Mostly mushrooms on Southampton Common

DSC_0361DSC_0361_2

DSC_0280DSC_0280It’s been another busy week on the autumn weather roller coaster. There’s never a boring moment when you don’t know what the weather will bring next, and have to transport the full range of clothing options in your backpack ( and a heavy backpack is great for keeping me on the ground in the windy weather we’ve been experiencing this weekend)!
DSC_0089DSC_0089_6
DSC_0113DSC_0113
DSC_0165DSC_0165_1
The week began with more of those beautiful misty mornings, accompanied by rays of golden light.
IMG_3133
DSC_0218DSC_0218_1
DSC_0374DSC_0374_1
However, by Thursday the clouds had rolled in, and it was time for waterproofs.
DSC_0005DSC_0005
DSC_0001DSC_0001
DSC_0027DSC_0027_1
So, I finished the week enjoying the generous cover of the Common’s trees, in search of comforting fungi.
DSC_0512DSC_0512_1
DSC_0223DSC_0223
DSC_0195DSC_0195_2
DSC_0440DSC_0440

DSC_0631DSC_0631_2

DSC_0417DSC_0417_1

DSC_0380DSC_0380

DSC_0223DSC_0223

DSC_0057DSC_0057

DSC_0183DSC_0183_1The weather has been perfect for these little beauties, and hopefully in the week to come there will be plenty more for me to exclaim over. Although I’d be more than happy to accept some more of those golden rays and misty starts too!
DSC_0147

DSC_0346DSC_0346_2

 

Misty rays on Southampton Common

DSC_0374DSC_0374_4
DSC_0438DSC_0438_3It’s been another beautiful week on Southampton Common. There have been some amazing starts to the day, when I have seen friends emerging to greet me through rays of golden light (and people who are less delighted to see me moving urgently in the opposite direction!)

DSC_0544DSC_0544_2

DSC_0370DSC_0370_2

DSC_0404DSC_0404_3

DSC_0412DSC_0412

DSC_0377DSC_0377

DSC_0354DSC_0354_2On other mornings those who were trying to avoid me  won, with the mist concealing anything beyond the very immediate vicinity, clinging around the trees, making them simultaneously eerie and beautiful.

DSC_0155DSC_0155_2DSC_0059DSC_0059_4

DSC_0113DSC_0113_1DSC_0172DSC_0172_3

DSC_0065DSC_0065_3The morning mist is one of Autumn’s great treats, draping everything in mystery and highlighting amazing spiders’ webs.

DSC_0341DSC_0341

DSC_0150DSC_0150_1

DSC_0310DSC_0310

DSC_0158DSC_0158 When it has been a bit damp out in the open I have retreated into the undergrowth to inspect the fungi. This has made me glad, as ever, of the extensive tree cover provided for those who wander in all weathers. And of the luxury of a warm home to return to with my soggy boots.

 

 

 

DSC_0075
DSC_0032
DSC_0007DSC_0007
DSC_0502DSC_0502

DSC_0494DSC_0494_3

DSC_0006DSC_0006_1

DSC_0049DSC_0049

DSC_0038DSC_0038_1All in all, it’s been another wonderfully varied week on the Common, and I have been very happy to start many of my days here.

 

 

DSC_0394DSC_0394

 

DSC_0065DSC_0065_2

DSC_0507DSC_0507_1

DSC_0016DSC_0016

Beautiful transitions on Southampton Common

 

 

DSC_0493DSC_0493What a beautiful week it’s been on Southampton Common! The late September sunshine accompanied by bugs, butterflies, and bees and dragonflies has made me very happy indeed.

DSC_0326DSC_0326_1

DSC_0019DSC_0019_2

DSC_0316DSC_0316_2

DSC_0713DSC_0713_2

DSC_0910DSC_0910_1

DSC_0265DSC_0265_1

DSC_0692DSC_0692_2

DSC_0502DSC_0502

DSC_0720DSC_0720_2However, there was more than just that to delight me: spectacular crepuscular rays playing around the corners of the Common….

 

DSC_0210DSC_0210_1

DSC_0169DSC_0169_2

DSC_0259DSC_0259_2

DSC_0225DSC_0225

DSC_0172DSC_0172_3mist rising eerily across the ponds and fields…

DSC_0004DSC_0004

DSC_0122DSC_0122

DSC_0018DSC_0018

DSC_0121DSC_0121

DSC_0221DSC_0221spiders webs glistening in the morning light. The Common was a big chunk of heaven this week and I was lucky enough to be there.

