Why Not Join The Big Butterfly Count For 2017?

July 14, 2017

Why not join in the Big Butterfly Count, either locally or perhaps as a fun activity at Fleet Pond? It runs from the 14th July to the 6th August.

Here are some links to articles on butterflies that can be found at Fleet Pond Nature Reserve:

Butterflies Around The Pond – Have You Seen Any?

Butterflies At The Pond


Moths, An Unusual Pet

June 22, 2017

The Elephant Hawk Moth (from Wikipedia)

Peter Martin, President of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“Most people would regard butterflies as beautiful creatures, but some have an aversion to moths, either because they dislike the fluttering around nearby light sources or due to the holes created in their clothing by clothes-moth caterpillars. It may, therefore, surprise you to learn that one of my favourite pets has been a moth caterpillar.

The Elephant Hawk Moth (see above) lays its ‘whitish-green’ eggs on Willow Herb in June and I was lucky enough to find one of the resulting fully-grown caterpillars crawling across the earth one August looking for somewhere to pupate. They normally do this just below the level of the soil and, to make sure that my caterpillar would not be affected by anything within a sample that I scooped up, I sterilised a small amount before putting it into a container with the caterpillar. As expected, it burrowed into the earth and, through the glass I could see when it had pupated.

If you look at an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar (see below), you will probably think that it is one of the ugliest of creatures, although very aptly named. I had to wait patiently until the following June for the moth to emerge from the chrysalis, but what a beautiful sight was in store for me. The difference between the moth and the caterpillar was like “beauty and the beast”.

The Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar (from Wikipedia)

Having run a moth trap during some summer nights, I have had the opportunity to see that all moths are not as dowdy as some people would think.   Before letting them go, there is a chance to look at them closely and even the wings of the tiniest moths often have really beautiful colour patterns when seen through a magnifying glass or microscope.”

Ed. Related articles by Peter Martin that may also be of interest include:


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 11 June

June 7, 2017

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:

“Our last task for the current season will be one last attack on birch scrub up on the Dry Heath by the car park. After that, two months “rest” and we will start again Sunday 10th September.

For next Sunday we should not need wellies, just some strong footwear. If you feel you might need water, please bring your own and we will supply the usual warm drink mid-morning. Watch out for bramble which tends to trip the unwary and can tear clothing.”

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop.

For further information and booking for this event (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.


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 14 May

May 10, 2017

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

This Sunday, Fleet Pond Ranger Nick Macfarlane is taking us back to the Dry Heath around the car park. The objective is some more birch clearance but the principal task is to ensure there is no overhanging vegetation along the car park edges or down the track from the car park to Boat House Corner.

Wildlife Day 4th June is fast approaching and stallholders cars will be allowed down the track. The idea is to ensure stallholders and visiting public do not scratch their cars or themselves on overhanging vegetation.

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop. Bring water if you need it but we will have our usual choice of warm beverages mid-morning.

For further information and booking for this event (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.


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 9 April

April 5, 2017

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

This Sunday we will be back on the Dry Heath, adjacent to the car park. This time nearer to Boat House Corner to tackle the numerous birch seedlings trying to take over the open heath as a birch woodland. Lots of digging and lazy dog action and some lopping to do. Please avoid any gorse thickets as our birds will now be busy at nest building.

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop. Bring water if you need it but we will have our usual choice of warm beverages mid-morning.

For further information and booking for this event (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.

PS In case you’re wondering what on earth a Lazy Dog is, it’s a tool used for getting out weeds or similar that have long roots and where simple pulling won’t work. There’s more information here. You live and learn!


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 12 March

March 8, 2017

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

This time we will back on the Dry Heath by the reserve car park clearing more birch scrub. The birds have started nesting now, so we need to avoid tackling any of the thick gorse shrubs as these make good secure nesting sites.

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop. Bring water if you need it but we will have our usual choice of warm beverages mid-morning.

For further information and booking for this event (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, Nick Macfarlane, together with members of Fleet Pond Society.


New Works At Brookly

March 2, 2017

brookly-works-2017

Click to Enlarge

Colin Gray writes:

“The timescale for the final part of the above works is to complete by 31st March 2017. This could slip due the current wet weather but it is still the plan. This will include the cleaning out of the four stew ponds in Brookly Wood.”

For an interesting article on this part of Fleet Pond, see Hotspots and Hidden Gems – The Stew Ponds by Michelle Salter.