Butterflies Around The Pond – Have You Seen Any?

June 29, 2012

Map of Fleet Pond, Detailing The Locations Mentioned Below

Peter Martin writes:

Although over 30 different species of butterfly have been recorded at Fleet Pond, some may not be easily seen as they tend to stay in the areas in which they bred.

Westover Road – Speckled Wood

Where the path starts at the end of Westover Road towards Wood Lane there are patches of bramble which, when in flower, provide a good nectar source for the Speckled Wood. This is a butterfly that likes areas dappled with sun and shade and it is most noticeable when settled on bramble with its wings wide open. As it has several generations, it can be seen from March until September.

Wet Heath – Graylings and others

On the Wet Heath opposite Wood Lane, one or two Graylings may be seen from July until mid- September. Their camouflage is so great that if they settle on a Silver Birch trunk they will be very difficult to spot.

Continuing along to the bridge over to the Ministry of Defence land and then walking along the path towards the field will possibly allow you to see Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals at any time from late June until August. Although not actually part of Fleet Pond Nature Reserve, the path provides a good opportunity to see these and other butterflies nectaring on the plants there.

White Admiral

The Field – Skippers and others

When you reach the field in July and August Large Skippers, Small Skippers and Essex Skippers will be buzzing around. Their flight from grass stems to nectar sources makes it very difficult to follow them but once settled they will pose nicely.

During July and August, on the bank of bramble, the Gatekeepers will be nectaring. There may also be Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods and other butterflies enjoying the feast. Some of these species will also be found on the Dry Heath, which is situated between the picnic site and the car park. You might also get a glimpse of a Small Copper in May or again in July and August, as this butterfly has two broods.

Boathouse Corner – Small Heath

Along the path leading from the car park towards Boathouse Corner I have sometimes seen the odd Small Heath which has two broods in June and August/September. In the grassy area the other side of that path (adjacent to the railway line) there are usually lots of Gatekeepers in July and August.

Orange Tip

The butterflies that I have mentioned are summer-flying ones but in the spring I have found the path from Avondale Road to the Brookly Bridge particularly good for Orange Tips. These and other butterflies, unlike the other more sedentary ones mentioned in this article, fly longer distances and may appear almost anywhere.

A version of this article was originally published in the Fleet Pond Society (FPS) Newsletter for Spring 2012, which is available to members of the Society.

If you would like to join FPS, please see the ‘Joining FPS’ page above.

Further information on butterflies at the Pond can be found in Peter’s series of posts on this blog: see the overview here.

Picture credits: White Admiral and Orange Tip.

PS Late June Update

Whilst preparing this post, I noticed a newspaper article on how the recent bad weather has been affecting UK butterfly populations, see here.

Some of Britain’s butterflies and moths are experiencing a terrible season because of the unrelenting wet weather, experts said yesterday.

Butterflies such as the marsh fritillary, the black hairstreak, the common blue and Britain’s most endangered butterfly species, the high brown fritillary, are all in much lower numbers than normal, said Richard Fox, surveys manager for the charity Butterfly Conservation.

The situation with moths was even worse, Mr Fox said, with only tiny numbers being found in moth traps.

His colleague Mark Parsons said: “It’s probably the worst spring and early summer ever for moths.”

Butterflies and moths suffer in cold and wet weather because they mate and feed less regularly. The warnings came as Met Office figures showed that June is set to follow April as one of the wettest months on record in the UK.


Introducing Rachel Jones – Our Seasonal Ranger

June 27, 2012

Terry Austin (FPS) and Rachel Jones (Ranger)

Here’s some interesting background on Rachel Jones, who you may have seen busy at the Pond over the last few months:

Originally a local lass from the Odiham area, Rachel has lived in New Zealand for 9 years. Since returning to the UK, she has worked as programme manager for a busy young persons outdoor centre. Rachel then decided to turn her diploma into a BSc and is now in her second year as a student at Sparsholt College, studying Wildlife Conservation.

Having done her work placement with Hart Countryside Services and volunteered with the team, she was given the opportunity of a 6 month role as seasonal countryside ranger to help the team with the many tasks at this busy time.

Rachel says ” I love working with Hart Countryside Services and Fleet Pond Society on the great variety of tasks. It’s a real pleasure to be part of the team looking after this area.”

A Fish Found Whilst Going Round The Pond (see picture above).

Sunday Volunteer Event – June – More Fences And Starting A Visitor Survey

June 24, 2012

The Visitor Survey Taking Place Near Chestnut Grove

Above and Below – The Visitor Survey At The Pond Car Park

At this event we initiated a survey of visitors to the Pond. We started with two high-usage locations: the car park and near Chestnut Grove (see the map in the About page above for further details).

The feedback was very positive!

The data gathering will continue over the next few weeks at a variety of locations so that a balanced assessment can be made.

