Autumn rain on Southampton Common

This week it’s been feeling and looking a lot like autumn. Although the dragonflies are still whizzing around the lakes during sunny spells, there’s been lots of the much needed rain in between the sunshine, and it’s feeling a whole lot like autumn.

In Southampton Old Cemetery, the autumn colours are starting to appear. The berries are out, and although I have been looking wistfully at the places where I spent many sunny summer hours with butterflies and bees, it’s all looking very beautiful.

It’s also the time of year for horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts, acorns and fungi, and the much needed rain is easier to appreciate under the shelter of the extensive woodland on Southampton Common. Cue an increase in sightings of a strange old woman crouching in the undergrowth.

The spiders’ webs are starting to be interesting again, covered in raindrops or early morning dew (although this week they’ve been waving in the breeze a bit too much for photography purposes).

The ponds are finally filling up after a long dry summer, and with the dragonfly and butterfly numbers reducing, I’ve taken to visiting the slightly larger winged creatures. As you can see, the pigeons at the Cemetery Lake were loving the weather this week!

All in all, despite the wind and rain, over the next few weeks I’m looking toward to more lovely autumn colours appearing, kicking my way through fallen leaves (how can one ever grow out of doing that?) and crawling around in dark places looking for fungi.

September sun on Southampton Common

Just when I thought it was time to say a sad farewell for a few months to my tiny winged friends, the last couple of weeks have been a treat of sunshine and insects. I have been in butterfly, bee, and dragonfly heaven.

I have been absolutely spoiled for butterflies these past two weeks: fluttering through the air, enjoying the last of the buddleias, sampling blackberries, and swaying on the tops of the last few meadow flowers.

The dragonflies have also been putting on a great flying display around the lakes, interspersed with posing on reeds, blackberries, and sometimes hanging around in thorny areas. There have been a few hovering over the beleaguered Boating Lake too, which is a good sign that things are improving there.

The bees have also been their typical busy selves.

But despite all this, autumn is clearly on the way: the trees are beginning their transition to golden leaf loss, the acorns and chestnuts are plentiful, the berries are brightening, and there are a few fungi popping their heads up. I think there might be more of those next week, after the rain we’re having today.

Today we have plenty of much needed rain, and the forecast tells me that next week is going to be a lot less like summer. I feel like I can be ready for autumn now though, after such a fantastic couple of weeks of insect company, although I will miss my beautiful sunny day friends.