Unwelcome guests on the Cemetery Lake, Southampton Common

DSC_0150DSC_0150Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 320, f 10, 1/40

Having visited the Common only fleetingly during half term last week I was planning a gentle stroll around yesterday: catching up with all the small but satisfying events that were on offer and generally mulling life in the slow lane whilst indulging in the odd warm beverage and sugary sustenance. However, as is so often the case when you try to make plans involving nature, things didn’t quite work out that way.

DSC_0069DSC_0069Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 200, f 10, 1/640
DSC_0074DSC_0074Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 120, f 10, 1/640

The weather was deciding between sunshine and clouds, but at the little morning gathering of people on the sunny corner of the Ornamental Pond we all agreed that it was a beautiful day, and I went off to play in the mud. First, I went to the Old Cemetery. Here, I was engulfed by tranquillity, and spent some time worshipping at the feet of the tiny gods of incipient spring.

DSC_0232Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 320, f 10, 1/50
DSC_0078Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 800, f 10, 1/320
DSC_0240Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 320, f 10, 1/60
To see more photos of the old cemetery, please click on this link

After hoisting myself back to an upright position using my trusty but battered tripod I wandered over to the Cemetery Lake. It was here that the calm and leisurely ambience came to an end. To my great delight it was immediately obvious that not one, but six, creatures were even less popular than me today. This was most gratifying, and I settled down with my trusty flask and biscuits to watch as half a dozen visiting swans were asked to leave by the two residents. There was a great deal of chasing, causing my old friends the tufted ducks to look angrily at the warring parties, whilst the shoveler ducks stayed further away than ever.

DSC_0625Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 500, f 10, 1/800
DSC_0472Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 320, f 10, 1/800
DSC_0731DSC_0731Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 800, f 10, 1/800
DSC_1052DSC_1052Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 400, f 10, 1/800

After a while the established pair retreated behind the island to talk tactics before returning, armada-like, for more. However, they had quite task, with six youngsters to try to evict.

DSC_0659Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 500, f 10, 1/800
DSC_0648Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 500, f 10, 1/800
DSC_0607DSC_0607Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 800, f 10, 1/800

I stayed for a while, enjoying the action, before reclaiming my bicycle and returning home to distribute the fruits of my muddy adventures around the house. At this point,  all eight of the swans were still there. Not for long though, as it turned out. But more of that in the next blog entry.

DSC_0899DSC_0899Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1000, f 10, 1/800
To see more swan photographs, please click on this link

 

 

More ice on Southampton Common

The Ornamental Pond was covered in a sheen of ice. It looked wafer-thin, but was somehow thick enough to support the duck and gull population. The sky was clear and the sun was shining: what a good start to the week (especially if, like me, you had remembered to put foot warmers inside your boots).

DSC_0749DSC_0749Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, Iso 500, f10, 1/40 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

There have been quite a few icy days lately, but the birds were still having quite a time investigating their solid environment.

DSC_0958aNikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1600, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0959Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1600, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0823Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1600, f10, 1/640  To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
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Over at the Cemetery Lake there was considerably less ice, but the seagulls were doing their best to stand on what little there was, whilst the tufted ducks indulged in a cold water bathing routine. The shoveler ducks, who were so friendly last week, had returned to their preferred activity of swimming in circles at the back of the island, out of range of my camera.

DSC_0394DSC_0394_1Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 800, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0386DSC_0386Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 800, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0396DSC_0396Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 800, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

There was just time for a quick visit to the Old Cemetery, which was a good thing because it is a delightfully peaceful place to go before immersing oneself in the chaos of the day. Or, in my case, the chaos of the week, because this is half term, and there will be plenty of Lego, Nerf guns, and other productive activities for me to immerse myself in, rather than wandering aimlessly the Common.

