Above: picture of Fleet Pond iced over!
Joanna Lawrence, the Fleet Pond Ranger, writes:
Winter may seem a rather quiet time in terms of wildlife sightings. Many of the invertebrates around in the summer have now disappeared, as have many of the wildflowers found around the Pond and the summer bird visitors who come to Britain every year. However, there can still be plenty to see at this time of year.
Fleet Pond has always been an excellent place for bird watching and during the winter is maybe the best time for it as without all the tree foliage the birds are much easier to spot! Many species flock together in winter, such as long-tailed tits, siskins, and redwings. Siskins often flock together with redpolls and these mixed flocks are commonly seen in the areas of wet woodland around the Pond where they feed on the seeds of alder and birch. In the early morning or late evenings you may hear the distinctive song of the song thrush or blackbird, and tree creepers and nuthatches can often be seen searching for food on tree trunks. Kingfishers can be seen around Hemelite Bay and up and down the steams that run in to the Pond. These birds are easy to spot by their bright blue plumage as they fly past.
In the early morning or around dusk, you may be lucky enough to catch sight of deer which often graze on the areas of heath or in quiet sections of woodland around the Pond.
Colourful fungi can be found nestled in leaf litter and around trees. Although most species come out in the autumn, some can still be found at this time of year. Some of the most interesting to look at are earth stars (see picture above) , fly agaric (see picture below), puffballs, and shaggy ink caps.
Picture credits: Joanna Lawrence