Catkins

The Common Hazel is easy to identify in winter because it bears male catkins which open to release pollen at any time between late December and late April.

The pollen is wind dispersed. The catkin turns yellow and if you flick the catkin with your finger it will release a yellow dust consisting of fine pollen grains. Each grain contains male DNA.

I spotted these on my way to the shops this morning – don’t they look pretty?

Hazel catkins in winter

Catkins

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National Tree Week

National Tree Week

Apparently this week is National Tree Week which is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration, running from Saturday 27 November to Sunday 5 December.

So, as you probably know I am a big tree lover so here are a few of my favourites.

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SJ Butler Photography – Trees at Derwentwater – Cumbria

Autumnal Equinox

Autumn


While the county may be enjoying a patch of warm weather, today marks the end of summer months and the start of the autumn equinox.  

The autumn equinox, much like the spring equinox, is the date in the calendar when the days and nights are the same length, marking the start of the astronomical autumn season.

Both the northern and southern hemisphere will share roughly the same day-length of 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. 

It also traditionally signals the start of harvest, with harvest festivals happening on the Sunday closest to the time of a full moon. 

The word

Autumn

derives from the French word

Automne

(MetOffice (web

The equinox technically refers to the time when the sun is directly in line with the equator, lining up in unison for a brief moment, which is set to happen today at 8.21pm.

Golden leaves
Leaves

Season of mists

and

mellow fruitfulness

Keats

Golden Brown…

Today is chilly and miserable. I was really tempted to go out after work to take some photographs of the trees as they are slowly changing colour. The weather was not the best so I stayed in where is was warm and dry.

I thought I would post some images from this time last year, the fruits of the Sycamore tree and the seeds from the Sweet Peas (one of my favourites!)

Autumn is coming – photography SJ Butler

This year autumn begins on 22 September 2021 and ends on 21 December 2021.

8 interesting facts about autumn


The time of year that Keats called the ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, autumn is a season famous for its harvest times, turning leaves, cooling temperatures and darkening nights.

1. Autumn begins

There are two different dates when autumn could be said to begin. Autumn, as defined by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, begins on the equinox which falls on 22 or 23 September.

However, to record climate data, it is important to have set dates that can be compared, so meteorological autumn always begins on 1 September.

Rowntree Park

2. Trees prepare for winter

One of the most stunning signs of autumn is the turning of the leaves. The shorter days are a sign to trees to begin to prepare for winter.

During winter there is not enough light for photosynthesis to occur, so as the days shorten throughout autumn, the trees begin to close down their food production systems and reduce the amount of chlorophyll in their leaves.

3. The chemistry of colour

Chlorophyll is the chemical which makes tree leaves green and as it declines other chemicals become more prominent in the leaves.

These are responsible for the vibrant ambers, reds and yellows of autumn. The chemicals responsible are types of flavonoids, carotenoids and anthocyanins.

Did you know some of these chemicals are the same ones that give carrots (beta-carotenes) and egg yolks (luteins) their colours?

4. People born in Autumn live longer

A study in the Journal of Aging Research found that babies born during the autumn months are more likely to live to 100 than those born during the rest of the year.

Their study found that 30 % of US centenarians born during 1880-1895 were born in the autumn months.

The word

Autumn

derives from the French word

Automne

(MetOffice (web

5. The days get shorter

The word equinox comes from the Latin equi (meaning equal) and nox (meaning night) accounting for the equinox marking the time when day and night are of equal length.

We often notice the nights begin to draw in from this point as after the autumn equinox, the nights are longer than the days, until this is reversed at the spring equinox.

6. A date for your diary – 24 September 2303

Generally speaking, the autumn equinox always falls on either 22 or 23 September, but not quite always.

Because the Gregorian calendar is not quite in perfect symmetry with the Earth’s orbit, the autumn equinox will very occasionally fall on September 24. This last happened in 1931 and will next happen in 2303.

7. Persephone’s return

In Greek mythology, autumn began when Persephone was abducted by Hades to be the Queen of the Underworld. In distress Persephone’s mother, Demeter (the goddess of the harvest), caused all the crops on Earth to die until her daughter was allowed to return, marking spring.

Season of mists

and

mellow fruitfulness

Keats

8. Autumn and Fall

We typically think of ‘fall’ as the North American version of the word ‘autumn’, but it was in fact in widespread usage in England until relatively recently.

Originally a shortening of the phrase fall of the leaf, the phrase was common in England in the 17th century.

The word autumn entered English from the French automne and didn’t become common usage until the 18th century.