Moths, An Unusual Pet

June 22, 2017

The Elephant Hawk Moth (from Wikipedia)

Peter Martin, President of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“Most people would regard butterflies as beautiful creatures, but some have an aversion to moths, either because they dislike the fluttering around nearby light sources or due to the holes created in their clothing by clothes-moth caterpillars. It may, therefore, surprise you to learn that one of my favourite pets has been a moth caterpillar.

The Elephant Hawk Moth (see above) lays its ‘whitish-green’ eggs on Willow Herb in June and I was lucky enough to find one of the resulting fully-grown caterpillars crawling across the earth one August looking for somewhere to pupate. They normally do this just below the level of the soil and, to make sure that my caterpillar would not be affected by anything within a sample that I scooped up, I sterilised a small amount before putting it into a container with the caterpillar. As expected, it burrowed into the earth and, through the glass I could see when it had pupated.

If you look at an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar (see below), you will probably think that it is one of the ugliest of creatures, although very aptly named. I had to wait patiently until the following June for the moth to emerge from the chrysalis, but what a beautiful sight was in store for me. The difference between the moth and the caterpillar was like “beauty and the beast”.

The Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar (from Wikipedia)

Having run a moth trap during some summer nights, I have had the opportunity to see that all moths are not as dowdy as some people would think.   Before letting them go, there is a chance to look at them closely and even the wings of the tiniest moths often have really beautiful colour patterns when seen through a magnifying glass or microscope.”

Ed. Related articles by Peter Martin that may also be of interest include:


Come See Oswald The Octopus

June 14, 2017

Oswald The Octopus Preparing for the Big Day

Fleet Pond Society (FPS) has a strong tradition of contributing imaginative floats to the ever-popular Fleet Carnival. Currently the FPS team is busy preparing our entry for this year’s Grand Procession which will be held on Saturday 1st July (full details here).

Why not keep an eye out for Oswald (pictured above) who will be making a guest appearance 🙂

The colourful FPS float going along the main street during the Grand Procession in 2016


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 11 June

June 7, 2017

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:

“Our last task for the current season will be one last attack on birch scrub up on the Dry Heath by the car park. After that, two months “rest” and we will start again Sunday 10th September.

For next Sunday we should not need wellies, just some strong footwear. If you feel you might need water, please bring your own and we will supply the usual warm drink mid-morning. Watch out for bramble which tends to trip the unwary and can tear clothing.”

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop.

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 together with members of Fleet Pond Society.


Wildlife Day at Fleet Pond, Sunday 4 June

May 20, 2017


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 14 May

May 10, 2017

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

This Sunday, Fleet Pond Ranger Nick Macfarlane is taking us back to the Dry Heath around the car park. The objective is some more birch clearance but the principal task is to ensure there is no overhanging vegetation along the car park edges or down the track from the car park to Boat House Corner.

Wildlife Day 4th June is fast approaching and stallholders cars will be allowed down the track. The idea is to ensure stallholders and visiting public do not scratch their cars or themselves on overhanging vegetation.

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop. Bring water if you need it but we will have our usual choice of warm beverages mid-morning.

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 together with members of Fleet Pond Society.


The 2017 FPS Photographic Competition: Beauty and the not so…

April 27, 2017

The theme for the 2017 Fleet Pond Society (FPS) Photographic Competition is:

‘Beauty and the not so…’

This year’s theme is a “warts and all” celebration of all aspects of Fleet Pond Nature Reserve from the beautiful to the still eye-catching but not so cute. This interesting theme leaves a lot to your imagination and interpretation!

The rules of the competition are:

  • Entry is open to all amateur photographers and there is no entry fee.
  • All photographs must have been taken at Fleet Pond Nature Reserve.
  • The taking of photographs using drones or aerial cameras is prohibited.
  • All entries must be received by 7th January 2018 (up to 4 photographs per person).

The “Photographer of the Year” will receive the annually awarded Rose Bowl, which was donated by Fleet Photographic.

Please note that all photographs may be used by FPS for any purpose it chooses.

Please send your entries by email to photocomp@fleetpond.org.uk

All photographs that are received will be acknowledged and the winners will be announced at the FPS AGM in February 2018.

To see the results of previous competitions, please take a look at the FPS web site (under the Photography tab at the top).

The winning entry for the 2016 FPS Photographic Competition by Rachel Jones. The theme was ‘Seasons’.


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 9 April

April 5, 2017

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

This Sunday we will be back on the Dry Heath, adjacent to the car park. This time nearer to Boat House Corner to tackle the numerous birch seedlings trying to take over the open heath as a birch woodland. Lots of digging and lazy dog action and some lopping to do. Please avoid any gorse thickets as our birds will now be busy at nest building.

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop. Bring water if you need it but we will have our usual choice of warm beverages mid-morning.

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 together with members of Fleet Pond Society.

PS In case you’re wondering what on earth a Lazy Dog is, it’s a tool used for getting out weeds or similar that have long roots and where simple pulling won’t work. There’s more information here. You live and learn!