Fleet Pond at Dawn

November 4, 2015

Fleet Pond at Dawn s

David Pottinger writes:

Here’s a nice picture of Fleet Pond just as the sun is coming up and the mist is disappearing (courtesy of Savinder Chauhan).

If you have some interesting shots of Fleet Pond, or perhaps activities that go on there, why not add them to the FPS Group on Flickr? You can see the latest contributions in the widget on the rhs of this blog (scroll down if it’s not visible).

Please also bear in mind the FPS Photographic Competition for 2015! The details are below.

To see previous competition winners, please go to our brand new website (which also includes a great deal of general information on the Pond) – see here (under Photos tab on the top).

FPS Photo Comp Poster b 2016


A Great New Web Site for FPS, Come and Visit!

October 30, 2015

FPS Web Site 2015

Screenshot from the very attractive new FPS web site

The Fleet Pond Society Committee is excited to announce the launch of their new, fully interactive website here.

The Society’s fortieth birthday approaches in 2016 and the Committee understands the importance of looking to the future as well as reflecting on the past. With this in mind the new site is packed full of information about the Fleet Pond Nature Reserve and the Society, as well as links to associate sites.

Go ahead and visit it today to find out more about the fantastic community asset that is Fleet Pond Nature Reserve.

Fundraising for FPS and Trekking to Angkor Wat

October 27, 2015


An aerial view of Angkor Wat

Mandy Saxby, a Committee Member of Fleet Pond Society (FPS), writes:

“In November, I will be trekking in Cambodia to raise funds for Fleet Pond Society’s Clearwater Campaign. I will be walking about 20 kilometers a day for 6 days, through forests, paddy fields and up a small mountain.

This will be with a small party of others who will be raising money for their own chosen charities. We start at Siem Reap and walk in a big loop that brings us to our destination of Angkor Wat, somewhere I have always wanted to visit.

Why Fleet Pond Society? I can remember walking round the Pond as a small child and I am now a regular volunteer and committee member. The volunteering started when I responded to the Chairmans’ appeal for someone to take over the dipwell readings.

Dipwells are small plastic tubes with holes all the way up, pushed into the ground, that allow water to collect in so that a water level can be taken. I thought that sounded like something I could do easily and quickly (there are only 9 of them) so offered my services. In fact these dipwells are placed in the centres of some very unfriendly spots in the middle of marshes but I’m still doing it 12 years on!”

If you would like to support Mandy on her trek, which will raise funds for FPS’s Clearwater Campaign, please go to her page on Virgin Money Giving.

From today, there are just 10 days to go!

Bees At The Pond

October 10, 2015


A Solitary Bee

Whilst you’re walking round the Pond you might want to keep an eye out for some types of bees that you may not be familiar with!

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

Solitary Bees

Did you know that Britain has more than 250 species of native bee? All of these bees play an essential role by pollinating flowers. But these bees are becoming scarce, with fewer wild flowers and suitable nest sites and an increase in pesticide use. Now around 25 per cent of our native bees are listed as endangered species.

Out of these 250 species, over 90% of them are solitary bees. By solitary we mean that a single female, after she emerges from her pupae and is mated by a male, constructs, provisions and lays an egg in each cell in a nest by herself. This in comparison with social (called eusocial) bees like the Bumble Bees, Honey Bees and Stingless Bees, all of whom have a Queen who lays eggs and a number of workers who look after them.

Female solitary bees prepare their own nest in the ground, in cracks or crevices in walls, or in wood. They gather nectar and pollen as food for their own offspring, and provide little or no further care after their eggs are laid.

Solitary bees come in many different sizes, colours and shapes. Common solitary bees are mason bees, miner bees, sweat bees, wool-carding bees and carpenter bees. They vary in colour from basic black to bright metallic green, blue or red. Some solitary bees superficially resemble wasps.

Leafcutting and Mason Bees, collectively called megachilids (pronounced mega kyle’ lids)


Life cycle of the Common Leaf-Cutter Bee

Leafcutter bees nest in soft, rotted wood, thick-stemmed pithy plants such as roses and in similar materials that the bees can easily cut through and excavate. Nest tunnels may extend several inches deep and coarse sawdust is thrown out at the entrance.

After the nest has been produced, leafcutter bees collect fragments of leaves to construct individual nest cells. The bees cut leaves in a very distinctive manner, making a smooth semicircular cut about 3/4-in in diameter from the edge of leaves.

These are carried back to the nest and used to fashion nest cells within the previously constructed tunnels. Each leaf-lined cell is then provisioned with a mixture of nectar and pollen. An egg is then laid and the cell sealed, producing a finished nest cell that somewhat resembles a cigar butt.

A series of closely packed cells are produced in sequence so that a finished nest tunnel may contain a dozen or more cells forming a tube 10cm to 20cm long. The young bees develop and remain within the cells, emerging the next season. Leaf-cutter bees differ from related species in that they collect pollen on their abdomens rather than on their hind legs.

Picture credits: top and bottom.

Ed. This article was first posted in November 2008 and has become one of the most popular ever published on this blog, with views from all over the world!

Volunteer Event This Sunday, 11 October

October 6, 2015


Enjoying some baked potatoes at a previous volunteer event

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:

“There is a lot of cut material that needs to be burned waiting for us on Fugelmere Marsh. That will be our main task for the day. This means that baked potatoes are on the menu and I will obtain these early in the week. There will also be some cutting to do of alder and the new hedge needs a trim. So it could be a busy morning.

The soil conditions should be firm but wet so waterproof boots will probably be OK rather than wellies.

As usual a warm drink will be provided mid-morning but if you need a cold drink please bring your own.”

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.

Volunteering At Fleet Pond 2015/16

September 1, 2015

Fleet Volunteer Poster 201516 FINAL

FPS Photo Competition: Nature’s Neighbourhood

August 28, 2015

FPS Photo Comp Poster b 2016

Why not give it a go?

The results from last year’s competition can be found here.