The Fish At Fleet Pond

August 24, 2010

As articles on fish and fishing are extremely popular on the blog, I’ve included a large number of photos in this post. They give an excellent impression of the fish demonstration activity that was part of the International Biodiversity Day that was held at the Pond earlier this year.

John Sutton, a Fisheries Team Leader at the Environment Agency, writes:

My colleague, Adrian Bicknell, and I were delighted that the Environment Agency’s Fisheries Team was asked to participate in the Biodiversity Day. It was a great opportunity to show visitors some examples of the Pond’s fish community.

The best way to do this is by holding a sample of fish in a mobile aquarium we mount on the back of a trailer. We captured specimens for the tank earlier that morning using electrofishing equipment – a technique we routinely use during our scientific surveys of fish populations. Our gear has been specially designed to minimise damage to fish in order that they can be returned to the river after we have collected data.

Please note that electrofishing equipment can only be used with the prior consent of the Agency.

Our catch on the day was made up of pike, carp, tench, roach, perch, rudd and bream. It was striking how many of the fish were found either in or on the edge of the reedbeds. Hardly surprising when you consider the range of fish eating birds! The lack of habitat diversity and refuge areas in the open water of the Pond is a continuing cause for concern and that’s why the Agency is a keen supporter of the project to improve water quality at the site.

It was great to have a constant stream of visitors interested  in our display. Many of the youngsters and the parents enquired about angling at the Pond. We were able to provide them with basic information and I very much hope they will come back with their rods – the fishing season started on 16 June.

If you want further information about the fish population of Fleet Pond or general queries about fisheries then please don’t hesitate to contact me:


Venturing Into The Brookly Wilderness

August 17, 2010

Cathy Holden writes:

The ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ team, an intrepid band of regular Friday morning conservation workers at the pond, chose to boldly go where no-one had boldly – or otherwise – gone for a very long time. The task was to clear the path running along the top end of the Brookly Stream, beyond the bridge.  As you can see from the photo below, it was a jungle out there!

Terry set-to with the strimmer while Geoff, Nick and Steve followed behind clearing the debris left in his wake.

Cathy and Mandy, suitably attired in waders, (no, there is no photo of us in the waders!) entered the stream itself at Brookly Bridge and carefully walked the path of the stream, clearing the overhanging branches, the odd dead pigeon and surprisingly a plastic false eye!  I say ‘carefully’ walked because it looks shallow, but has a tendency to hide pockets of mud to trap the wary wader. Eventually we all merged at the mouth of the stream, either in it, or on the bank and set-to trying to reach the dirty and unreadable gauge at the end of the path.

As this photo shows, it was all hands to the log to lay a path for Terry to get out and clean the mud from the gauge without him sinking up to his thighs.

This area of the pond is dangerous due to the very deep pockets of mud and silt which are easily seen in these photographs.  No-one should try to enter the pond at this point. You can see how shallow the water is by looking at these geese and swans.  However, do not be fooled, it may take their weight, but it will not take yours!

There used to be a grill across the Brookly Stream, almost at the mouth where it empties into the pond. The grill is no longer there, but in that area there was a real pile up of logs and stinking leaves. We cleared it all out so that the water could flow freely. The photo below looks back along the stream before the logs were cleared, they can just be seen in the distance in the centre of the stream.

After a good morning’s work the path and the stream were clear and we packed up and walked back along the newly cleared path.

This is the ‘after’ photo at the entrance to the path.

If you would like to join the ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’ team or would like further information, please look here.

Results Of The Christmas Card Competition For 2010

August 12, 2010

Vicki Jull writes:

It’s a well worn cliché that choosing the winners in a competition is extremely difficult, and finding five winners in the Fleet Pond Society Christmas Card Competition has been a real challenge!

The criteria was that the photographs had to be recognisably taken within the Fleet Pond nature reserve and that they would make pleasing Christmas cards (they are now ready for purchase, see below).

Thank you very much to all 18 entrants for their beautiful photographs.

The winners are (in no particular order):

Angela Whitby – From The Footpath

Natalie Elliott – Boathouse Corner

Auli McCall – Sandy Bay

Michelle Salter – Chestnut Grove

Louise Coughlin – East Marsh


These beautiful  Christmas cards are now available to buy at £3.00 for a pack of five scenes. Please email Vicki Jull for purchase details.

Guided Walk This Saturday – Invertebrates At The Pond

August 5, 2010

Saturday 7th August – Invertebrate Walk at Fleet Pond

Meet at 10.30am at Fleet Pond car park.

Join Ranger Joanna Lawrence for a hunt through Fleet Pond’s wetlands and heathlands for insects, spiders and other invertebrates. Come and learn more about these fascinating animals and their importance to our ecosystems, plus the chance to have a go and catching and identifying some yourself!

Duration: 1½ hours. All abilities welcome.

Joanna writes regularly for the Fleet Pond Blog.

Her last article is here and previous articles can be found by using the search box on the upper rhs. In particular there is a series of very interesting articles under ‘Ranger’s Notebook’.

Environment Agency Day – 18 June

August 4, 2010

Blog Editor: many apologies for the late posting of this article – we’ll get back on schedule very shortly!

Colin Gray writes:

Here are some photos from the Environment Day on Friday 18 June when 12 Environment Agency (EA) volunteers (and later 13) turned out to do some stream bank repairs and install a set of dog steps along the Gelvert Stream.

All were very proud of what they had achieved in one full days work.  Mutual thanks were exchanged from the EA team for the chance to work at Fleet Pond, in the open air and with a project which showed a good end result and from FPS for the hard work dedicated to Fleet Pond by the EA team with a very good result.

I’m not quite sure what’s going on here!

Please also see a previous post connected to the EA day here.