DSC_0709DSC_0709Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 320, f10, 1/30 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0673DSC_0673Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 250, f10, 1/40 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0462Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 800, f10, 1/125

 

 

Shovelers on the ice at Southampton Common

(Feb 08 2018 10-18 AM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D55006777152Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 640, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

It’s been rather chilly this week, but here in Southampton we have not had any snow. Not even a hint of a day off work or school for wintry conditions. There have, nonetheless, been some great cold weather compensations. Both the Cemetery Lake and the Ornamental Pond have been frozen in whole or in part for much of the week, and this has given me plenty of opportunity to enjoy the sight of the birds negotiating their icy environment (whilst remaining fairly safely on solid land myself).

(Feb 07 2018 12-15 PM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D550030757824 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 500, f10, 1/640  To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
(Feb 08 2018 10-22 AM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D550010480832Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 640, f10, 1/640  To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
(Feb 07 2018 12-38 PM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D550035179904 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 1600, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

The swans have generally declined to participate in the skating parties, preferring to float aloofly in the thin slices of water available to them. However, the moorhens, coots, ducks and seagulls have been experimenting with the ice, with varying degrees of good humour.

(Feb 08 2018 10-32 AM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D550012114944Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 1000, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
(Feb 08 2018 10-33 AM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D550012737536Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 1000, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

Best of all for me, on Thursday the elusive shoveler ducks on the Cemetery Lake deigned to come within camera range, to pose on the ice and fascinate me with thoughts of how they manage to balance with those large bulky beaks.

(Feb 08 2018 12-05 PM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D550045785856Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 640, f8, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
(Feb 08 2018 12-13 PM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D550051441408Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 1600, f7.1, 1/400 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
(Feb 08 2018 12-13 PM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D550051210624Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 1600, f8, 1/400 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
(Feb 08 2018 12-14 PM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5500Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 1600, f8, 1/400  To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
(Feb 08 2018 12-08 PM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D550048196928Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 1600, f8, 1/400 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

After the excitement of a close encounter with the shovelers, I retired to the Old Cemetery where, to further compensate for the lack of snow, there are still plenty of snowdrops on display, along with an ever increasing number of tantalisingly spring-like flowers.

(Feb 07 2018 11-08 AM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D550015672576 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 500,  f10, 1/80 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
(Feb 07 2018 10-10 AM)NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D55007020480 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens ISO 500, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

I stopped for a quick drink from my now trusty new flask, accompanied by a small snack of whatever I found in my backpack. A squirrel joined me, nibbling on a snack of his own,  and all the while eyeing me warily, as if I might try to effect a swap.

DSC_0177Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens ISO 1600, f5.6, 1/250 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

All in all, despite finding that another species distrusts me, it has been a good week for me on Southampton Common.

 

Cold but beautiful: icy mornings on Southampton Common

DSC_0176 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1600, f9, 1/500 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

It’s been a cold start to the week, but a happy side effect of this has been beautiful bicycle rides on my way to work via Southampton Common: and never mind that my two pairs of gloves and three pairs of socks have been inadequate for the task of keeping me warm.

DSC_0041DSC_0041_1 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 100, f10, 1/15 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0073DSC_0073_1 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 125, f10, 1/15 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0091DSC_0091_3 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 125, f10, 1/15 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

On Monday morning the Ornamental Pond was partially iced over. It was beautiful to see the sun rising above the shimmering ice and there was just enough water available for the swans to have a bit of an early morning preening session/ photo shoot for me. I was very grateful for their efforts, because Monday can be a bit of a cheerless event and I secretly felt that I deserved some kind of reward for braving the biting wind.

DSC_0155 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 1600, f8, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0162 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 1600, f7.1, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0178 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 1600, f6.3, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on the link
DSC_0200DSC_0200_3 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 1600, f8, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

I considered popping in to the Common on my way home, but the call of a warm house achieved an easy victory over the much more subtle call of the camera.

DSC_0181 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1600, f9, 1/500  to purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0255DSC_0255_1 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1600, f10, 1/640  To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

Tuesday was advertised as being pretty much as cold, if not colder, than Monday. But although the ducks were still sliding around on thin ice the unforgiving wind chill factor had abated. It was a less picturesque early morning, with the sunshine constantly hinting at a breakthrough but never quite making it. The up side of this was that I cycled away with a degree of sensation still remaining in my fingers and toes, and a feeling that there were definite compensations for the lack of a spectacular sunrise.

