The dilemmas of the pond by Isobel Clark

The New Zealand Pygmy Weed has disappeared from places where we have had black plastic covering it but, unfortunately, it has now invaded some of the areas where there was no plastic. As far as we know, nothing predates the weed. There is a selective spray but this is only 70% effective. The radical strategy suggested by experts is to pump out the pond and spray to kill everything.

There is no guarantee that it won’t return, however, since birds can bring it in from nearby ponds although it is interesting to note that the dew pond, not far away, shows no sign of it.

It may be that sealing the gabion wall along the roadside, and thereby making the pond deeper, may reduce the NZPW but it is also possible that it may just become the aquatic form, which is just as bad. The benefit of deeper water is two-fold: firstly, any black plastic will be less visible at low water levels and secondly, the Sweetgrass, which otherwise will completely fill the pond, seems to prefer shallow water. Leaving the plastic as a permanent feature while the water depth is so low is not preferred as it is such an eyesore. The Committee agreed to consider the possibility of increasing the water depth by sealing the gabion wall (if possible) and then using submerged black plastic again to shade out the NZPW.

The Sweetgrass is relatively well controlled at the moment but that has largely been down to the black plastic but, now it has been removed, this will allow the Sweetgrass to spread again. We do not now have many volunteers working on the pond and so removing the Sweetgrass by hand, with the black plastic removed, may not halt its advance in the future.

Pond Conservation; the Canal and River Trust; and the Million Pond project will be contacted for advice and possible sources of funding.

Apart from the Pygmy Weed and Sweetgrass problems, the pond is looking good.



Common Tinsel

Common Tinsel

HCCPS invite you to an exciting wildlife event to take place over two days.

Friday 15th May at 7.30pm

Peter Bygate and David Dennis – our local butterfly and moth experts - will be combining their experience and their slides to give an insight into a range of exotic species from the Indian sub-continent. They will also show us some of the more unusual species to be found closer to home.

Friday 15th May at 10.00pm

Later in the evening, they will set up two moth traps on the commons to attract some of the colourful species that are around at this time of year. Anyone is welcome to join them opposite the Full Moon to see what arrives.

Saturday 16th May at 10.00am

The contents of last night’s moth catch will be identified, photographed and released safely. All ages are welcome to come and see what interesting beasts have been flying on our commons while we were all asleep!

Red Lacewing by Peter Bygate

Red Lacewing by Peter Bygate

Fluffy Tit by Peter Bygate

Fluffy Tit by Peter Bygate

Solar eclipse By Linden Bevan-Pritchard


Stephen and I walked up to Pallett's Pond today to experience the 'darkness' that was promised.  The cloud cover was entire and it never seemed to get noticeably darker or colder as it did in 1999, when conditions on the hill at Brill were clear.  At 9.40, we did not expect to see anything of the eclipse.  At that point, we turned towards the east and a slight break in the clouds revealed a moon traversing a spectral sun, which was veiled by a higher layer of cloud.  In 5 seconds or so, it was gone, obscured by the grey clouds.  

We walked on to the pond, and on the way back we looked at the work that has been done by James Joliffe on the dew-pond and thought - if only we had a camera and if only the clouds were not so heavy - we could use the open space of water as a mirror to watch the progress of the eclipse.  As we got nearer home, the clouds began to evaporate and I ran as fast as possible to get the camera and car keys to get back to the dew-pond.  By this time, I realised that we would be too late to get back to the pond, so we took these photographs in our own pond, just before the sun became too bright for the camera.

So, in lieu of the dew-pond, here is our record of part of the event.  I will never again travel on the Commons without the camera.