The Changing Seasons, September 2020

Fallen kowhai blossom. Image: Su Leslie 2020

After a dry and quite mild winter, September has turned very cold, very wet, and very, very windy.

Instead of sitting on the deck, camera in hand, poised to capture shots of tui and kereru gorging on the newly arrived kowhai blossom, I’m sitting indoors (wearing Ugg boots) watching the beautiful yellow kowhai flowers blow around the lawn.

I’m sad not so much for the missed photo opportunity but for the loss of an important food for our native birds.

September has been THAT kind of month.

Between the weather, the pandemic, a surgery that doesn’t seem to have made anything better (though at least not obviously worse), and a general low-level exhaustion — if I weren’t hosting this challenge I’d be wondering whether I should even participate.

Indeed if it weren’t for a trip to the Muriwai tākapu (gannet) colony last weekend, I doubt I’d have a post.

But if anything speaks of the changing seasons, it is migratory birds.

When I visited Muriwai in mid-August, almost no gannets had returned to the colony from their wintering in Australia. By last weekend, all of the main breeding sites were densely occupied; nest-building was clearly visible, and I suspect that many of the birds may already be incubating eggs.

Having spent the winter discussing the building of new raised beds and garden areas, T and I had planned to spend some serious time on the various projects this month. We’ve made progress, but until the wild weather passes, we won’t be able to finish building and actually plant anything.

In the meantime, the blue borage and calendula are growing like mad, and my motley collection of pelargonium cuttings have all taken and are waiting to be planted out.

About the Changing Seasons

When I took over hosting The Changing Seasons from Max at Cardinal Guzman, I carried on using the format that Max had developed.

Over the years though, I think that we’ve all evolved different ways of approaching the challenge and for some, the original guidelines may seem prescriptive or even off-putting.

My own view is that The Changing Seasons is simply an opportunity to reflect on the month that has passed, and to share those reflections in whatever way feels appropriate. For some bloggers, it’s a framework to record and reflect on particular interests and projects — like a garden. For others, every month is different, and so there is no set way of approaching it.

I think we do need guidelines, especially for those who are new to the project. But do those we have still work? I’m interested in your views.

In the meantime, here is Max’s original statement.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month

Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them.

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month

Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

One thing that won’t change though. Include a ping-back to this post, and I’ll update it with links to all of yours.



Tish at Writer on the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Suzanne from Life at No. 22

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Lani from Life, the Universe and Lani

Xingful Mama

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Sarah at Art Expedition

Brian at Bushboy’s World

A Wonderful Sheep

Joining us this month is the Textile Ranger from Little Wild Streak. Pop over to her post and say hi.

89 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons, September 2020

  1. Pingback: The Changing Seasons, September 2020 – Ladyleemanila

  2. So many worthwhile infos here, such lovely photos, great links to give info on your natal plants and birds, also much sadness and disruptions – and yet, and yet – NZ is still on my quiet, dreamy ‘wishlist’ – although it’s quite clear that, unlike Stephen Colbert, I’m never gonna be in your country….. thank you for all your informative, lovely posts – that’s also part of the joys to be had when befriending virtually great human beings!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Depressing when you have things to do and the weather won’t play ball, let alone feeling below par. 😦 Hope you’re soon restored to yourself, Su. I’ve always followed this challenge but never taken part and I’ve always enjoyed your entries. I think we always have to bring our own style to things. I love that sullen seascape. Very indicative of mood 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: The Changing Seasons: September’s Reasons To Be Cheerful – Tish Farrell

  5. I love your gannets and that ocean vista in complementary gannet shades. Also that you have calendula flowering at your end of the planet and so do I. And as for the weather – it’s all mixed up all over the place. Our temps dropped 10 degrees as if someone threw a switch. Good luck with the raised bed operations, once conditions permit. I’m making huge compost heaps up at the allotment, trying to cover all exposed soil surfaces either with trash or green manure-making plants. I may have to do a changing seasons part two, as I’ve not featured the allotment in this Sept. post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Su. your photos are lovely! I especially like that last, Maukatia (Maori Bay). The drama, the composition, all the sameness yet wildness of the colourings. There’s a feeling of being able to look at it over years and still notice something different.
    Give yourself time, Su. If you feel like taking a nap, take one. If you feel like sleeping till noon, enjoy! Don’t feel you have to keep to any rigid schedule. Be loving and patient and give yourself real time — all the time you need! — to heal. 💕

