A Note On Feeding The Ducks

January 31, 2018

An advice poster on feeding wildfowl (click to enlarge)

Taking a bag of bread down to a Pond, river or canal and feeding the swans, geese, ducks and seagulls is something that has been done for generations.

What could be better for all of us than enjoying time out in the fresh air and feeding the ducks. Better for us, yes, but as far as bread goes, not better for the swans, geese, ducks and seagulls etc.

It is proven that feeding bread to these hungry birds is not a good thing. Although it fills them up, bread has very little nutritional value for them and is doing more harm than good.

The Countryside Rangers have issued a new poster (see above) encouraging visitors to feed the wildfowl with pelleted duck food, available from most good pet stores.

It’s just as much fun and you have the happy feeling of knowing that you are feeding them well. Please look out for the posters on the noticeboards and jetties around the Pond.

See also: Keeping Our Ducks Healthy

An information board on some of the wildlife at Fleet Pond

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Big Garden Birdwatch 2018

January 26, 2018

Further details here.


Photo of Victorian Boathouse at Fleet Pond

January 1, 2018

By kind courtesy of local resident Iris Marshall, a photo of the old Victorian boathouse that once used to be at Fleet Pond.

For location, see Boathouse Corner on the map below, just along from Fleet Station at the top; click to enlarge).

For more information on the fascinating and sometimes surprising history of Fleet Pond, take a look at our web site here and example pictures below.


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:


Flower Spotting At The Pond

March 30, 2017

Cuckoo flower by the Flash

Previously we’ve posted articles that feature some of the wildflowers that can be seen at Fleet Pond during the spring and summer months. Why not keep an eye out for them when you next take a walk around the Pond? There are more that you might realise!

Rowan berries in woodland

Here’s a listing of the articles:

March: Lesser Celandine and the Brookly Stream

April: Marsh Marigold, Cuckoo Flower, Dog-violet & Forget-me-not

May: Bogbean, Garlic Mustard and Skunk Cabbage

June: Yellow Flag Iris, Honeysuckle and Yellow Water-lily

July: Heather, Lichen, Meadowsweet and Yellow Loosestrife

August: Berries, Rosebay Willowherb and Purple Loosestrife

You might also want to take a look at the Species Explorer provided by The Wildlife Trusts.

Bogbean flowers at Hemelite Bay


How Popular Is The Pond?

March 10, 2017

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Graph of Footfall Figures at Fleet Pond for 2016 (Click To Enlarge)

Answer: A lot more than you might imagine!

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“Hart Rangers have provided me with the full year footfall figures for Fleet Pond as recorded at the six monitoring points (see legend on graph above plus map here).

They make interesting reading and there is one oddity and one that bucks the general trend. Most monitor points follow a similar trend over the year, but Coldstream Culvert shows an unusual drop in March, April and June. Boat House track bumbles along as one of the lowest until a sudden increase in September, drops in the next two months and then becomes one of the highest in December.

Picnic entrance is one of the two lowest all year, indicating perhaps that most walkers use the lower track?

What is very clear is the numbers of people using Fleet Pond every month. Back a decade when we had a Farnborough Sixth Form student take a survey over a shorter few months, his figures estimated approximately 4,000 to 5,000 a month in peak months. All but two monitor points show the numbers are now well in excess of that estimate every month.

An  important point to note is that the monitors record every movement past the monitor, so it includes those who walk, jog, run or walk dogs more than once a day or do more than one circuit of the pond. For example a jogger might pass the monitor three or more times in one day. Although these might swell the figures, they do have an impact on the path network, so it makes sense to include them when assessing impact on path maintenance and potential disturbance.

There is no denying just how popular and valuable Fleet Pond is to people and their health.”

You can read the interesting things that visitors say about taking walks around Fleet Pond via TripAdvisor here.


Time Team at the Pond

February 8, 2017

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Cathy Holden writes:

“The ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ volunteer team morphed into the Time Team last Friday as we excavated a WWII site at the Pond. These concrete slabs were placed in situ when the land was owned and used by the military.

From the shape of them, our thoughts are that they were supports for large fuel tanks.

If anyone knows, please share with us.

Unfortunately, we didn’t unearth any interesting artifacts except possibly the remains of their china loo!”

Further fascinating history about Fleet Pond can be found here.

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