DSC_0108 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 400, f10, 1/10

 

A happy morning in the Old Cemetery, Southampton Common

DSC_0121DSC_0121_1 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200, ISO 200, f11, 1/40
It was a rather chilly and breezy morning, but that didn’t trouble me at all because I had my splendid new flask with me as I set forth to wave good morning to my friends at the Cemetery Lake. One or two of the tufted ducks were having bad hair days, but otherwise all seemed well there.DSC_0092 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200, ISO 1250, f6.3, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0078 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200, ISO1250, f6.3,1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0155 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO400, f10, 1/80 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

My next stop, the Old Cemetery is beginning to have a real Spring feel to it, with crocuses everywhere and numerous clumps of snowdrops. However, there was also a highish wind chill factor and some unforgivingly cold showers. Luckily, there are plenty of trees for me to shelter under, and equipped with my new flask I was able to relax in relative comfort until the rain passed by. There was a party of primary school children touring the Cemetery and one or two of the teachers gave me uncertain sidelong glances. I wasn’t sure if this was because I have decided that buying new coat at the end of January is admitting defeat to winter, and, as a consequence, am walking around looking rather like a scarecrow, or because they were envious of my warm drink. In deference to their suffering I hid my biscuits until after they had gone by, as I didn’t have enough to share, and it seemed cruel to eat them in full view of those who probably would have liked one.

DSC_0131 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200, ISO 400, f10, 1/8 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0213 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 500, f10, 1/100  To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0294 copy 2Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 1250, f10, 1/50 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0252DSC_0252_1 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 800, f10, 1/100  Tp purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

Once the rain had abated and I had eaten my biscuits I proceeded on my tour of the anticipation of spring. To my delight, I came across three daffodils in bloom. This, on top of my warming beverage and biscuits, meant that the day was heading to the incredibly good end of the scale. I grovelled around for a while, trying to get a shot that would, despite the breeze, do the daffodils justice.

DSC_0266 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 800, f10, 1/125 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

It was beginning to rain again as I left the Common, but I was in an upbeat frame of mind. In addition to all the other pleasing events of the morning, a super moon was scheduled to appear later in the day, and, weather permitting, there was a chance that I would get to see it.

DSC_0038bTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1600, f11,1/80

As it turned out, I did not view the super moon from the Common, but from a nearby Sustrans boardwalk that runs between the River Itchen and the railway line. This last photo therefore has nothing to do with the Common, but it was quite fun trying to hold my camera still on its tripod as cyclists sped by on the wooden boards and trains did the same thing a few yards away, so here it is. The moon rising over Midanbury, with a generous helping of camera shake thrown in for good measure!

 

The ducks on Southampton Common no longer hate me

The day began with the early morning rays playing on the mist on the Ornamental Pond, although that was pretty much all that would be seen on the sun for a few hours.

DSC_0022DSC_0022 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, 18-200 lens, ISO 400, f13, 1/20 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0034DSC_0034_2 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, 18-200 lens, ISO 800, f14, 1/13 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

By the time I reached the Cemetery Lake it was cloudy, and the birds were busy doing their morning ablutions. Not wanting to interrupt them, I continued on my pilgrimage to the Old Cemetery

DSC_0372DSC_0372 2Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1250, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0323 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1250, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

After my morning devotions, kneeling at the feet of the gods of the promise of spring, I returned to the Cemetery Lake to see how my relationship with the ducks was developing: last week they definitely hated me.

DSC_0082Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 500,  f10, 1/50 Tp purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0243 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 640 , f10, 1/60 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

This week though I feel that perhapsI had done them a disservice. Instead of glaring at me the tufted ducks were looking smug, as if they knew something I didn’t. Specifically, that this can be one of the coldest corners of the Common, but you can’t get your hot drink out because the mass of pigeons that hang around waiting to be fed may make an unwelcome contribution to it. One of the pochards almost smiled at me, and although they stayed well out of decent photography range the shoveler ducks deigned to glance in my direction. The coots seemed in rather bad humour, but this was not directed specifically at me and the moorhens, who are usually rather timid and fretful, seemed calmer than usual.

