Storms and sunshine on Southampton Common

It’s been a stormy end to November, and only the most determined of  the autumn leaves are still hanging on.

I have spent an awful lot of time this week sheltering in the woodlands, walking through slightly soggy leaves, pausing to admire the fungi, and reminding myself how much we need all this rain to keep the land green and pleasant. 

Although it seems as if the week has been pretty damp, there have been plenty of beautiful moments: a misty morning …

A couple of lovely early starts at the Ornamental Lake…


and the meeting  of clouds and sunshine is always a delight to watch

Apart from the wild weather, this weeks events include  the Boating Lake being drained, meaning  that  those who had taken up residence there have had to find alternative accommodation. The cygnets have been safely relocated, and their parents have reluctantly accepted that it is time to return to the Ornamental Lake for winter. Of this I am very glad, as they add a photogenic touch to early morning winter photos. 

For the ex-Boating Lake dwellers who want to remain on the Common, the alternative to  the Ornamental Lake is the Cemetery Lake, and the established residents there have had to make room for a few new arrivals too.

All in all, despite the rather inclement weather, it’s been another week when I have been glad to be able to spend a few hours wandering the Common, doing nothing remotely useful, but enjoying doing it!

Changing seasons on Southampton Common

This week has included a fair bit of cloud and rain, which always makes me enjoy the woodland areas of the Common, with their generous shelter and, at this time of year, pleasingly crunchy leaves to kick my way through (will I ever grow out of kicking leaves? I guess not) .

I haven’t been the only one playing with the leaves this week though. The birds on the Boating Lake have been swimming in leaves, and the little grebes have taken to wearing them

Speaking of the Boating Lake, the swans have been starting the process of moving back to the Ornamental Lake, and I can no longer predict who I will find where. One morning I found a solitary cygnet on the Boating Lake, squeaking dismally, having missed the morning flying lesson. I discovered his parents and sibling swanning around on the Ornamental Lake, reminding the ducks and gulls of whom they perceive to be in charge.  The next day, the father and two cygnets were on the Boating Lake, whilst the mother enjoyed a bit of well-earned peace and quiet on the Ornamental Lake. 

On the other side of the Common, at the Cemetery Lake, the shoveler ducks deigned to come almost close enough to the edge of the water for me to try to get a decent shot of them, whilst the tufted ducks looked disapprovingly on and the gulls remained pristine, despite the muddy surroundings.

Despite the colder weather this week, a few tiny fungi are still popping up, and although some of the trees have entirely lost their leaves, others are still in full autumn glory. You never know what season it will be as you turn a corner at this time of year.

But on Thursday, there was no doubt that winter was on the way, and it was a beautiful sight. The Ornamental Lake was laced with the first ice of the season, one of the swans was visiting, and the golden sunlight was just breaking through a vey slightly hazy sky. I never really feel able to welcome winter, but when it looks like this I just have to find my chunkiest jumper, pull on an extra pair of gloves, and love every cold minute of it.

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More autumn treats on Southampton Common

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It’s been another week of autumn glory on Southampton Common, leaves to crunch through, leaves to look up to and leaves fluttering onto me. The trees change every day at this time of year: one morning adorned in golden glory, the next protected by a barrier of fallen foliage. On some corners of the Common autumn is nearly over, and the trees are wintry and naked, but elsewhere it’s just beginning, with the leaves just beginning to turn.
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The Old Cemetery is a great place to go leaf walking
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Not to be outdone, the swans on the Boating Lake have been busy this week, taking longer flights with the two remaining cygnets, encouraging their independence, most likely in the hope that they will soon find territories of their own to fly to.
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I can’t ignore the fungi at this time of year: tiny mushrooms popping up everywhere, but especially in the woodland areas of the Common.
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Summer has to be my favourite season, because it’s often warm, but every year autumn tries very hard to outdo it!
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Two weeks of wandering on Southampton Common

 

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JHT_0019JHT_0019_1This is a bumper report on my wanderings on Southampton Common: I was engaged a different kind of wandering most of last week as it was half term.
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It’s been two weeks of what autumn does best: a bit of every kind of weather, and lots of beautiful things to see. Beautiful, crisp sunny days, interspersed with cloudy or misty starts.

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JHT_0240JHT_0240_4There have been frosty mornings, when I could see my breath (and the swans’ breath too!), and the fallen leaves crunched beneath my feet.

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JHT_0239JHT_0239In the woodlands, there are plenty of tiny fungi, which either provide me with the perfect excuse to dodge the rain or draw me in to admire them as they dance in the sunshine.

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JHT_0889The autumn is just beginning to achieve its full glory on the Common, and my meandering strolls are taking longer and longer as I pause more and more frequently to admire the golden colours.

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At the Boating Lake, the cygnets are busy perfecting their flying skills under their parents’ tutelage, and it wont be long before they have all found new homes I guess. (I am reliably informed that cygnet number three, who has been missing for a week or so, is safely ensconced in a  new residence.)

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JHT_0472JHT_0472_1The tufted ducks are back in force, looking disapprovingly at me, and there are still some little grebes on the Boating Lake, blending in with the autumn colours.

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So, it’s mostly the gloves on time of year now, but the Common is as beautiful as ever and I have a feeling it might get even more stunning over the next couple of weeks.

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Mostly mushrooms on Southampton Common

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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)!
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The week began with more of those beautiful misty mornings, accompanied by rays of golden light.
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However, by Thursday the clouds had rolled in, and it was time for waterproofs.
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So, I finished the week enjoying the generous cover of the Common’s trees, in search of comforting fungi.
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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!
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Misty rays on Southampton Common

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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!)

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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.

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

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

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

 

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DSC_0172DSC_0172_3mist rising eerily across the ponds and fields…

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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.

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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.

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DSC_0148DSC_0148_2I am loving this time of beautiful transition.

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