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much my friend.
      Maukatia is a beautiful place, and does have an ever-changing quality.
      I am taking things easy, and that’s probably good for my body, but my mind is whirling with all the projects I want to do. I’m feeling more frustrated with the weather than anything at the moment.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – September 2020 – Little Pieces Of Me

  8. Lovely images Su, as always, you are truly a skilled photographer. I am glad you opted to share this month as I am absolutely falling in love with the gannets. As for the format, I think both options are working well. As you’ve said people have tailored the rules to fit their wants. The only challenge I have is the 5-20 rule because I go over every.single.month. I try…but FAIL.

    Thank you for being an exceptional host of this challenge. I love the monthly recap on a personal level as I often go back to my own posts from months past to see where I was and what I was doing that I may otherwise have forgotten about.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Some lovely comments here Su. I echo them. I have been taking part since the beginning, but my take on the challenge has varied (see here: and this year I have taken a break which is probably just as well seeing I have barely set foot out of the door! I think it is a lovely way to share our views on life/travels/gardens/nature as time goes by. I think keeping the restriction in the number of photos is good though as some people could post far more than that and the blog posts get a little too long. I see it as a chance to chat with fellow changing seasons folk and share something of our lives.

    Love the colour of those Gannets – I feel like reaching out and stroking those feathers! And I have Marigolds, Borage and Scented Pelargoniums in flower now too, but sadly no Kowhai blossom.
    Take care and be kind to yourself. 💗💙🧡

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Jude.

      I wish I could send you one or two of my kowhai seedlings. I planted seeds from our tree last year and a surprising number germinated and have grown well.

      2020 has been particularly challenging for a project called The Changing Seasons, when for most of us global “change” has shrunk our lives so dramatically.

      I agree with you on limiting photo numbers. I really want to read everyone’s posts and engage with them. The community aspect is hugely important to me as well — more than I’d imagined when I first started participating.


  10. I can imagine how the weather dampens every enthusiastic impulse and hope it will soon improve for you, Su. I’m so not looking forward to winter! 😂
    I’m glad the gannets and a visit to their colony gave you material for writing this post – your photos are stunning as always – and even if I sometimes fail to participate myself I always look forward to reading yours. 😍
    Totally agree about what you said regarding the rules!
    Can’t wait to see what you’ll manage to create in your garden once the weather permits! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you my dear friend.
      I’ve just checked the weather forecast and it looks like I may get some garden days very soon. Yay!! Especially as I bought more seeds and seedlings today.


  11. Sorry to read the general personal climate, Su, and praying that changes soon! I do love those birds. I’ve a new-to-me bird on the blog today and am looking forward to seeing what migratory birds might show up. The signs say pelicans and ospreys come through and I’d love to see them!! I never remember this challenge and would really like to. I never joined before because I didn’t see why the photos would all have to be new. Now I’m wondering what I’d post, as we really haven’t seen much change in the six months we’ve been here, just in temperatures and photos of a thermometer or screen shots of a weather app wouldn’t be too exciting.


    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: A kaleidoscope of a month | XingfuMama

  13. Sorry, you’re not feeling too bright at the moment. The gannets are beautiful birds and you have captured them wonderfully. Not sure I can add on anything regarding the rules as I am pretty new to these sorts of posts. Having said that I am enjoying it, which reminds me I had better get too and write one up, it has been a busy month! Take care, Su.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sounds like one of those months. I hope you feel right as rain super soon. Speaking of, we’ve had a lot over here in Thailand. It seems like almost everyday it starts of sunny or rainy and ends up switching by the evening to the other extreme.

    I’m not sure about guidelines, other than the ones you already have, but now I’m full of doubt. Have I been doing it right? Reveals more about me than you – hahaha. I noticed in comments that folks spoke about limiting the photos, so if that’s it, I’m good. Maybe word count? Do you feel like reading them all takes too much time?

    Anyway, I do love those gannets. They look so downy and creamy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before, but that’s the wonder of nature, always something surprising and new, and beautiful variety. Take care! And big hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lani. I am feeling better today (there is no wind, and some sunshine — it doesn’t take much, does it?)

