Golden light and rainy days on Southampton Common

It’s been another of those weeks of all seasons on Southampton Common, and I have been very glad that the swans are back on the Ornamental Lake to  provide some morning and evening photo opportunities.


Tuesday was one of those sunny, misty days that make winter worthwhile, with a thin shimmer of morning frost and a lot of golden light. 

There have, however, also been some rather wilder times this week, when both the Common and I have felt a little windswept. 

Those have been my moments to head into the shelter and get grubby, because all this damp-but-quite-mild-really weather means that the fungi are still going strong. 

On most days, though, there has been beautiful moments, often in the early evening (the time known as mid afternoon when it’s summer), and the Ornamental Pond has taken on a golden sheen.

So it’s the end of another week of wandering, with my boots getting muddier, and my layers of clothing getting more numerous, by the day. But Southampton Common remains, as ever, a beautiful place to waste some time doing nothing particularly constructive or useful in the build up to Christmas.

Storms and sunshine on Southampton Common

It’s been a stormy end to November, and only the most determined of  the autumn leaves are still hanging on.

I have spent an awful lot of time this week sheltering in the woodlands, walking through slightly soggy leaves, pausing to admire the fungi, and reminding myself how much we need all this rain to keep the land green and pleasant. 

Although it seems as if the week has been pretty damp, there have been plenty of beautiful moments: a misty morning …

A couple of lovely early starts at the Ornamental Lake…


and the meeting  of clouds and sunshine is always a delight to watch

Apart from the wild weather, this weeks events include  the Boating Lake being drained, meaning  that  those who had taken up residence there have had to find alternative accommodation. The cygnets have been safely relocated, and their parents have reluctantly accepted that it is time to return to the Ornamental Lake for winter. Of this I am very glad, as they add a photogenic touch to early morning winter photos. 

For the ex-Boating Lake dwellers who want to remain on the Common, the alternative to  the Ornamental Lake is the Cemetery Lake, and the established residents there have had to make room for a few new arrivals too.

All in all, despite the rather inclement weather, it’s been another week when I have been glad to be able to spend a few hours wandering the Common, doing nothing remotely useful, but enjoying doing it!

Changing seasons on Southampton Common

This week has included a fair bit of cloud and rain, which always makes me enjoy the woodland areas of the Common, with their generous shelter and, at this time of year, pleasingly crunchy leaves to kick my way through (will I ever grow out of kicking leaves? I guess not) .

I haven’t been the only one playing with the leaves this week though. The birds on the Boating Lake have been swimming in leaves, and the little grebes have taken to wearing them

Speaking of the Boating Lake, the swans have been starting the process of moving back to the Ornamental Lake, and I can no longer predict who I will find where. One morning I found a solitary cygnet on the Boating Lake, squeaking dismally, having missed the morning flying lesson. I discovered his parents and sibling swanning around on the Ornamental Lake, reminding the ducks and gulls of whom they perceive to be in charge.  The next day, the father and two cygnets were on the Boating Lake, whilst the mother enjoyed a bit of well-earned peace and quiet on the Ornamental Lake. 

On the other side of the Common, at the Cemetery Lake, the shoveler ducks deigned to come almost close enough to the edge of the water for me to try to get a decent shot of them, whilst the tufted ducks looked disapprovingly on and the gulls remained pristine, despite the muddy surroundings.

Despite the colder weather this week, a few tiny fungi are still popping up, and although some of the trees have entirely lost their leaves, others are still in full autumn glory. You never know what season it will be as you turn a corner at this time of year.

But on Thursday, there was no doubt that winter was on the way, and it was a beautiful sight. The Ornamental Lake was laced with the first ice of the season, one of the swans was visiting, and the golden sunlight was just breaking through a vey slightly hazy sky. I never really feel able to welcome winter, but when it looks like this I just have to find my chunkiest jumper, pull on an extra pair of gloves, and love every cold minute of it.

