Windswept on Southampton Common

It’s been a blustery week on Southampton Common, so most of my time has, once again, been spent by the waterside, watching how the birds have been managing the wind and mud. A lot of feather ruffling has been going on!

Dipping under the water, out of the wind and rain, has been an attractive option for some.

Others have stayed above the water, and just ridden the waves.

With a surfeit of that damp drizzly rain that hardly seems to be there yet soaks you, accompanied by a smattering of real rain, the trees on Southampton Common have been much appreciated this week: although some of them have appeared less than impressed by my company.

Despite the somewhat inclement weather, there was one morning of beautiful early light for the swans on the Ornamental Lake to pose in. In addition, notwithstanding all my whingeing, the beautiful signs of Spring are still all around, albeit swaying uncontrollably.

So, another week has blown by on Southampton Common, and we are halfway through March. This means that I can begin my annual discussion with myself about whether to get a better macro lens for all those lovely summer insects that are just waiting to hide form me.

A week by the waterside on Southampton Common

There’s been a lot of beautiful spring blossom on Southampton Common, and on Monday I was pleased to see that the majority of the flowers in Southampton Old Cemetery had survived the weekend storms. Today it’s pretty breezy again, so let’s hope there’s till some left tomorrow.

Although the Common is full of spring flowers, the windy weather has made doing them justice in photos rather tricky this week, so I have rather kept to the watersides. This has been no great hardship, especially on those mornings when the Ornamental Lake has been misty and golden.

The resident swans on the Ornamental Lake always add something to the scene, emerging from the morning mist, preening, and generally swanning around. They have been inspecting their regular nesting site on the island this week: maybe we are moving towards the long annual cygnet watch!

Luckily for Common wanderers like me there is always plenty to watch on the lakes. There have been varying goosander counts on the Ornamental Lake this week, but a regular group of three females and one male have been consistently spotted, usually steadfastly located on the most distant side of the water, although they are not above popping over to do a bit of fishing amongst the reeds beside the path just after I have packed my camera away . The other birds on the lakes have been variously getting muddy faces, pairing up, arguing over territory, and glaring at me.

They say that next week will be rather wet and windy again, but although the ducks and I may all end up looking a bit muddy and windswept again, I’m sure there will be fun to be had on Southampton Common.

A taste of Spring on Southampton Common

Strolling Southampton Common has been a real pleasure this week, beginning with rays of beautiful morning light to welcome me back from my week away from wandering.

The Ornamental Lake looked particularly lovely in the misty morning light, especially when the goosanders came close enough to the path to be photographed. We are very lucky to have these gorgeous birds on the Ornamental Lake again this year, and I would very much like them to become regular seasonal visitors.

The early part of the week was a real springtime preview, with Southampton Old Cemetery budding with beautiful blossom, and a smattering of bees and butterflies to give me a bit of insect-missing macro photography practice ready for summer. Every year I long for these tiny creatures to return, and when they arrive I remember how disinclined they are to co-operate with my photographic plans for them!

The ponds on the Common are always a good place to spend a bit of time, and this week has been no exception. The swans are often the main attraction, but the goosanders really do give them a good run for their money, with their sleek beauty, and propensity to take long dives and pop up suddenly just where you weren’t expecting them. I also rather like the pochards over at the Cemetery Lake, who always seem to me to have a vaguely nervous expression.

It looks as if the next few days might be a bit stormy, but I suspect that even in the wind and rain I will find a few interesting things to waste my time enjoying on Southampton Common.

A week of inaction on Southampton Common

Not much action to report from me this week, as it was half term, and I’ve been occupied with things that don’t involve the Common. Just popped in for the odd misty springtime morning, to remind me of why the slight detour on my way to work is almost always worth it.

Instead of doing any proper wandering this week, I’ve spent time sitting on trains and vaguely participating in Lego city creations in the part of our house formerly known as “the attic.” In a few quiet moments I have put some of my photos onto Redbubble, where they can now be purchased as cards, pictures, mugs and other things. Any profits from sales will be donated to the Society of St James,  a Southampton-based homelessness charity, providing a range of supported living services in Southampton, Portsmouth and across Hampshire ( I also purchased the distinctive red bike that warns of my presence on the Common from their bicycle workshop. So, if you fancy a souvenier of Southampton Common, with a bit of money going to a good cause, my stuff is at:

Next week, more serious wanderings will be resumed!

Misty rays and hints of Spring on Southampton Common

This week has been a delight of misty rays and hints of spring. There have been some really beautiful starts to the day on Southampton Common, and I have hardly known which way to turn to enjoy the light.

The early morning fog and mist have created some eerie sunrises at the Ornamental Lake. The Boating Lake is slwoly refilling, and the play of naked trees and reflections there have been rather lovely too.

Alongside the enticing mist, the blossom is starting to appear and the spring flowers are multiplying every day: Southampton Old Cemetery is developing a carpet of primroses, crocuses, daffodils, and snowdrops.

When everything is so stunning, it’s easy to forget the faithful inhabitants of the Common, on whom I rely on for company and photography in less dramatic situations. Soon, this year’s chicks, ducklings and cygnets will be on the way, and these guys will take centre stage again!

So, although there’s still plenty of mud for me to kneel in to take my photos, it’s been another beautiful week on Southampton Common.

Stormy days on Southampton Common

It’s been a bit of a stormy week on Southampton Common, so I’ve spent a lot of time admiring the Old Cemetery, where I can easily duck under the trees for cover. The Old Cemetery is a beautiful place, where there are always new and interesting discoveries to be made.

Although there has been a fair bit of rain around, there have also been times of beautiful sunshine and blue skies. With the combination of weather we have had this week it’s not surprising that the spring flowers in the Old Cemetery are starting to look really beautiful.

The Old Cemetery hasn’t been my only shelter on the Common this week though: there are plenty of trees around, although lot of them are rather bare at this time of year!

All in all, there’s been plenty of good weather for ducks this week, so my friends at the Cemetery Lake have been pretty happy, although the tufted ducks always like to give me a little scowl.

Next week, I’m hoping for a little bit less breeze, and maybe a touch more sunshine, but whatever the weather, it’s always good to spend some time out and about on Southampton Common

A tiny bit of snow on Southampton Common

It’s been a cold week on Southampton Common, but a beautiful one too.  The frosty sunrises have been a delight to see. 

Both the Ornamental Lake and the Cemetery Lake have been frozen to varying degrees for a large part of the week. The birds always seem to adapt well to a frozen environment, and it’s kind of fun to watch them skating around.

Alongside the frozen water, the early morning frost has been very pretty.

And of course on Friday we had our own little dusting of snow. Whilst we didn’t get quite as impressive a fall as some parts of Hampshire, Southampton Old Cemetery looked especially charming with a sprinkling of the white stuff. The clumps of snowdrops that I have been admiring for a while became, literally, drops in the snow.

Despite the ice and snow though, there has been plenty of sunshine and no lack of blue skies this week.

All in all, another week when Southampton Common has been a beautiful place to take a purposeless winter stroll.