Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category


Beech tree (Fagus sylvatica) beside the river Taff in Cardiff


Welcome to my first attempt to provide a monthly tree-following link box after taking over the project from Loose and Leafy. You’ll find the widget at the bottom of the post.

It’s a mixed time of year for the trees here in the UK in the Autumn (or Fall to those of you in North America). Some have lost nearly all their leaves. Some, like the lindens, cast off their lemon-yellow leaves early. Some, like the wonderful maples, are a beautiful red. Some trees still have their seeds attached…

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Next year’s flower buds are already developing


I feel the year’s end drawing near for my empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa) in Cardiff’s Bute Park. I know some tree followers track progress from March to March, but I tend to follow through a calendar year and then do a recap in January before choosing a new tree.

By the way, sadly Lucy at Loose and Leafy is calling time on hosting the tree-following meme for us all, but the good news is that she is passing it on to me to host, so hopefully I will do it justice!

I have set up a page with all the general tree-following information and links, here. I hope to publish a link box for all the tree followers on the 7th of each month and leave it open for a week – so see you Saturday. For now, though, here is my own monthly tree-following post. (more…)

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Cormorant on the riverbank


Cormorant on the River Taff in Cardiff, October 2015

I often fail in my attempts to capture an image of a cormorant or its close relative the shag, but this time the bird was very placid as I watched from the opposite side of the river. In fact looking at the picture I think its tail feathers might be broken. So I am guessing it’s either an old injured bird or a young one not quite fledged. Adults have white patches on their throats and thighs during the breeding season, but it’s not the breeding season, so that doesn’t help. (more…)

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I saw this outside the shop at the National Trust’s Dyffryn Gardens and thought it was a Paulownia, but it wasn’t – read on to find out what it was…


At first sight the empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa) I am following in Cardiff’s Bute Park looked just the same as last month, so I let myself wander a bit.

Another tree nearby had been bugging me, as it also looked like a Paulownia and I really wanted my empress to be unique in this vicinity.

But first an October catch-up with the empress herself.

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New shoots of willowherb among the roots

I eventually decided to pull up the willowherb and enchanter’s nightshade that were seeding all over the gravel bed in the garden and was taken by the tiny red growth starting among the exposed roots of the willowherb, like little ruby roses. (more…)

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A turnstone (Arenaria interpres) at Weymouth, September 2015 – I have tweaked the image a little in PhotoShop for effect

We are just back from a few days in Dorset and I am pleased with some of the pictures I snapped, despite the fact that we had heavy rain at times. The biggest treat for me was spotting some turnstones on a small stretch of seaweed-covered shingle in Weymouth. (more…)

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The green is fading from the leaves of the empress tree


It’s September, the start of autumn, but for the most part the empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa) in Bute Park, Cardiff, is still leafy and green. A wet summer may have helped.

This time I approached the tree from the “wrong” direction again, as I took the husband for breakfast at the Summerhouse cafe in the park first. I nipped around behind the cafe to snap the tree while he finished his bacon, egg and sausage sandwich with a knife and fork. (more…)

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