Mark writes: this photo reminds me of walks alongside the River Chew in north Somerset, as a teenage boy, where I saw my first ever Siskins and Redpolls. They were usually in Alder trees – just like this one.
I’ve seen a Redpoll already this year – but, rather surprisingly, not a Siskin.
I’m quite fond of Alder trees – they seem easy to identify and they have interesting finches in them some days. Also they have, as you can see in Oscar’s image, male catkins and female cones. They also have an interesting relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria – if you could look at an Alder’s roots there are nodules where this N-fixing happens. And Alder wood provides the bodies for Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters.