It’s the last week of the school summer holidays, which means that I have been slacking on visits to the Common because of the pressing need to acquire school clothing. (No point in buying this stuff early as my thirteen year old has grown a size over the summer: I am now dressed pretty much entirely in his cast offs, although I do draw the line at wearing his outgrown school uniform.) However, on my brief forays there has been plenty to see on the Common: the best of both seasons really: very definite signs of autumn, the cooler and darker mornings, rose hips, acorns, and the gentle start of the changing colours and fall of leaves.
The cygnets have grown more than a size over the summer: the three who remain on the Boating Lake are almost as big as their parents, but haven’t yet begun their flying lessons. Their mother and father often leave them to their own devices and spend quality time together: once they can fly well enough the youngsters will be gently (and then increasingly un-gently, as the male swan does like them to depart promptly), encouraged to leave home. Meantime, the little grebes have been trying to make a nest on the Boating Lake. I have been trying to photograph them, and they have been trying to avoid me (and succeeding!)
However, despite all the signs of autumn, there are still plenty of summer beauties around: bees, dragonflies, damselflies, and of course butterflies. The heather patches are a real favourite with the butterflies just now, and with me too as the purple and yellow are beautiful backdrops for photos.
It’s an exciting time of year: when I arrive on the Common I never know whether I will be drawn to a patch of autumnal fungi, or have the chance to get caught up in brambles pursing dragonflies. Even better, on Wednesday I will be getting new glasses, so I may even be able to see whatever it is I am trying to photograph.