DSC_0026DSC_0026_2

DSC_0065DSC_0065_1

DSC_0134DSC_0134_1Even with all this summery weather, though, autumn has been in the background, reminding me that it is about to take over. The trees are slowly losing their leaves, fungi are popping up everywhere and plump sweet chestnuts tempt me to pick them up and photograph them, until I remember how sharp their cases are.

DSC_0124

DSC_0200DSC_0200_2

DSC_0135DSC_0135

DSC_0263DSC_0263_1

DSC_0152DSC_0152_2

DSC_0148DSC_0148_2I am loving this time of beautiful transition.

DSC_0761DSC_0761_1

DSC_0093DSC_0093

 

DSC_0288DSC_0288_1DSC_0168DSC_0168

DSC_0179DSC_0179_4

 

 

 

 

 

The Fungal Season

DSC_0040DSC_0040_6

DSC_0019DSC_0019_3

It’s been a week of all the weathers, and although there have been some gloriously sunny interludes, I have been mighty glad of the sheltering presence of the tress on Southampton Common. You are never far from leafy cover on the Common, and I am constantly amazed by my ability to discover new pathways or woodlands.

DSC_0037DSC_0037

DSC_0085DSC_0085_1

The Cemetery Lake has a rather welcoming tree near the water’s edge, and is slightly more sheltered from the wind than the Boating Lake. As a result, I have spent some quality time with the swans and gulls over on that side of the Common this week, and rather neglected the other two ponds (although I did se a rather pleasing cloud arrival over the Boating Lake one morning).

DSC_0505DSC_0505

DSC_0546DSC_0546

DSC_0129DSC_0129

DSC_0032DSC_0032

One major advantage of being driven into the woodlands by the damp weather is that the season of fungus is upon us. This is the time year when I set off from home looking like a semi–responsible citizen, and return with branches in my hair and mud encrusted debris on my clothes, having spend a happy half hour or two kneeling in the squelchy undergrowth photographing the tiny but transient delights of fungi. Every little mushroom is different, and I am prone to exclaiming with joy when I find something particularly pleasing. People like me, who wander wild haired, chatting to themselves with beaming animation, are one of the reasons why some individuals are fearful of being alone in woodland.

DSC_0414DSC_0414_1

DSC_0111

DSC_0219DSC_0219_1

DSC_0039DSC_0039_3

DSC_0137DSC_0137

DSC_0180

DSC_0191DSC_0191

DSC_0207DSC_0207

DSC_0111

DSC_0227DSC_0227_1

DSC_0464DSC_0464_1

Although there have been plenty of times when the clouds have rolled in this week, there have also been sunny hours, when the speckled woods and dragonflies have danced in the rays. During these moments I have been reminded that although I love the colours and tiny life of autumn, I am kind of sad  that the insect stalking months are drawing to a close.

DSC_0270DSC_0270

DSC_0380

DSC_0383DSC_0383

DSC_0056DSC_0056_7

DSC_0370DSC_0370_1

 

Beautiful Mornings on Southampton Common

DSC_0005DSC_0005This week has brought me a delicious taste of what I hope is to come over the next few months. After a cloudless night Thursday morning was a treasure of rising mist against a backdrop of shimmering on spider’s webs.  This is what I dream of in autumn and winter, and, as a bonus of the season, I don’t have to rise particularly early to enjoy it. Bring on those on-my-way-to-work sunrises and golden rays.

DSC_0067DSC_0067

DSC_0119DSC_0119

DSC_0180DSC_0180_1

 

Even on the less spectacular mornings there has been plenty to be happy about on the Common this week. The little grebes still have their fiercely protected nest, and are often seen fishing by the edge of the Boating Lake (how they do love to inhabit those shady areas out of the light!) There are a few tufted ducks back on the Common with two or three on the Boating Lake (although usually they seem to prefer the Cemetery Lake). Not to be outdone, the swan family have been posing quite nicely for pictures in the pale morning light.

