It’s a festival of fungus on Southampton Common

It’s almost the time of year when I can, if I’m lucky, catch a quick sunrise on my way to work.

A few weeks back we were all noticing how low on water the lakes were, and that we needed some rain. Well, we sure have that now. The lakes on Southampton Common are nice and full, and there’s plenty of mud for me to clump around in. Happy days!

In between the much-needed-but-not-always-fully-appreciated-when-they-arrive downpours, there’s been some beautiful sunshine, and a few last dragonflies and butterflies for me to fruitlessly pursue.

Autumn is definitely here though, with the leaves starting to change colour, and the sun lower in the sky.

Best of all, with the rain, sunshine, and changing seasons I’ve been having a beautiful time with my tiny fungal friends over the last couple of weeks, kneeling in muddy leaves, enjoying their delicate company and returning home even more dishevelled than usual.

The season of pretty webs is also here, with their amazing but sometimes less popular occupants.

It looks as if next week might bring a bit more rain and mud, so I’ll most likely be found sheltering in the undergrowth, chatting to the mushrooms, and scaring innocent passers by when I spring up abruptly from my undignified pose.

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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The Fungal Season

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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