The objective of the survey is to provide evidence for the popularity of the Pond and to understand its usage in more detail. This will help support applications for funds from new developments in Fleet and Hart in general, if we can show that people visit from a wide area.

The bulk of the volunteers (sample group above) carried on with the fence work started last month. An example of the finished product is given below – a very well-done job!

There is a summer break in the Sunday volunteer events. They will start again in September 2012.

Details of many previous events can be found by searching this blog (see rhs) and an overview for 2011-12 is given here.

Photo credits: David Pottinger

Ryan’s Close Shave For Fleet Pond

June 22, 2012

Ryan at the start

Cathy Holden writes:

Fifteen year old Ryan Saxby, a Year 10 pupil at Courtmoor School, had a close shave outside KJM Salons, in the Hart Centre last Saturday.  His shoulder length locks were shaved off to raise money for Fleet Pond Society’s ‘Clearwater Campaign’.

Ryan’s supporters watched as Brooke-Ellen Collins, of KJM Salons, applied the clippers and proceeded to give Ryan a number one cut.

Brooke-Ellen Collins finishing off the shave

Afterwards, Ryan said: ‘Beforehand I was kind of nervous, but now, having looked in the mirror I’m shocked at the transformation! ’

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society said, whilst watching the event: ‘Ryan’s an enthusiastic supporter of the Fleet Pond Society, regularly joining our work parties on Conservation Sunday’s and in the school holidays. He is doing a brave thing for the Clearwater Campaign! ’

Kerry Mather, Brooke-Ellen Collins and Ryan Saxby

Mandy Saxby, Ryan’s Mum, had arranged the day with KJM Salons: ‘We are very grateful to Kerry Mather, Manager of KJM Salons in the Hart Centre.  She very kindly donated the time of apprentice hairdresser Brooke-Ellen Collins, as well as the chair and the clippers.  Brooke-Ellen has done a fantastic job.’

Smooth-headed Ryan being appreciated by his sister, Lauren, and mother Mandy

Many Saturday shoppers stopped to offer Ryan support by popping money in his sponsorship pot.  It is not too late to sponsor him and if you would like to do so please visit www.charitygiving.co.uk/closeshave.

The Clearwater Campaign is organised by Fleet Pond Society in order to increase public awareness and raise money towards restoring Fleet Pond.  Silt has caused a serious deterioration of the Pond’s water quality.

For further information on the Clearwater Campaign, please visit www.fleetpondsociety.co.uk or search for a variety of articles on this blog eg Chris Packham At Fleet Pond.

Picture credits: David Pottinger

Further photos of the event are available on Flickr – see here.

Three Peaks for Fleet Pond

June 20, 2012

Mike pictured on the jetty by the station, with Dimension Data’s office in the background.

Mike Ollington, of Dimension Data, based at Waterfront Business Park in Fleet, has got a tough weekend ahead. He’s planning to walk 26 miles up the 3 tallest mountains in the UK, in under 24 hours – all to raise money for the Fleet Pond Society!

Along with a group of his Dimension Data colleagues, Mike will be undertaking the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge. This starts with a climb of Ben Nevis on the morning of Friday 22nd June, followed by a drive to Cumbria to walk Scafell Pike, and ends with a cruise to North Wales to hike up Snowdon.

Mike decided to raise money for the Society as he, and his family, are frequent visitors to the pond, where they enjoy walking, cycling and feeding the ducks.

The Fleet Pond Society are extremely grateful to Mike for his heroic efforts and will be delighted to spend any money raised in continuing to improve amenities at the pond.

A pond dipping platform for children and a plant nursery to support the reestablishment of aquatic plants from the native lake sediment seed bank are just two projects that we are hoping to be able to fund in the near future.

If you would like to sponsor Mike and support Fleet Pond, please visit Mike’s fundraising page:



Text and photo: Michelle Salter

Boat for Sale – Skipper 14 Sailing Dinghy

June 18, 2012

Skipper 14 Sailing Dinghy

Our lovely Carnival boat is for sale, click on this link to Ebay for details. Only two more days to go, so get your bids in now.

Bunting not included

All proceeds from the sale will go to the Fleet Pond Society’s Clearwater Campaign.

A Close Shave For The Pond

June 15, 2012

Ryan Saxby (above) is one of our volunteers and he’s very committed to Fleet Pond and it’s conservation.

So much so that he’s volunteered to have his hair cut off to raise money for the Fleet Pond Clearwater Campaign!

If you are in Fleet tomorrow morning (Saturday 16th June), please call by and support Ryan.

The head shaving will take place outside KJM Salons (next to Waitrose) in the Hart Centre at 11:00 am.

If you would like to sponsor Ryan, please visit: www.charitygiving.co.uk/closeshave