The female (pistillate) catkins are small, ovoid and also in clusters of 3-5. The buds are become purple-brown as they mature and are insignificant in flower. Be sure you are looking at the small buds on the twigs that are pointing downward. The large bud in the upright position is a vegetative bud.
Karren Wcisel, TreeTopics.com
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Alnus glutinosa, European alder, black alder, deciduous, tree