of birds are destined to be blurry rejects before I even put my finger on the shutter release.

Nonetheless, I loved this shot of a Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) surprised into flight. They’re nervous on the ground, out of their element, but this one was drawn by an irresistible heap of seeds beneath the feeder, left behind by melted snow.

Merry Christmas to those celebrating today, and a pleasant, peaceful Tuesday to all others. The days are now getting longer – something we can all celebrate!