DSC_0351 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1000, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0193 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1250, f10, 1/640   To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0343 2Taken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70–300 lens, ISO 1000, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0464 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 1600, f7.1, 1/640  To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

So, although the welcome I received was a little lukewarm, I felt that things were progressing very well for me at the Cemetery Lake. I am beginning to have an unreasonable hope that one of the shoveler ducks might pop over for a proper photo call next week.

DSC_0325DSC_0325 copyTaken using Nikon D5500, 18-300 lens, ISO 1600, f10, 1/640

A sunny day with the goosander on Southampton Common

DSC_0004 copyImage taken using Nikon D5500 with Nikon 18-200 lens, at f10, ISO 100, 1/8 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

The first three days of this week were pretty dismal, but yesterday morning the clouds lifted and it was a glorious day for wandering on Southampton Common. If a tad muddy underfoot after three days of pretty constant rain, and slightly breezy. My old friends the tufted ducks were looking a tad windswept.

DSC_03211 copyImage taken using  Nikon D5500, Lens Nikon 70-300mm, ISO 1600, f10, 1/640
DSC_0267DSC_0267_1 copyImage taken using Nikon 5500, with Nikon 85mm macro lens, ISO 640, f10, 1/100 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

To my delight there were several new clumps of snowdrops in the Old Cemetery, crocuses were popping up everywhere, there were primroses, and the daffodils were at the tantalising point of nearly blooming. All of this made me very happy indeed and I spent an hour or so with a silly grin on my face, frightening unsuspecting strangers with a cheery “hello.”

To see more photos of the Old Cemetery, please click on this link The Old Cemetery

DSC_0153DSC_0153 copyImage taken using Nikon D5500, Lens Nikon 85mm macro, ISO 640, f10, 1/40 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0276DSC_0276_1 copyImage taken using Nikon D5500, Lens Nikon 85mm macro, ISO 640, f10, 1/100  To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_03031 copyImage taken using Nikon D5500, Lens Nikon 85mm macro, ISO 1250, f14, 1/60

After annoying quite a few people in this way, it was time for me to go and do something vaguely useful. As I wandered back towards the Ornamental Pond I wondered whether I would remember to buy a new flask (to replace the one that has curiously disappeared from my life.) It was a tad chilly, and I liked the idea of a warm drink, but a cruel twist of fate meant that the lovely Hawthorns Café on the Common is closed this week. But on my arrival at the Ornamental Pond all thoughts of flasks disappeared because the goosander decided to make my day just that tiny bit more splendid than it already was. I have been watching this fellow for a couple of weeks, but he as been steadfastly occupying the reedy areas on the far bank whenever I am around. This was exactly where he was when I arrived, so I ignored him and went to unlock my bicycle. As I dumped my pack into the basket I noticed him out of the corner of my eye, swimming casually across to the photographable zone. I scuttled back to the pond, skidding slightly on the mud and coming to a fortunate standstill at the water’s edge. Just in time to grab a few shots before he returned from whence he came.

DSC_0717DSC_0717 copyImage taken using Nikon D5500, Lens Nikon 70-300, ISO 1250, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0735DSC_0735 copyImage taken using Nikon D5500, Lens Nikon 70-300, ISO 1250, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0751DSC_0751 copyImage taken using Nikon D5500, Lens Nikon 70-300, ISO 1250, f10, 1/640 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

I was all smiles again, chatted happily with a man whose dog was preoccupied with peeing on my bicycle wheel, and then cycled away at top speed (for me, which is pretty much walking pace for everyone else). I wanted to look at those goosander shots. The flask is yet to be replaced…

DSC_0114DSC_0114 copyImage taken using Nikon D5500, Lens Nikon 85mm macro, ISO 640, f10, 1/40 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link