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Sunday, 20 April 2014


Fallen tree with trunk cut off - with mosses - in wood.
Thorncombe Woods, Dorset. April 13th 2014
Not autumn - but spring!
We'll come back to the mosses, fungi and lichens another day.
So many Tree Following posts! So many comments! It's good to see the conversations:

trees of the same kind are leafing at different times - sometimes within the same garden - why?

was Venice built on alder?

is ivy inevitably bad for a tree?

are hawthorn leaves and buds really as tasty as bread and butter?

New words - is your tree monoicous or dioicous? (Here's the Wikipedia link.)

April, for many trees, will be a month of particular change. By May - will all the snow have melted? Will blossoms have come and gone? Will southern leaves have fallen? How many bees will we have seen?

The next Tree Following link box will open at 7am (UK) time on 7th May and close 7pm (UK time) on the 14th.

* * *

Tree fallen across water, with reflections, in forest.
New Forest, Hampshire.
April 17th 2014

Since the last post I've been pottering around Thorncombe Woods in Dorset and The New Forest in Hampshire - enjoying the mosses and lichens and fungi and flowers and insects . . . and (apart from a few familiar flowers) not knowing what any of them are. Some will appear in later posts - whether identified properly or not!


In the meantime, I keep finding myself looking at things other than what I've set out to find.

Hawthorn Trunk - April 13th 2014

I was planning to photograph bluebells in their variety - blue, white, pink, 'native' and Spanish - but found myself looking at the bark of a hawthorn tree instead

Snail on Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) - April 13th 2014

which reminded me of the shell of an ordinary snail

Aprill 11th 2014 - See the pollen sack?

and while I was looking at snails, a bee came by

I've been trying to understand how a bee puts pollen in its sack - I think it's like this . . . With its front legs it churns pollen into the air so it lands on the hairs of its back. It then licks the feet on its middle legs to make them a bit sticky, picks up the pollen with them and pops it into the sack which is attached to its back leg. Its back leg works as a pollen press, bending to squash the pollen tight so it's delivered back to the hive in the form of compressed pellets.

Bee experts - please mark my homework! Is this a right description?

April 15th 2014

Another snail

(do you see it on the Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber)) . . .

Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) - April 15th 2014

and near this other snail there's a Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) on an Alexanders plant

and not far from the butterfly, caterpillars of the Brown Tail Moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) recently emerged from their gossamer tent and sitting around on brambles.

Which is where things go wrong. I never, delete anything from my camera. Ever. Just in case I delete something I don't want to delete. I'm good at mistakes. But videos take a lot of space, both on the card and on my laptop so . . . having taken several videos of caterpillars going in and out of their nest, and deciding one was so interesting I kept watching it over and over . . . and having decided it was so interesting and so clear and the camera held so steady I couldn't possibly want any of the other tries - I deleted it. I suppose there's virtue in consistency. Hey ho. Never mind.

So here's what remains -  a not very interesting video of a caterpillar that doesn't want to leave home pottering around on its nest.

If it's not a bluebell, it might be bark; if it's not bark, it's a snail; if it's not a snail, it's a bee; if it's not a bee, it's a flower; if it's not a flower, it's a butterfly; if it's not a butterfly, it's a moth . . . or a twig . . . or a - there's always something to see!
* * *
Identify Your Bluebells (Natural History Museum - take a look in the sidebar of that page for more bluebell info.
Identify Gastropods (USA)  (The ID Tools site may be very useful to readers in the USA - and can be fascinating for those of us who live elsewhere too.)
Brown Tail Moths - This Wikipedia entry is interesting on two scores. (Probably more but there are two which stand out for me.) First - it shows what the moth itself looks like (very pretty) and says to look out for it in July and August. Second - it shows the impact the hairs of the caterpillar has on human skin. Which leads to the question - why did the woman in the picture have caterpillars wandering around on her neck? 

Monday, 7 April 2014


Tree (perhaps Windmill Palm?) with white building and blue sky.
Poole, Dorset, November 14th 2013
It should be exciting. We have been introduced to nearly all the trees and now's the time to find out what's been happening since last we met. Many will have changed. A month is a long time when it comes to leaves and buds and the melt of snow. Some will still be waiting for the starter's whistle. In other parts of the world, autumn is heading in. (We would specially welcome tree-followers from the southern hemisphere to broaden the atmosphere of the Tree Following project.)

If you aren't already following a tree
it's not too late to
You can read more about it on the Loose and Leafy Tree Following Page.
If you are on the list
Your blog, your name, your tree, where you are.
If you have moved your blog to another site
Please let me know.
(A couple have gone missing!)

(You can skip this bit if you like and go straight to the Link Box
at the foot of the post.)

Trunks of sycamores without leaves on bank with ferns and ivy.
Sycamores - February 11th 2014
If you are in England, you might like also to take part in The Woodland Trust's 'Track a Tree' project.

If you'd like to know more about your kind of tree - take a look at the A-Z of trees in the left hand column of this Royal Forestry Society page.

If you are uncertain of the name for the tree you are following, Bomengids may be the site for you. (You can choose whether to browse in Dutch or English.) Neither the Royal Forestry site nor Bomengids are about trees of the world - simply of the countries they are based in. The same trees sometimes grow elsewhere too but if you are able to recommend a tree-identifying site specific to your own climate zone, let me know and I'll give a link from Loose and Leafy.

For Tree Followers in the UK and Ireland - iSpot is good in helping with IDs for trees, plants, insects, birds.
For Tree Followers elsewhere there's a Global version too.

New hawthorn leaves on branch with lichen.
Hawthorn, March 13th 2014

About the link box.
Please add the URL to your tree-following post rather than for your blog. (You can generally find this by clicking the post title. Copy and paste what comes up in the bar at the top of your screen.)
If you'd like to leave a comment, please do. It's good to hear from you. But if the Loose and Leafy blog settings mean you can't or don't want to - that's fine.

Please note - the Link Box is playing jokes and keeps changing the information about when it closed. I reckon we'll choose to find this mildly amusing rather than wildly irritating.
Late addition - Carole at LaFosse missed the deadline because her internet connection failed
 - Tree Following - April
from Winkos
Now Where Did That Tree Go?