      Thanks for your input on the format of The Changing Seasons; I appreciate it.

      I really like that everyone does something a bit different and we get to share in that. I would be reluctant to impose limits (unless that was the consensus) because I hate the idea of someone not contributing because they think they have written too much, or added too many photos, or gone “off topic”.

      My philosophy is that publishing a blog post (rather than writing a journal entry) inherently carries an invitation to others’ to read and engage. That carries (I believe) a responsibility to respect readers’ time and attention and only write as much as necessary — whether that is a few words or a few thousand. I know I am happy to read long posts if they engage me, and am happy to look at lots of photos as long as they have something to say.

      How do you feel about reading long posts?

      Hope October is kind to you. Sending hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good answer. I have to admit that while I love to read, it better be a pretty good entry for me to read a long blog post because I am reading several in a sitting.

        You could argue that blogging is a little self-indulgent so I want to be respectful of other people’s time as well, and I want them to read, so I generally don’t go over 1000 words.

        Yeah, I guess my answer would be no. I’m a fan of brevity. (Even though my partner writes lengthy art criticism posts) But I completely agree with what you are saying.

        Sending hugs back!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – Sept 2020 – Life, the Universe, and Lani

  16. We have had our first day without wind in what seems like weeks. No rain at all, though. I would gladly take some of yours. I suppose the wind helps brings the birds to our shores; the gannets to you, the godwits to us, and the beautiful albatrosses to Otago. These annual visitors are a joy, and you capture the gannets so lovingly and so beautifully. I have been watching the live stream of the albatross chicks at Taiaroa Head; captivating stuff.


    • Thanks Amanda. I agree; watching the gannets is such a treat. With no tour buses this year, it also feels like a nicer experience — less damage to the tracks and fewer cigarette butts!

      No wind today here either. Our rain doesn’t seem to have done much to alleviate the drought. I guess this is the future for many of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m sorry to hear that September has been such a challenging month for you, Su. I too would be sad to see all those beautiful flowers get strewn to the ground rather than enjoyed for as long as possible on the trees.

    It’s funny how I see you and I as part of the balancing on the universe – as you are trying to wind up, I’m trying to wind down 😏. Hoping that your weather changes for the better and you are feeling well and strong soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – September 2020 – Reflections of An Untidy Mind

  19. Sometimes it is hard to get motivated, isn’t it? Su, your surgery, the recent Covid outbreak in NZ, the cold weather and concern for your friends and family overseas must be very draining. I’m glad you feel that you can share the good, bad and ugly with us because you are not alone in struggling with 2020.

    It has been unusually cold and wet here too. I’m trying to embrace the cold days given last year’s shitty spring/summer but I am looking forward to some sun after a long and depressing winter. I love your moody photos, especially that shot looking over the cliff to the nesting gannets and the sea below. Your photos of the gannets are just amazing. The gannets are amazing. I enjoyed the garden photos too. It will sparkle once the sun decides to come out.

    If you want to watch a delightful television series, can I recommend the Canadian production, Shitt’s Creek? It is adorable, Su. My True Love got me on to it. It is adorable. Very heart-warming. I’ve stayed up far too late watching it rather than preparing my photos for my Changing Seasons post.

    PS. The format is fine with me. I mostly use it as a guide and go from there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Tracy. I do feel comfortable being “warts and all” in this community. Everyone is so supportive (and often very wise).

      I’ve noticed Shitt’s Creek in the listings on Netflix (or TVNZ), so thanks for the heads-up.
      I’ve been watching Upright — a darkly brilliant and sometimes very funny series written and produced by Tim Minchin. Have you seen it?

      The sun is out here today and it has really made a difference to my mood. Hope you get some sunshine soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: What’s Been Happening? – September 2020 – Life at No. 22

  21. Pingback: THE CHANGING SEASON, SEPTEMBER 2020 – Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

  22. Your photographs are beautiful. They are always beautiful. Not just pretty to look at but elegant and perfectly beautiful, as if you have removed all the rough parts and left just the beauty. I think there is some importance to this challenge, that it shows us how our world is doing and not just in one place, but all around the world. Thank you for doing this and that you for your efforts. I hope you are feeling better soon. I hope we are ALL feeling better soon!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Marilyn.