DSC_0575DSC_0575_2

DSC_0554DSC_0554

DSC_0568DSC_0568

DSC_0434DSC_0434

DSC_1075DSC_1075_1

DSC_0181DSC_0181_4

DSC_0365DSC_0365_3

DSC_0434DSC_0434

DSC_0239DSC_0239_1

DSC_0099DSC_0099

DSC_0344DSC_0344_2

DSC_0692DSC_0692_2

Away from the ponds there are all the little signs that Autumn is easing it’s way in: a few ripe chestnuts that make me want to light a fire on which to roast them (but not under any circumstances on the Common, please), shiny conkers, acorns, and delicate fungi. All this is worth the dropping temperatures and sorting of gloves ready for winter (how is it that I have about eleven gloves but no matching pairs?)

DSC_0786

DSC_0997DSC_0997

DSC_0972DSC_0972

DSC_0116DSC_0116_2

 

DSC_0990

DSC_0228DSC_0228_1

Even better, despite all these autumn treats, summer is not yet gone: the trees are mostly fresh and green (and how lucky are we to have so many of them?) Sunny corners are still busy with speckled woods, and the bees are buzzing around any available flowers. This in between season really is ticking all my boxes!

DSC_0192DSC_0192

DSC_0159DSC_0159

DSC_0881DSC_0881_1

DSC_0518DSC_0518

DSC_0580DSC_0580_1

DSC_0584DSC_0584_1

DSC_0537DSC_0537_1

DSC_0213DSC_0213_2

 

 

Dragonfly days on Southampton Common

This week has been a lot about the dragonflies. Like me, they seem to be trying to squeeze everything possible out of the last few moments of summer. The pond-sides have been busy with the sound of their wings, and every now and then I have had to stop abruptly at the sight of a shimmering body on the path ahead of me. They regard me with their huge complex eyes, and promptly depart.

DSC_0549DSC_0549

DSC_0674DSC_0674_2

DSC_0466DSC_0466

DSC_0050DSC_0050

DSC_0585DSC_0585 copy

DSC_0225DSC_0225_1

DSC_0455DSC_0455_1

DSC_0530DSC_0530

 

Although the insect numbers are diminishing as the weather cools a little, there are still a good number of tiny creatures trying to avoid my lens: shieldbugs swinging on grass stalks, damselflies staring at me with their outsize eyes, holly blue butterflies on the heather, and speckled woods flitting around every sunny corner.

DSC_0116DSC_0116_2

DSC_0585DSC_0585_1

DSC_0066DSC_0066_1

DSC_0894DSC_0894_1

DSC_0927DSC_0927

DSC_0481DSC_0481_1

Another great delight for me this week has been watching the little grebes on the Boating Lake as they dive, and then emerge far away from their original point of entry with an ill-fated fish in their beaks. They require a fair bit of patience photography wise, as they seem to like to fish in places where the shadows are greatest and the light lowest. Just as I have them in sight they dive again, emerge in a sunny spot, look at me with mischief in their eyes, and dive back into the gloom.

DSC_0711DSC_0711

DSC_0809DSC_0809_3

A visit to the Boating Lake is never complete without a quick mention of the  cygnets: despite still having their grey juvenile colours they are taking on the elegant pose of mature swans now. It won’t be long until they are learning to fly and their parents are making plans to help them to move on.

DSC_0031DSC_0031_1

DSC_0124DSC_0124

DSC_0039DSC_0039_2

DSC_0268DSC_0268_1

In the background, autumn is slowly but steadily creeping across the Common: the mornings are cooler, and I have found a few conkers and numerous acorns lying around. What delightful photography subjects they are: you can pick them up and move them to a convenient environment where they stay still indefinitely. Although I am clinging on desperately to the last moments of summer, I am, in reality, ready to welcome the warm colours and crisp mornings of autumn.

DSC_0727DSC_0727_1

DSC_0824DSC_0824

DSC_0742DSC_0742_1

DSC_0851DSC_0851

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short but sweet visits to Southampton Common

DSC_0658DSC_0658

DSC_0047DSC_0047_1It’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.

DSC_0469

DSC_0054DSC_0054_1

DSC_0198The 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!)DSC_0607DSC_0607

DSC_0496DSC_0496

DSC_0556DSC_0556

DSC_0447DSC_0447_1However, 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.

DSC_0809DSC_0809_1

DSC_0049DSC_0049_1

DSC_0065

DSC_0659DSC_0659

DSC_0690DSC_0690_1

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.

DSC_0096DSC_0096_1