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More autumn treats on Southampton Common

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It’s been another week of autumn glory on Southampton Common, leaves to crunch through, leaves to look up to and leaves fluttering onto me. The trees change every day at this time of year: one morning adorned in golden glory, the next protected by a barrier of fallen foliage. On some corners of the Common autumn is nearly over, and the trees are wintry and naked, but elsewhere it’s just beginning, with the leaves just beginning to turn.
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The Old Cemetery is a great place to go leaf walking
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Not to be outdone, the swans on the Boating Lake have been busy this week, taking longer flights with the two remaining cygnets, encouraging their independence, most likely in the hope that they will soon find territories of their own to fly to.
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I can’t ignore the fungi at this time of year: tiny mushrooms popping up everywhere, but especially in the woodland areas of the Common.
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Summer has to be my favourite season, because it’s often warm, but every year autumn tries very hard to outdo it!
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Autumn gold on Southampton Common

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Today’s visit to Southampton Common begins in the Old Cemetery, to pause and pay respect. I was lucky enough to bump into one of the Friends of the Old Cemetery during my wanderings this week, who kindly showed me a beautifully restored World War One grave, near the Cemetery Road entrance.
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This week the Common  has been stunning, with autumn colours everywhere. It’s been difficult to know which way to look as I stroll along, crunching through the leaves and exclaiming aloud, to anyone whom I meet or just to myself, about how beautiful this time of year is.

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JHT_0054JHT_0054_3When the rain rolls in, as it has from time to time, there is all that beautiful woodland to hide in, where I commune with the latest tiny fungi.
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So, this has been a fantastic week to aimlessly meander around, breathing in the golden glory of autumn on Southampton Common. If the wind and rain have left a few leaves, next week might be even better. But whatever the weather, Southampton Common is a wonderful place to be, and we are very lucky to have so much natural beauty in the city.

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Two weeks of wandering on Southampton Common

 

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JHT_0019JHT_0019_1This is a bumper report on my wanderings on Southampton Common: I was engaged a different kind of wandering most of last week as it was half term.
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It’s been two weeks of what autumn does best: a bit of every kind of weather, and lots of beautiful things to see. Beautiful, crisp sunny days, interspersed with cloudy or misty starts.

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JHT_0240JHT_0240_4There have been frosty mornings, when I could see my breath (and the swans’ breath too!), and the fallen leaves crunched beneath my feet.

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JHT_0239JHT_0239In the woodlands, there are plenty of tiny fungi, which either provide me with the perfect excuse to dodge the rain or draw me in to admire them as they dance in the sunshine.

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JHT_0889The autumn is just beginning to achieve its full glory on the Common, and my meandering strolls are taking longer and longer as I pause more and more frequently to admire the golden colours.

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At the Boating Lake, the cygnets are busy perfecting their flying skills under their parents’ tutelage, and it wont be long before they have all found new homes I guess. (I am reliably informed that cygnet number three, who has been missing for a week or so, is safely ensconced in a  new residence.)

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JHT_0472JHT_0472_1The tufted ducks are back in force, looking disapprovingly at me, and there are still some little grebes on the Boating Lake, blending in with the autumn colours.

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So, it’s mostly the gloves on time of year now, but the Common is as beautiful as ever and I have a feeling it might get even more stunning over the next couple of weeks.

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A mixed bag of weather on Southampton Common

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It’s been another week of all weathers, including a generous helping of rain on Wednesday, which enabled me to see a few new angles on things as I sheltered in Southampton Old Cemetery.
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There have also been couple  misty mornings, and a bonus of the mist and rain is that they showcase webs so well. DSC_0145DSC_0145_2
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All the damp in the early part of the week has brought plenty of rewards though: the fungi are thriving, and I have spent plenty of happy moments in the dappled sunshine fo the later week kneeling in leafy debris enjoying their company.

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After a mixed bag of weather, the week has ended n an upbeat note with some glorious weather, and I’m hoping that it stays that way for the half term holiday this week.
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