      Photography has become such an important part of my life and it is so nice to feel that my images are enjoyed.

      The wind has dropped here, and I have been out to a community garden to chat and buy wonderful produce. Consequently, I am feeling better.

      I hope you are doing better too.


  23. BLAH months are ….
    Having been there, they are difficult to talk about or describe.
    I cheer you on! with the hope that you will feel energised and better soon.
    Having said this, your post is filled with beauty: wistful (fallen kowhai), jaw-dropping (gannets), hopeful (calendula & borage blooms). And as always, you inspire and make me smile.

    Thank you for hosting this monthly get-together. As I’ve mentioned before, I very much look forward to it as it gives me a chance to take stock as well as catch up with BlogFriends. Guidelines are important as they give structure (even if we choose to disregard them) – I like that we are asked to use new photos from the month and not from our archives. I also appreciate the photo limit (although I think I have flouted that one more than once!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad that you enjoy The Changing Seasons (and that you contribute).

      I’m pretty sure I’ve posted loads of photos from time to time, and I’m reluctant to set limits because sometimes it’s not possible to tell the stories we want to share within strict constraints. I’m totally with you on guidelines, and I think the important thing is to respect that it is is privilege to have readers for our blogs and we should aim to make sure we don’t bore or exhaust those readers.


  24. Lovely Su. 2020 has been depressing in so many ways and I think we’re all suffering from exhaustion. I know I am. I heard a very good suggestion, ‘lets declare 2020 over and done with and put up the Christmas tree.’ Sounds like a brilliant idea to me. Keep smiling Su, we have to believe it will get better, weather and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Pingback: Changing Seasons : September 2020 – Living in Paradise…

  26. Another month and another great post you have given us Su. Sorry to hear that your health is not the best, hope that it improves as, hopefully the weather does. So sad about the Kowhai flowers, the Tuis will miss them. The gannet photos are stunning. They bring back the smell and noise of the colony to me. I think bloggers do tend to interpret the format to suit what they want to say about the month. But I am so grateful you took up the hosting and kept it going.I love to be able to look back to previous years. I am guilty of not keeping to the photo limits and I will be interested to hear the consensus about that. I definitely could cut down the number of photos I post. So next month that will be my challenge as I have gone way over this month…

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: The Changing Seasons: September 2020 – All things bright and beautiful

  28. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – September 2020 | Art Expedition

  29. Pingback: This is September 2020 – bushboys world

  30. Sorry to hear you have been having a tough time Su. I think this year has taken a heavy toll on anyone with intelligence and empathy. Hope you feel better soon.

    Your photos are superb as always – the Gannets are fantastic. They were the favourite bird of our department head who passed away in July and will always make me think of him.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Hi Su – enjoyed the photos and your sharing –
    I think it seems easier to just invite folks to reflect on their month in their own way- and to be honest – o never quite understood what was expected when I saw the posts of folks who joined in with it when Cardinal hosted.
    I thought it was supposed to be quarterly – and at one point I thought people were supposed to take photos of the same thing and share it at different seasons (maybe because a few bloggers did that)
    And also – if it is a monthly reflection the word seasons might indicate quarterly and so I did have ambiguity back then-
    Anyhow – joining in when I can I do like the month reflecting and it is a goal of mine to try and do this regularly in 2021 –
    I just came from Pommepal blog and loved how she said the monthly posts have been a log and journal for her – and we all know our blogs can be that in many ways and so I think the changing seasons challenge is a very important one to keep going – so thanks for hosting 😉
    And regarding the month!!
    I know the kind of month you have had – and can pinpoint certain months (‘maybe even a couple “full years”) with the many little and big challenges that take a toll.
    Sending a blog bug and some tea 🍮
    — and

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Sorry to hear your month has been less than spectacular, Su. That news about the surgery results is especially disappointing, but I hope you continue to heal and hopefully your condition will improve. I’m glad you got to visit the Muriwai tākapu colony though because your photos (as always) are breathtaking! So enjoy seeing your part of the world through your lens and words.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Pingback: September 2020 Doodle Calendar – A wonderful sheep

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