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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News and Activities at Fleet Pond (Update 1)

November 16, 2016

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A screenshot of the current home page of the FPS web site

David Pottinger writes:

Different people like getting their information in different ways. At Fleet Pond Society we have set up a variety of ways which hopefully cater for most tastes and which give a wide selection of snippets, photos and articles.

Here they are and as a comparison I also give the numbers (which can vary daily of course) from a similar post I wrote in April this year:

In addition, FPS regularly submits articles for publication in local newspapers, such as Surrey Hants Star Courier and Fleet News & Mail.

Happy reading 🙂

Screenshot-FPSNews-Border


Elvetham Heath Primary School and FPS

November 10, 2016

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Click to enlarge

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

Sharyn Wheale, the Hart Council representative on the FPS Committee, is a Governor of the Elvetham Heath Primary School and she asked us if we could help restore the school pond. Terry Austin and Colin Gray did an initial assessment of the pond which was in a very neglected and overgrown condition. They invited parents, teachers and children to come to the school on 18th September 2016 to clear all the vegetation in preparation for a small digger to be used to re-profile the pond. A good turn-out ensured a lot was achieved!

ehps-pond-digger

The digger (see above) worked on 26th October, during half term so as not to endanger inquisitive youngsters with heavy machinery. It was discovered that there was an concrete base under all the accumulated mud. This complicated matters as the supports for a new pond dipping platform could not be driven into concrete. A scaffolding frame was built instead and the new platform fixed to the frame.   

The next phase will be to fill the new pond and put back all the invertebrate life we rescued from the old pond and plant lots of new aquatic and marginal plants. All the labour was supplied by Fleet Pond Society’s Last of the Summer Wine volunteers. A lot of volunteer time and effort went into a much bigger task than any had anticipated. However the team were very pleased at the result but declared never again to take on quite such a large task!”

We will keep you informed of progress on this very challenging task!

If you would like to support FPS in the many voluntary tasks we carry out each year, please consider donating or joining (just £10 a year).


Birds Use The Pond To Commute Too

October 18, 2016

Board 9 - Station Board sClick to enlarge