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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

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A London plane (Platanus x hispanica) in Bute Park, Cardiff, in January

Last year I kept track of a hornbeam in Llandaff Fields in Cardiff, as part of Lucy Corrander’s wonderful tree following project, revisiting it every month and totally falling in love with the specimen that chose me. In January I have been searching for a new tree for 2015.

While Llandaff Fields are full of more-or-less native species, the Bute Park Arboretum in the centre of Cardiff, behind the castle, has many exotics alongside some champion native trees. I decided to explore, as I don’t know the park very well at all.

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Succulent cockles – this image is from the Jose Andres Foods website

Although this post is about where the saying “warming the cockles of my heart” comes from, it is also all about cockles – and my most memorable food moment of last year. It’s hard to believe, but that highlight was a small bowl of the most wonderful cockles I have ever seen.

It was late July and we were at the Guildhall Tavern in Poole, Dorset, one of our favourite French restaurants. The cockles on offer as a starter were so fresh, said our host Severine, that they were not even on the menu yet. (more…)

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Fallen Alaskan birch in Bute Park, Cardiff

I went to Bute Park in the centre of Cardiff looking for a tree to follow in 2015, but I found this very sad sight – a wonderful “champion” tree felled by recent gales. I grieve a little every time I see a fallen tree and there were several big ones down this month.
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A pair of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos) picking up scattered corn from the icy surface of a pond at WWT Llanelli

We always try to make a midwinter journey to the Llanelli Wetland Centre and this time it was an icy day, which made the ducks and geese eager to take the corn we offered.

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It’s a bit slippery for this European goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)…

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First meeting with my hornbeam on February 25, 2014 – and I thought it was a beech

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It’s New Year’s Eve and I must put my hornbeam behind me. It has been a great year of following trees and I can now identify more species than ever before – hopefully even without their leaves on.

But the special one was this hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) and I must draw a line under it by bringing together its changing seasons. Thanks again to Loose and Leafy for this great tree-following project.
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Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) on December 7, 2014

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In under a fortnight it will be the shortest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere. Never before have I followed the changing seasons so closely – and it’s all thanks to Lucy Corrander and her Loose & Leafy tree following project.

This post features pictures from two visits to the hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) in Llandaff Fields, Cardiff, on the morning of our first frost on November 24 and on December 7. (more…)

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Frosted daisy (Bellis perennis), November 24, 2014

At last we have had our first white frost of the autumn here in Cardiff – on Monday, November 24. I was up and out to Llandaff Fields early to try to catch some images before the sun warmed it away. (more…)

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