More On Hairy Caterpillars

June 29, 2013


Garden Tiger Moth (showing the hindwing pattern)

Peter Martin writes:

“Writing the recent article about hairy caterpillars of the Oak Processionary Moth reminded me of the brown hairy caterpillars of the Garden Tiger Moth that I was always coming across during my youth.

The hairs from these creatures are loaded with histamines and can cause nasty irritations if handled. If more than one is kept together in captivity, they can be cannibalistic (don’t ask me how one can chew the other one without getting a mouthful of those nasty hairs).

I haven’t seen any of these hairy monsters (often called “woolly bears”) for many years and there is now real concern that they could become extinct.


Caterpillar of the Garden Tiger Moth

Butterfly Conservation” has a moth-night each year and this year it is making a particular request for anyone spotting a Garden Tiger Moth during the period from the 8th to the 10th August to report it.

More information on National Moth Night can be found here.

I am sure that, if you spot any of these caterpillars at any time and are sure that they are not one of the other hairy moth creatures, “Butterfly Conservation” would like to hear from you.”

Photos credits: here.


Bugs, Boatmen And The Brownies

June 21, 2013


Pond dipping at the new platform

On an evening in early June, a group of 24 Brownies, together with their 3 Leaders, visited Fleet Pond to go bug hunting and pond dipping (see sample pictures above and below).

Vikki Oldham, a Leader with 6th Fleet Brownies, writes:

“As part of their Wildlife Explorer badge, on 5th June the girls from 6th Fleet Brownies headed down for a bit of fun at Fleet Pond. Thankfully we were blessed with a warm and sunny evening, perfect for a spot of bug hunting and pond dipping!

They were all eager to get going and soon set too, poking, prodding, lifting and dipping until their bug pots were full and their nets overflowing. They had a fantastic time and, I’m relieved to say, everyone caught something…even the Leaders! I know the saying goes that little boys love slugs and snails but I can certainly attest that our girls love them too! They also now love weevils, centipedes, water boatmen, worms and backswimmers!

The Brownies had a great time with Colin and Louise, who were fabulous and really got the girls interested in the creatures they were finding. They were proudly telling their parents what they’d caught as they headed for home. I’d never thought I’d hear a child so excited to find a maggot!”


Investigating what’s there


It looks like they’ve found something!

The new dipping platform was sponsored by Fleet Townswomen’s Guild, and built by volunteers from Fleet Pond Society. The platform was officially opened by ladies from the Guild at the recent Wildlife Open Day.

The platform is situated at the corner of the Pond in the vicinity of the Dimension Data building and Fleet Railway Station (see below).


The new pond-dipping platform

Photo credits: David Pottinger

One Big Thing for Nature

June 18, 2013
Chris Packham at Fleet Pond

Chris Packham at Fleet Pond


Fleet Pond Society patron, Chris Packham, makes an eloquent plea for individuals to take action, following the recent State of Nature report, in a guest blog post for the RSPB.

One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post from Chris Packham

Sir David Attenborough launched the State of Nature report at the Natural History Museum, London on 22nd May 2013. The report was compiled by 25 wildlife organisations, working alongside scientists, to produce a stock take of Britain’s nature. It revealed that 60% of the species studied have declined in the past 50 years.

The full State of Nature report can be found here.

Sunday Volunteer Task – 9 June

June 7, 2013

Colin Gray writes:

“The task for Sunday is a mobile one. Some work is needed at Boathouse Corner – fitting retaining timbers in preparation for a levelling off of the area by the History Board.

There is a pile of hoggin up in the car park which we will use to fill potholes and sunken stretches of the footpath network. The footpath repairs will involve shovelling hoggin, levelling it off and tamping it down.

The forecast is good so remember to bring your sun cream!”

Please meet at the Countryside Workshop to leave at 9.15 a.m. or follow the signposted directions from there if you come a little later.

For more information, please contact the Task Co-ordinator, Colin Gray, as follows:

Colin Gray, 14 Kenilworth Road, Fleet, Hampshire GU51 3DA

Tel: 01252 616183

Further details of the Sunday volunteer events can be found here.

All new volunteers are very welcome!

More Photos From The Wildlife Day In May

June 6, 2013

The Wildlife Day at Fleet Pond, organised by Louise Greenwood and her colleagues at Hart Countryside Services, was a big success.

Here are some more photos from the day, showing the wide range of organisations that were involved. A really good community event!


Hampshire Conservation Volunteers


Rowhill Nature Reserve Society


The Fantastic Art Of Chainsaw Carving


The Fire Brigade Were Also On Hand


As Well As The Local Police

Picture credits: Louise Greenwood

Have You Seen The Stew Ponds?

June 3, 2013


A Stew Pond

Whilst going for walks round the pond, you may have easily missed the stew ponds! These are small ponds that were historically used to hold fish caught at Fleet Pond prior to being transported to the monks at Winchester.

For a good history of the Pond, please see here and a previous post explains how these holding ponds were renewed by conservation volunteers in 2006 as well as more on their interesting history.

The stew ponds can be found by following the crossing point near Brookly Bridge (see photos below). The path is straightforward and the walk will only take 5 minutes, so it’s worth giving it a try!


The bridge over Brookly Stream


The crossing point (near the bridge above) that leads to the Stew Ponds