Sunrises, icy days and goosanders on Southampton Common.

This week has been a good one for early mornings at the Ornamental Lake. Monday was particularly lovely, but Thursday and Friday gave it a good run for it’s money, with Friday throwing in a foreground of ice to finish the week  off in style.

If the sunrises weren’t enough to keep me happy, the Ornamental Lake has been looking beautiful in the sunshine.

A very pleasing recent addition to the Ornamental lake is that the goosanders are becoming a part of the seasonal Common Family. They are beautiful creatures, however they do like to swim just out of camera range, so I was mighty happy when they finally came a little closer to the lakeside path whilst I was there this week. I was a lot less happy when I saw the beautiful Ms. Goosander diving to retrieve, not a shimmering fish, but a black plastic bag. This is not what the goosanders want to eat, and seeing a beautiful bird with an ugly piece of rubbish in her beak makes me uncharacteristically angry.


This is not what Ms. Goosander wants to eat

When I have not been exclaiming over sunrises, or tutting at poor Ms. Goosander catching plastic waste, I have been on the wander in Southampton Old Cemetery, finding interesting shelter during rainy moments, and  delighting in snowdrops. 

They say it is going to get colder now, and on Friday the Ornamental Lake was frozen again.  

So, we shall see what next week brings. I am sure I will find things to amuse myself with, whatever the weather, but I would be very happy indeed if all the litter was put into a bin, or taken away from the Common, so that Ms. Goosander can get back to catching fish.

Christmas time on Southampton Common

It’s been another beautiful week on Southampton Common, and Southampton Old Cemetery has become more lovely than ever, thanks to the seasonal decorations that adorn some of the branches there. 

The week began with a delightfully eerie mist hanging somewhere between the ground and the sky, loitering unexpectedly around corners and enveloping parts of the Common whilst seemingly ignoring others. 

Over the Ornamental Pond, a new seat has been put in place, in memory of Amrik Singh Rai. The seat is positioned at the end of the lake, and I’m sure it will be very well used and much appreciated.  I myself have my eye on appreciating it very much, especially in the summer. What a lovely and thoughtful memorial.   

This week, there has been plenty to see at the lakes, with the swans preening in the sunshine, and patrolling their territory against interlopers.  As I wandered between ponds, I was lucky enough to see a bullfinch brightening up one of the bushes. Even more luckily, he sat still long enough for me to get a photo. 

I never need much persuading to spend time at the Ornamental Lake, and this week, between the lake and the top field, the morning sky has given me plenty opportunity  to push my cycling to the station time to the limits. 

As well as the beautiful Christmas decorations in the Old Cemetery, nature has been putting out  a few of her very own baubles this week: in between the sunshine and mist it’s been a little bit damp around the edges, which has given me the chance to practice taking photos of raindrops. 

So, with those seasonal sparkles, thanks very much for stopping by and viewing this blog. Wishing you all a very happy Christmas. xxx

Ice, rain and sun on Southampton Common

Variety is, they say, the spice of life, and Southampton Common has seen plenty of it this week. There have been cloudy days, beautiful sunshine, icy starts, and a day of wall-to-wall rain. Where would we be without the weather to observe and discuss?

Whatever the weather, there is always plenty of activity on the water on Southampton Common, with the swans on the Ornamental Lake having re-staked their claim, and the other birds organising the pecking order for winter. 

One of the many benefits of winter is the opportunity that it offers to see a bit of colour in the sky without getting up at an unsociable hour. With the Common on my (extended) route to work, this time of year is perfect for a not excessively early morning photo opportunity.

However, some of early mornings have been quite chilly, and on Friday the edges of the Ornamental Lake were frozen. Beautiful for me to see, but maybe not is much fun for the residents of the lake.

So, despite ending on a rather soggy note, it’s been another week when Southampton Common, and its residents,  have delighted me. 

Golden light and rainy days on Southampton Common

It’s been another of those weeks of all seasons on Southampton Common, and I have been very glad that the swans are back on the Ornamental Lake to  provide some morning and evening photo opportunities.


Tuesday was one of those sunny, misty days that make winter worthwhile, with a thin shimmer of morning frost and a lot of golden light. 

There have, however, also been some rather wilder times this week, when both the Common and I have felt a little windswept. 

Those have been my moments to head into the shelter and get grubby, because all this damp-but-quite-mild-really weather means that the fungi are still going strong. 

On most days, though, there has been beautiful moments, often in the early evening (the time known as mid afternoon when it’s summer), and the Ornamental Pond has taken on a golden sheen.

So it’s the end of another week of wandering, with my boots getting muddier, and my layers of clothing getting more numerous, by the day. But Southampton Common remains, as ever, a beautiful place to waste some time doing nothing particularly constructive or useful in the build up to Christmas.

Growing up on Southampton Common

 

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Last week’s mini heatwave is over and the weather has been a little less glorious over the past few days. On Friday I had to give in and return to wearing my winter coat and gloves and carrying my trusty flask. However, the Common is still beautiful, if a tad muddy once more, and there was enough sunshine for a few butterflies to be out and about on Thursday when I was wandering in the Old Cemetery.

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The main attraction and sadness for me though has been seeing the ducklings grow and go. By Tuesday their number was reduced to only four, but those four were undiminished in loveliness, although increasing in both size and defiance of danger each day, becoming more adventurous and starting to resemble mini ducks rather than tiny balls of fluff.

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Whilst the ducklings’ parents watch carefully over them the other residents of the ponds continue to be busy: preening, nest building and incubating their eggs.

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The swans on both the Cemetery Lake and Ornamental Pond are now on full time sitting duty. In between their shifts on the nest they are occupied with guard duty and collecting maintenance materials for their nests in the form of twigs, reeds, and the lace from one of my boots, which the male swan from the Ornamental Pond tried to remove the other morning. Luckily for me (and him) he was unsuccessful.

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So, despite the temperature falling back into single figures, spring is still very much in evidence on Southampton Common and the forecast says that there might be a little bit of warmer weather on the way. In the meantime though, I have my big coat and gloves ready for tomorrow morning.

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