Beaver Colony Visits Fleet Pond, Part One

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Michael Thompson talking to the Beavers (see halfway below)

Michael Thompson writes:

On a warm Saturday afternoon in September, Fleet Pond played host to the 8th annual visit of the 10th Farnborough Beaver Scouts. This year though things were a little bit different.

Fleet Pond Society Chairman Colin Gray and myself had laid on a few special treats as the 14 beavers and 17 supporting entourage went for a hike around the nature reserve. Everyone was given a walking stick to help them on their way, and off we went…

The afternoon began with a picnic lunch atop the recently constructed Lions’ View platform from where the Beavers could see just how far they were going to hike. Well fed and undeterred, we continued…

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It’s surprising how many people can fit on the viewing platform when you pack them in like this

Before long we arrived at Boathouse Corner where some of the Beavers took time to appreciate the new benches installed the day before by the Fleet Pond Society Last of the Summer Wine volunteers:

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While the children watched the ducks, Colin explained a little bit about the history of the pond (see picture below):

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After a brief stop atop the bridge over the outflow to look out at the new islands, we arrived at the pond dipping platform:

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Using nets, trays, magnifiers and identification charts provided by Fleet Pond Society, we set about seeing what we could find in the pond:

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Water snail

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Water scorpion

…and many more creatures that wouldn’t stay still long enough to be photographed.

Some of the locals even popped over to see what we were up to. Next came the 1.5km hike from one end of the reserve to the other. We looked at lots of different habitats on the way and spotted some interesting things:

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Forest of fungi

As it was a warm day and the water level was low, it was safe to explore the Gelvert Stream at water level. I treated the beavers to a short lesson on navigating a watercourse safely:

  • Check how deep it is.
  • Check how solid the bottom is.
  • Check how fast the water is flowing.
  • Check you won’t disturb the wildlife.
  • Check you have an exit route.

Suddenly the walking sticks became really useful (as seen in the picture right at the top of this article). We set off on an adventure down the stream looking at how the water has formed the stream and the plants that grow along its banks on the way. We had agreed with the Rangers not to disturb the fish in the deeper parts, so we climbed out and watched them from the bank instead.

Once we reached the end of the stream, where it opens out into Sandy Bay, we had a bit of time left to play.

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Everyone went for a paddle.

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Building sand castles

Like all good Scouts they came prepared so everyone had dry clothes to go home in:

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There will be a follow-on post to this one shortly, Part Two, that gives some additional photos plus very interesting feedback on the event from the Beavers and their Leaders. Keep an eye out for it!

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