Rays, fungi and a few dragonflies on Southampton Common

It’s been a beautiful couple of weeks (in between the rain) on Southampton Common with misty mornings and spider webs reminding me of the approach of Halloween.

The morning mist can be almost magical, especially when it’s followed by an amazing show of rays of light.

The autumn colours are slowly breaking through and in the next week I think there’s going to be an explosion of autumn beauty on Southampton Common.

My biggest treat on Southampton Common at the moment though is the fungi: they really are amazing this year ( I expect that I said that last year too!) Be careful where you tread, because I have found some absolute beauties along the paths as well as in the woodlands, by the lakes, and … just about everywhere!

Despite all this autumnal focus, during some of the beautifully sunny moments the dragonflies have still be playing around the Ornamental lake. Fungi, rays and dragonflies all in one day. How much better can life be?

I think this will be the last post on this site, but I will still be wandering Southampton Common, posting my adventures on Instagram, and maybe creating a new site if I can persuade my teenage son that this stuff is more important than his personal engineering projects and the occasional encounter with a smidgin of homework. So please do say hi if you come across me grovelling around in the mud, muttering to myself when I discover something interesting, or exclaiming aloud to no-one in particular when I see something beautiful. On reflection, maybe you won’t feel it’s advisable to come close enough to say hi, but do wave at me from a safe distance 🙂

Summer in the heather on Southampton Common

It’s been another two weeks of mostly insect weather on Southampton Common, and I’ve been enjoying a few opportunities to wander, often close to the heather, which is a favourite location for me to meet my tiny winged friends.

My time on the Common has been quite butterfly heavy, but a close second place goes to the bees. They are a delight to watch, even, or maybe especially, when they are bedraggled in early morning dew. The dragonflies have been a bit sparse on the Common this year I think, probably because of the problems at the Boating Lake, but one or two have sat still for long enough for me to enjoy their company this week.

Despite all the lovely insects, it’s not been all sunshine these past two weeks. I’ve spent a bit of time sheltering under the trees on Southampton Common, and the acorns are already on the trees, reminding me that Autumn is just around the corner. But for now, it’s a beautiful bank holiday weekend, and I am loving summer on Southampton Common.

Before I go, a quick swan update following the blue green algae on the Boating Lake incident: the male swan was collected by the RSPCA just over a week ago, to check on his health. He is fine and has been released at another location. He may well find a new mate and return, so look out for incoming swans! The second cygnet is doing fine and will be released once they are big enough to manage.

Spring life on Southampton Common

Southampton Common has been full of life this week: there are ducklings of various ages flitting around on the Ornamental Lake, including the very grown up looking first two of the year, a second family with two remaining and a third group of about six. There may well be more by now! There are also three or so Little Grebes up on the Boating Lake, although they are, so far, too quick and mid-pond for me to photograph!

The coot chicks are also growing up, darting in and out of the reeds with their parents, but easily traceable by their distinctive squeak, bright red bald heads and fuzzy facial hair. The moorhen chicks remain quite well hidden, but I have glimpsed their long legged, big-footed presence a few times.

For me, a real delight is seeing the return of the insects, because they give me the chance to waste hours trying to get a focused shot of a tiny thing waving around in the breeze on a delicate flower or leaf. There are plenty of damselflies around, and I saw my first two dragonflies of 2019 this week, Broad Bodied Chasers, at the north end of the Ornamental Lake.

Away from the water, Southampton Old Cemetery is a great place to meet insects : all the flowers and blossom are a real at attraction for the bees, butterflies and bugs.

Amidst all the fluffy babies, and elusive but beautiful insects, we are still waiting for the cygnets to arrive. The swans are still siting patiently on the nest, and patrolling the lake … any day now we might see a little grey head appear …

Meantime, I will be wandering here and there, aimlessly losing myself in contemplation of disappearing insects!

More autumn treats on Southampton Common

JHT_0121JHT_0121_1

JHT_0006JHT_0006
JHT_0049JHT_0049_2
JHT_0460JHT_0460_1
JHT_0719JHT_0719_3
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.
JHT_0057JHT_0057_2
JHT_0149JHT_0149_1
JHT_0161JHT_0161_2
JHT_0912JHT_0912_3
JHT_0166JHT_0166
JHT_0169JHT_0169_2
JHT_0222JHT_0222
JHT_0233JHT_0233_2
JHT_0239JHT_0239_4
JHT_0260JHT_0260_1
JHT_0276JHT_0276_1
JHT_0281JHT_0281_2
JHT_0342JHT_0342_2
JHT_0366JHT_0366_3
JHT_0492JHT_0492_1
JHT_0575JHT_0575_1
JHT_0613JHT_0613_3
JHT_0637JHT_0637_2
JHT_0693JHT_0693
JHT_0784JHT_0784_1
The Old Cemetery is a great place to go leaf walking
JHT_0563JHT_0563_1
JHT_0199JHT_0199_1
JHT_0547JHT_0547_2
JHT_0167JHT_0167_2
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.
JHT_0428JHT_0428_1
JHT_0481JHT_0481
JHT_0422JHT_0422_1
JHT_0424JHT_0424
JHT_0448JHT_0448
JHT_0471JHT_0471_1
JHT_0475JHT_0475
JHT_0470JHT_0470_1
JHT_0900JHT_0900_2
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.
JHT_0137JHT_0137_2
JHT_0108JHT_0108_1


JHT_0246JHT_0246_2

JHT_0293JHT_0293_1



JHT_0374JHT_0374_1
JHT_0380JHT_0380_1

JHT_0443JHT_0443_1

JHT_0550JHT_0550_2
JHT_0647
Summer has to be my favourite season, because it’s often warm, but every year autumn tries very hard to outdo it!
JHT_0165JHT_0165_2
JHT_0424JHT_0424_2
JHT_0069JHT_0069

JHT_0084JHT_0084_2

JHT_0087JHT_0087

JHT_0109JHT_0109_2

JHT_0149JHT_0149_1
JHT_0896JHT_0896_1

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

 

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

 

 

Growing up on Southampton Common

 

DSC_0117DSC_0117_1To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0089DSC_0089To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link

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.

DSC_0805DSC_0805_1 2

 

DSC_0347DSC_0347_1To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0023DSC_0023_1To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

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.

DSC_0093DSC_0093_1To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link
DSC_0098DSC_0098_2To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0228DSC_0228To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0442To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0416DSC_0416To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link

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.

DSC_0241To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0111To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0066To purchase an unmarked copy this image, please click on this link

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.

DSC_0517To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_1001To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0991DSC_0991_1To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0278To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link

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.

DSC_0481DSC_0481_1To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0359DSC_0359To purchase an unmarked copy of this image, please click on this link
DSC_0521aTo purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link