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.
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.
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.
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.
The Old Cemetery is a great place to go leaf walking
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.
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.
Summer has to be my favourite season, because it’s often warm, but every year autumn tries very hard to outdo it!
This 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.
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.
There have been frosty mornings, when I could see my breath (and the swans’ breath too!), and the fallen leaves crunched beneath my feet.
In 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.
The 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.
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.)
The 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.
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.
It’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)!
The week began with more of those beautiful misty mornings, accompanied by rays of golden light.
However, by Thursday the clouds had rolled in, and it was time for waterproofs.
So, I finished the week enjoying the generous cover of the Common’s trees, in search of comforting fungi.
The 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!
It’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!)
On 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.
The morning mist is one of Autumn’s great treats, draping everything in mystery and highlighting amazing spiders’ webs.
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.
All 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.
It’s the last week of the school summer holidays, which means that I have been slacking on visits to the Common because of the pressing need to acquire school clothing. (No point in buying this stuff early as my thirteen year old has grown a size over the summer: I am now dressed pretty much entirely in his cast offs, although I do draw the line at wearing his outgrown school uniform.) However, on my brief forays there has been plenty to see on the Common: the best of both seasons really: very definite signs of autumn, the cooler and darker mornings, rose hips, acorns, and the gentle start of the changing colours and fall of leaves.
The cygnets have grown more than a size over the summer: the three who remain on the Boating Lake are almost as big as their parents, but haven’t yet begun their flying lessons. Their mother and father often leave them to their own devices and spend quality time together: once they can fly well enough the youngsters will be gently (and then increasingly un-gently, as the male swan does like them to depart promptly), encouraged to leave home. Meantime, the little grebes have been trying to make a nest on the Boating Lake. I have been trying to photograph them, and they have been trying to avoid me (and succeeding!)
However, despite all the signs of autumn, there are still plenty of summer beauties around: bees, dragonflies, damselflies, and of course butterflies. The heather patches are a real favourite with the butterflies just now, and with me too as the purple and yellow are beautiful backdrops for photos.
It’s an exciting time of year: when I arrive on the Common I never know whether I will be drawn to a patch of autumnal fungi, or have the chance to get caught up in brambles pursing dragonflies. Even better, on Wednesday I will be getting new glasses, so I may even be able to see whatever it is I am trying to photograph.