Winter Walk Around Fleet Pond (Jan 1-3)

December 31, 2015

From Get Hampshire:

“If you’re stuck for ideas of what to do this New Year weekend (Jan 1-3), fear not – we have put together a list of activities to help you out…

4. FLEET: Winter walk around Fleet Pond

Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean we have to hibernate in front of the TV with a tin of chocolates (even though some of us may prefer to do so). Pull on your boots and a snuggly scarf and experience Fleet Pond at its most wild and wintry. Address: Fleet Road, GU51 3SB. If you fancy a bite to eat afterwards, head over to Heron on the Lake, which serves gastro pub meals. For other great walks, take a look at our winter walks guide.”

Details of the different walks (short, medium and long) that you can take at the Pond can be found here (and are indicated in the map below).

Hopefully the weather will be reasonable!

Fleet Pond Map 2014

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Volunteer Event This Sunday, 13 December

December 10, 2015

There will be a volunteer event at Fleet Pond this coming Sunday and all are welcome to attend (see below for registering).

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

The task for next Sunday will be more holly clearance along the boardwalk from Sandy Bay to Coldstream Glade. The cut material will be shipped to the Fugelmere Marsh fire site for burning. Weather permitting, we can have a large fire which means that baked potatoes are on the menu, with butter and cheese to choice.

As this is the last task before Christmas, you will be welcome to bring  along some festive goodies to add to our mid-morning break if you wish.

I recommend strong footwear, preferably waterproof, and tough “holly-resistant” clothing. Protective gloves are available.

If you find holly with berries during your labours, you are welcome to take it home to “deck your halls” as a thank you for your time and effort.”

For further information and booking (which is essential as tools and resources have to be planned beforehand), please contact Hart Countryside Services:

Phone: 01252 623443

Email: countryside@hart.gov.uk

The Sunday volunteer tasks are supervised by a Hart Countryside Ranger together with members of Fleet Pond Society.

Details of the programme from September 2015 to March 2016 can be found here.


Cormorants at the Pond

December 5, 2015

2015-11-23 Pond Photography s

Visitors taking photographs of birds at Fleet Pond

David Pottinger writes:

Recently I was walking to the station via the Pond and I came across two visitors from Farnborough (see above) who were doing some wildlife photography. We had a brief chat about their visit and they mentioned that they were especially interested in the cormorants at the Pond. Here is some information on these interesting birds.

The RSPB website describes the Cormorant as follows:

“A large and conspicuous waterbird, the cormorant has an almost primitive appearance with its long neck making it appear almost reptilian. It is often seen standing with its wings held out to dry. Regarded by some as black, sinister and greedy, cormorants are supreme fishers which can bring them into conflict with anglers and they have been persecuted in the past. The UK holds internationally important wintering numbers.”

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, adds:

“The cormorant is designed to hunt fish in deep water. It therefore lacks the natural oils in its feathers that other waterbirds have to give them buoyancy. The bird needs rapid manoeuverability under water and to be able to stay submerged for some time. It therefore has to stop regularly to dry the feathers between hunting trips. This lack of buoyancy also explains why it swims with only the head, neck and part of the upper body above water.

Cormorants 1 small

A spectacular shot of a cormorant roost at dusk at the Pond by Nigel Cridland (click to enlarge)

Cormorants 2 small

An impressive closeup of a pair of cormorants drying themselves off at Fleet Pond by Barry Perfect (click to enlarge)

Habitually, mature birds return to coastal cliff sites to breed in summer and only young and non-breeding cormorants will be found inland in summer. In more recent years, however, the number of commercial freshwater fisheries inland have led to some birds breeding close to these and not taking to coastal breeding sites. One pair attempted to breed at Fleet Pond on Cormorant Island two years ago and two young hatched. The nest was destroyed however and it is uncertain if the two young survived.

The cormorant looks black from a distance, often because the feathers are wet, but on closer inspection on a sunny day the plumage has a glossy, iridescent green/blue sheen similar to that seen on a mature male starling in summer plumage. Young cormorants have pale, almost white breast feathers.”

Photo credits: with kind courtesy of the mentioned photographers.