Goose Family Steps Out At The Pond

May 28, 2016

A family of Canada geese taking an early morning stroll on a reedbed at Fleet Pond, Hampshire.

Thanks to John Sutton of Clearwater Photography UK.


Wildlife Day at Fleet Pond, Sunday 5 June 2016

May 20, 2016

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Bluebells In Bloom

May 19, 2016

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In some previous posts, I’ve mentioned the bluebells at the Pond. The recent bout of sun and rain has allowed them to fully bloom – why not take a look?

Directions for finding them are here.

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The Great Nature Watch Campaign

May 18, 2016

As mentioned on the BBC Breakfast news yesterday, and from the Canal & River Trust:

Take a trip to your local canal, river, reservoir or lake and record what you see there. It’s a fun activity to do with the family and will help us to monitor and protect the wide variety of precious wildlife that the waterways are home to.

This year we’re calling on everyone to ‘Stop, Look and Listen’ to what’s happening around them, following our own survey results which show surprising gaps in people’s nature knowledge.

We’ve been working with with the renowned Wildlife Sound Recording Society to create a series of nature noises and challenge people to identify them as part of our Wildlife Ear and Eye Q test. Surveying toddlers to OAPs, the results showed that 25% of parents and 30% of children could not identify the sound a duck makes.

We also found that 23% of parents and nearly a third of children thought that ducks have yellow feathers, perhaps the result of children’s TV programmes such as Peppa Pig.

Findings also show that 76% of parents believe that they are less knowledgeable about nature than the previous generation with 68% of parents also believing that their children are less knowledgeable about nature than they were at their age.

When put to the test the gap in wildlife knowledge between parents and their children is actually surprisingly close, however the gap between grandparents and their adult children and grandchildren is much bigger.

They’ve developed free apps for Apple and Android smartphones to take part in their survey, details are here.

They also have a fun Ultimate Wildlife Sounds Quiz eg ‘Which naughty bird is mimicking a police car siren?’

Why not try a survey at Fleet Pond Nature Reserve?


Day Flying Moths

May 6, 2016

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Cinnabar Moth (credit: Wikipedia)

Peter Martin, President of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“Although moths are often thought of as dull and uninteresting, there are some moths that fly during the day and they are usually the more colourful ones. One of these, the Cinnabar Moth, was given its name by a Mr. M. Wilkes in 1773 because of its vermillion colouration.

In the field which borders Fleet Pond Nature Reserve, Ragwort plants can normally be found in June and July. The moth lays some 30 – 40 yellow eggs on the underside of the leaves and when the caterpillars emerge they can easily be spotted, as they are often in clusters and have very distinct bright orange and yellow black bands around their bodies. They are very voracious eaters and can totally consume the Ragwort plants.

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Flowering Ragwort with Cinnabar moth caterpillars (credit: Wikipedia)

Ragwort contains alkaloid poison and it can kill cattle and horses if consumed. At one time, the Cinnabar caterpillars were exported to Australia and New Zealand to eat the Ragwort plants there before they died and could be eaten by the animals. It is surprising that the poisons do not kill the caterpillars, but these are passed on to the moths as cyanide derivatives which deter birds from eating them.

The moths, which have greyish-black forewings with a vermillion line along the leading edges and two spots on the outer-edges, have hind wings that are all vermillion apart from a greyish-black border. If you are walking round the Pond between late May and July, do go into the part of the field nearest the Reserve and you may see these beautiful slow-flying moths or even the very showy caterpillars.


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 8 May

May 4, 2016

There will be a volunteer event at Fleet Pond this coming Sunday and all are welcome to attend (see below for registering).

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“The task for Sunday 8th May will be bank repairs along the Gelvert Stream. Some of you will need to wear wellies for this one, although bankside work will also be needed.

As usual please meet at the Countryside Workshop at 9.00 a.m. for a 9.15 a.m. start. If you come later, Guildford Road is probably your nearest access point. Straight ahead as you cross the bridge and turn left at the stream.”

For further information and booking for this event (which is essential as tools and resources have to be planned beforehand), please contact Hart Countryside Services:

Phone: 01252 623443
 Email: countryside@hart.gov.uk

The Sunday volunteer tasks are supervised by a Hart Countryside Ranger, Nick Macfarlane, together with members of Fleet Pond Society.


Bluebell Update

May 3, 2016

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The bluebell patch at the pond, mentioned in a previous post, has now come out – not quite a ‘sea of blue’ but rather nice anyway! Instructions for finding the area (you will not see it on a standard walk around the Pond) are here.

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It’s also interesting to compare and contrast the two bluebell varieties, the native ones (as above) and the so-called Spanish bluebells which are the ones often planted in domestic gardens. See here for some tips.

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