We’re Always Making Improvements!

August 29, 2013

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Off to work we go…

David Pottinger writes:

Here’s yet another example of the really useful sort of volunteer work that Fleet Pond Society (FPS) get involved in. The boards on the new and popular dipping platform had a minor defect and needed to be replaced. As you can see from the pictures above and below, everyone got stuck in and the platform is now right as rain.

You can read on this blog the enormous variety of tasks that FPS carry out to the benefit of the local community as well as visitors from further afield.

If you’d like to support our activities, you can do this by joining FPS (which is from a modest £10 a year), please see here for details.

You could also participate in a volunteer event of your choosing, many are held throughout the year and are widely advertised (blog posts, tweets, notice boards etc). We like to think we’re a very sociable bunch and new volunteers are always very welcome! The latest list of Sunday volunteer events can be found in the preceding post (here).

You could also suggest that your company has a volunteer event at the pond. It’s very impressive just how much can be done when a group of enthusiastic people get together!

If you would like further information, please contact Colin Gray, Chairman of FPS, who will be delighted to hear from you:

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

Tel: 01252 616183
E-mail: colin.gray@talktalk.net

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Getting down to it…

Photo credits: top (Rachel Jones) and bottom (David Pottinger).


Sunday Volunteering At Fleet Pond

August 23, 2013

Volunteering FP 01


Fleet’s Future – A Public Consultation

August 20, 2013

The video above, which gives an overview of Fleet and also mentions Fleet Pond, has recently been put up on YouTube – it’s worth a watch!

It’s a promotion by FleetFuture who are developing a Town Plan to guide the future of Fleet Town Centre.

This is an important topic and they would appreciate it if you could help by:

1) Reading the Consultation Document (please click here to download a “pdf” version), and

2) Completing the Survey.

All responses are anonymous.

The survey is open to all people aged 11 and above, who either live in the area or work within Fleet.

The deadline for completing the survey is Monday 16 September.

Extract:

“The town centre should be bustling and attractive, full of people and entertainment, as well as retaining nearby tranquil open spaces like Fleet Pond and the Basingstoke Canal.”


Colin’s Charity Walk – Donations Welcome!

August 15, 2013

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Colin Gray (pictured above), Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“To support Fleet Pond Society’s Clearwater Campaign towards the restoration of Fleet Pond, I aim to do a circular walk to as many wildlife important sites as possible within one day. The sites will include Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Local Nature Reserves, Sites of Importance for Conservation and Special Protection Areas (a map of the route is given below).

As 2013 is my 75th year I felt it was about time that I left my desktop for a while, stopped going on about Fleet Pond and went out in the open air to raise some money for my favourite nature reserve. The walk covers at least 21 miles including open country, footpaths, canal towpaths and minor roads.”

The walk is scheduled for Sunday 22 September 2013.

To donate, please go the Virgin Money Giving page here.

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The route map – 21 miles is a long way!

Further information on the walk can be found here.


Catching Bream At Fleet Pond

August 9, 2013

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The First Bream

David Pottinger writes:

Whilst taking a walk round the Pond yesterday, I struck up a conversation with an angler, Chris Gadsden, at one of the fishing swims. I was curious to find out how the angling was going.

To my surprise Chris had already caught (and released) nine bream that morning so I thought I’d wait and see if any more came along. After about 15 minutes one was caught (see above), followed by another about 10 minutes later (see below).

They are common (or bronze) bream and about 4 lbs in weight. Bream are shoal fish which explains why catching one can sometimes lead to catching another in the same vicinity.

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The Second Bream, Just 10 Minutes Later – This Time A Younger And Livelier One

To fish at Fleet Pond a permit from Hart District Council is required. These are available from the reception desk in The Harlington Centre, or ‘Tackle Up’ on Fleet Road.

Also required is an Environment Agency rod licence which is available from the Post Office or the Environment Agency website. Fishing is only allowed from a boat or an approved fishing jetty and site by-laws apply.

For an overview document on ‘Fishing And Boating At Fleet Pond’ by Hart Countryside Services, please see here.

Additional information can also be found on the Tackle Up Facebook page: Fleet Pond Anglers.

Finally, we are currently in National Fishing Month 2013 (19 July – 26 August) – see here for details.

Photo credits: David Pottinger.


Manky Mallards and Ganky Geese

August 5, 2013
Blondie

Blondie

Michelle Salter writes:

This year, chicks have done surprisingly well at the pond. We’re not sure what to put this down to, it could be the addition of the islands creating new habitats, or perhaps some of the predatory mink were scared away by the dredgers.

Whatever the reason, our baby ducks, geese, swans, moorhens and coots have thrived. One family of mallards was noticeable as it contained a single white chick amongst the brood of eleven. Blondie, as we have called her (or him) is growing up nicely along with her siblings.

Blondie with her ten siblings

Blondie with her ten siblings

The appearance of Blondie led me to go online to research the incidences of ‘mallard mongrels’ and I discovered they’re a fairly common occurrence. Domestic breeds of duck have bred with wild mallards for years. Many wild birds have the genes of domesticated birds in their ancestry. The rogue gene can suddenly produce a chick with an unusual feature or colouring amongst an otherwise normal brood.

Growing up nicely

Growing up nicely

I came across the disrespectful terms ‘Manky Mallard’ and ‘Ganky Geese’ to describe this phenomenon. I think this is an insult to the much maligned mallard and got at goose, so I’m renaming these unique birds Marvellous Mallards and Glorious Geese.

Blondie nearly full grown

Blondie nearly full grown

Blondie is a beautiful duck. Her rogue gene may have come from a Pekin duck, which is a domesticated farm duck, bred for meat and egg production. The Pekin is pure white with an orange bill and orange legs.

We hope Blondie will grow to full size and one day rear a brood of her own on Fleet Pond.

A gallery of Marvellous Mallards can be found here.

Photo credits: Vicki Jull and Michelle Salter


Magnificent Heron At The Pond

August 4, 2013

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Following on from a recent post on the creative carvings at the picnic area at Fleet Pond, there’s now a totem pole to also take a look at!

At the top there’s an impressive looking heron keeping a watchful eye on the Pond (see above and below).

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This picture gives an idea of the size of the totem pole.

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A close-up of the carefully carved heron.

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Lower down you can see in detail how the carvings have been done.

If you’d like to take a stroll round the pond, there are details of three (short, medium and long) walks here. They are all marked by colour-coded posts.

If you’re walking with a buggy, this post may also be helpful.

Photos: David Pottinger.