This unusual photo of the secretive Water Rail catching a small bream at the margins of the ice at Fleet Pond was kindly provided by John Sutton.
See also here.
Local photographer John Sutton grabbed this impressive snap of a water rail on the Pond during the recent icy weather. This is a very secretive bird that lives deep in the reedbeds from most of the year, but emerges into the open when the pond is frozen over. You can get a good idea of its size by the moorhen just behind it!
Further information on the Water Rail here.
Earlier this year, a warning was given of the presence of harmful algal blooms at Fleet Pond (see here).
We are happy to say that the blue green algae has now gone from the Pond as confirmed by the Environment Agency last month.
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!
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!
Cormorants at Fleet Pond (courtesy of Barry Perfect, see here)
David Pottinger writes:
When taking walks round the Pond, it’s customary to see the ducks, geese and swans and these are rightly highly popular. However there are a lot more birds that can be seen and some of these are mentioned on the various information boards dotted around.
An interesting question is, how many different types of birds have been seen and recorded at the Pond? As an answer to this, an impressive checklist has been produced by William Legge (covering 1970 – June 2016) and the pdf can be downloaded here. The front page of the document is given below. As you can see the listing is very detailed and gives an enormous amount of useful information.
This sort of detailed information is regularly published in the attractive Fleet Pond Society (FPS) Newsletter, which covers all aspects of the Pond. This is only available to members and joining instructions are given here (a very modest £10 for digital download).
Impressive pictures of some of these birds can be found on the FPS Group on Flickr, see here. The most recent photos are also given in the Flickr widget on the rhs of this blog.
Finally, previously published articles on birds at the Pond can also be found below:
From Hart Countryside Services:
“Blue Green Algae occurs naturally but blooms like those at Fleet Pond occur when numbers become excessive. It is a temporary bloom and occurs during prolonged dry periods followed by rain. The rain flows through the catchment washing nutrients into the streams and ditches which then enter the pond in a process called eutrophication.
People should ensure that they do not enter the pond or make contact with the water. Toxins in the algae can cause skin rashes, eye irritation, fever, diarrhoea and fever in people who have swallowed or swam through algal scum. The toxins in the algae are also harmful to animals so pet owners should keep their animals away from the pond.
If people have made contact with the water they should not panic as the symptoms described above do not occur in every case. People are advised to wash their skin down after contact with the affected water but if symptoms persist people should visit a doctor. If their pets become ill after drinking affected water they should seek veterinary advice.”