Category Archives: Education

Bogbean barrier protects islands

When Fleet Pond was dredged in 2012 the silt was used to create islands around the lake.  The idea of these islands was that they would become reedbeds, which help to improve water quality and are fantastic habitats for a variety of wildlife, especially birds.

Reedbed growth did not happen on all the islands. Geese and other waterfowl accessed where they could and grazed on all the young shoots coming through. This resulted in several barren islands, with scrub rather than reedbed growing, as pictured below.

The Fleet Pond Society Island team came up with a rationale to encourage native aquatic and marginal species, that it was necessary to protect new growth from geese and other waterfowls. The FPS Island team’s rescue plan was to plant Bogbean.

The team’s experience was that Bogbean, a native species found in many areas around Fleet Pond, provides a protective ‘buffer zone’ for the target species of plants to grow.  Geese are reluctant to enter dense beds of Bogbean.  The team has used this technique in several other areas around the Pond where reedbeds have been in decline due to grazing.

Firstly, any Willow and Alder scrub growth had to be removed from the island, as shown below.

Bogbean was then harvested from Hemelite Bay and transferred out to the islands by boat. The rhizomes were spread across the islands.

The team was delighted that the Bogbean took, and recent photos (below) show how the plant has become well established in beds on several islands.

In places Reed and Reedmace are now growing amongst Bogbean (pictured below), showing that the Bogbean has been a successful ‘buffer zone’ against geese and other wildlfowl.

Picture credits – John Sutton

Butterflies And Wildflowers At Fleet Pond

The butterfly for May, the Orange Tip (credit, Wikipedia)

With the arrival of the warm weather, many readers will doubtless be taking walks round the Pond.

Whilst doing this, it’s interesting to try to identify any butterflies and wildflowers seen along the way. Fortunately, members of Fleet Pond Society (FPS) have written a fascinating series of articles on these topics that you might find interesting and helpful.

Peter Martin, President of FPS, has written quite a few butterfly posts that have proven to be very popular. Here are two examples:

Butterflies Around The Pond – Have You Seen Any?


“Although over 30 different species of butterfly have been recorded at Fleet Pond, some may not be easily seen as they tend to stay in the areas in which they bred.

Westover Road – Speckled Wood: Where the path starts at the end of Westover Road towards Wood Lane there are patches of bramble which, when in flower, provide a good nectar source for the Speckled Wood. This is a butterfly that likes areas dappled with sun and shade and it is most noticeable when settled on bramble with its wings wide open. As it has several generations, it can be seen from March until September.”

Butterflies At The Pond – 2013

Extract (Butterfly Of The Month: May – The Orange Tip; see picture at top):

“Although a few may have been seen during April, May is the month when there are often lots of Orange Tips flying around Fleet Pond. The footpath from Avondale Road alongside the Brookly Stream is often a good place to see them (see map on About page above). Like a large number of insects and animals, nature seems to make the male of the species more colourful and this is particularly true of the Orange Tip.”

In addition, Michelle Salter has written a wonderfully illustrated series of articles on some of the wildflowers that can be seen around the Pond at different times of the year, see:

Keep An Eye Out For These Attractive Flowers

Here’s an extract (from the post May Wildflower Watch):

Bogbean at Hemelite Bay

“The pretty, white flowers of Bogbean have been appearing along the edges of the reedbeds at Hemelite Bay. Bogbean is a creeping aquatic perennial that grows along the sides of lakes, ponds or slow-flowing rivers. Often forming large colonies, Bogbean plants help to protect the greenery of the reedbeds against damage from Canada Geese.

Bogbean flowers

The flower buds of Bogbean are rose-pink and open up into feathery white stars as the petals are fringed with white threads. The plant has distinctive three-lobed shiny leaves raised on long stalks to avoid shade. The leaves of Bogbean have been used to flavour beer, giving the plant the alternative name of ‘bog hop’.”

The wildflower photographs are courtesy of Michelle Salter.

A Note On Feeding The Ducks

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