The Building Of Grays Bridge

July 2, 2015

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The bridge building team, half-way through the task

David Pottinger writes:

Here are some photos and a short video of the (secretive) building of Grays Bridge – you can read about it’s interesting background here.

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Putting a bridge together is trickier than you might think!

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Some of the wildlife spotted along the way

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Making sure the temporary bridge was up to the job!

Phill Gower, who was a member of the team, has produced an interesting time-lapsed video of the bridge building activity, where the three days of work are compressed into just over a minute!

Please click on the arrow to play

This video can also be seen on the Fleet Pond Society Photo Group on Flickr, see here.

The above photos were kindly provided by Geoff Dee.


Fleet Pond Wildlife Day 2015

June 23, 2015

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Having a go at identifying the fish typically found in Fleet Pond!

To give a flavour of the event, here is a selection of photos that I took at the Wildlife Day held at Fleet Pond on Saturday 30 May this year.

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Members of Fleet Pond Society explaining the wide variety of tasks that we carry out at the Pond

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Tasty refreshments provided by the Chieftain Explorer Scouts

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Fun and games for the children

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An  overview of some of the attractions – it was a really nice day too!

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Traditional ice cream was on hand…

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An interesting day out for the family

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The stall of Blackwater Valley Countryside

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An open air demonstration of some basic First Aid

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Advertising a forthcoming event…

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The fish tank attracted a lot of attention (see also picture at top above)

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Making sure everything is under control

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Bird watching and info on one of the jetties (RSPB)

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Pond dipping at the platform

The original poster for the event can be found here.

Photo credits: David Pottinger.


Beavers Pay A Visit To The Pond

June 11, 2015

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Above and below are a selection of photos taken when the Hawk Moth Beavers, of the 100th Elvetham Heath Scout Group, visited Fleet Pond last month.

Information on Scouting and the different sections of the above Scout Group can be found on their website here, including:

Scouting is run by volunteers, and all of those involved in the 100th Elvetham Heath Scout Group give their time and skills to make Scouting happen. We always need leaders, assistants and parent helpers to make the evenings possible for the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, but other volunteers are also necessary.

If you have a skill, trade or hobby and could spare some time, please let us know.

Many thanks to the Beavers for supplying the photos.

This event provides a good example of one of the many ways that Fleet Pond Society (FPS) helps in raising awareness and appreciation of Fleet Pond Nature Reserve.

If you would like to join FPS, and in so doing help support us in our numerous voluntary activities, please see here.

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Volunteer Event This Sunday, 14 June

June 10, 2015

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

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“Ranger Rachel has set the task for Sunday as a Bamboo Bash along the Brookly Stream. Some of you will need wellington boots but access via dry land is available for the less adventurous volunteers.”

For further information and booking (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 Golden Gray Bridge

June 5, 2015

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Colin and Mavis Gray, after opening the new bridge

Cathy Holden writes:

Colin and Mavis Gray, of the Fleet Pond Society, came back from their holiday to a huge surprise recently. In recognition of their thirty year involvement with the Fleet Pond Nature Reserve and their forthcoming Golden Wedding anniversary, their colleagues on the Executive Committee decided to install a new bridge in their honour.

The mission took a lot of planning in order to keep it a complete secret from Colin and Mavis. While they were on a weeks’ holiday, the ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ volunteer team, under Project Manager Terry Austin, Vice Chairman of the Fleet Pond Society, moved in to construct the new bridge over the stream at Fugelmere Road.

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The plaque on the new bridge (click to expand)

Phill Gower, of local firm Cove Industries, constructed the framework for the bridge, and worked alongside the Fleet Pond Society team to help install it.

A surprised Colin said:

“Mavis and I feel very honoured to have a bridge named for us in celebration of our Golden Wedding Anniversary and as a thank you for our work for the Pond and our other community work. It was a totally unexpected surprise. We do not feel we deserve such a high tribute but it is heart-warming to find that our friends and colleagues feel we do.

Everyone involved kept it a very close secret, a remarkable feat in itself given how many took part in the planning and construction!”

Photo credits: Cathy Holden.

Ed. I will be publishing a series of photos on the construction of the bridge, which was very interesting in it’s own right, in a future article.


Fleet Pond Wildlife Day This Coming Saturday

May 28, 2015

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Why not come along to the Wildlife Day at Fleet Pond this Saturday? There’s lots to see and do, for adults and children alike, and all in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

Still undecided? Well, to get a flavour of the day, take a look at the photos taken from last year, see here. There’s more going on than you might imagine!

Fleet Pond Society (FPS) will have a tent and stall there, so if you’d like to talk to us about what we do or perhaps how you could get involved (we’re always looking for new volunteers), do call in and have a chat – you’d be most welcome!


A Photography Session At Fleet Pond

May 22, 2015

David Pottinger writes:

Liza Toth is a very talented local amateur photographer and has taken some very impressive shots at the Pond. You can see samples of her work here and here (see also the picture at the bottom of this article).

I thought it would be interesting to get Liza to talk through one of her photography sessions and here’s the result. Liza writes:

“Ideally, I like to be out before dawn, for the best pictures. One of the advantages of winter is that this is not such a great hardship, but getting out before dawn is a challenge as the days lengthen.

Accordingly, I was out in the late morning today, which means that the sun was too bright and the photography was more difficult.

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Of course, a compensating advantage of spring is that the babies arrive, usually starting with ducks and goslings, followed by cygnets.

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When I arrived at the Pond, mama duck was sleeping on the jetty, but the ducklings were quick to pounce on the duck and swan pellets that I tossed in the water. (It is only fair to pay for the photo session with a decent currency: pellets, not bread, which is bad for the birds and attracts rats!).

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I try to feed the birds carefully so that the swans do not kill the ducks: I make sure to put plenty of food out for the swans where they are congregating, as far away from the baby ducks as possible. While they are eating, I throw pellets to the baby ducks in a separate area, luring them far from the swans.

At one point, the ducklings walked onto the jetty and I fed them there. Here is a picture of them on their walk.

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During the course of the morning, other photographers also came out to the Pond. The baby ducks were getting all the attention, and the swans seemed a little put out.

After a while, a “new” swan appeared, being returned to the Pond by the Swan Lifeline Animal Rescue Service in Eton (their number is 01753 859397 if you ever see a swan in need of help).

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This particular swan had been at the wrong end of a fight with another swan, and was glad to be home. He celebrated by flying around the Pond several times.

Every month, I aim for at least one calendar-worthy picture of Fleet Pond. Last year, I sold a few Fleet Pond calendars and donated the profits to the Fleet Pond Society.

This will probably be the April picture for the 2016 calendar, one of the final shots of my photo session today (see below).”

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Many thanks to Liza for giving us some insights into how she goes about getting her pictures!

For completeness, here’s the shot that was the People’s Choice Winner at the FPS Photography Competition for 2014:

FPS Photo Comp 2014 Liza Toth

Photo credits: Liza Toth (please note that all the above photos have been reduced in size for publishing on the blog).


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