Gentbos, Fri 23.10.2015

I came to the forest with 2 friends my dog. At the parking, there were lots of birds who then took off, scared of my dogs, perhaps.

We saw some pink mushrooms in the very dark area (I don´t understand my own notes and what I am referring to, but this is literally what it says).

At the pond, we saw  water bird of some kind (no other notes on this).

We saw a rook – roek – mustavaris.

We saw Canadian geese (could it have been the white cheeke goose that is different from the Canadian in that its cheek is entirely covered in white).

We heard a pot pot pot pot sound. We heard also the sound of guns, and were wondering whether this was actually a safe time to be in the forest. What are they hunting for and where?

There was a smell of rotting (unpleasant, unaerobic rotting).

We recognized hop growing.

Some doves flew off and while they took off, they let some eikels fall on the ground. Rhododendron, lots of it. Why do they allow it to grow there and take space from the native species?

Mushrooms growing inside the tree.

The corn  is not yet collected.

There´s a willow growing at the border of my site, little movement in water, only in the center. There´s more yellow leaves all over, also on The Eik that I keep recording,  and the green is turning into “dirty green”. There are mushrooms growing on the tree trunk. 4 sticks in the stream.


Who lives here?

Heard species

tjiftjaf common chiffchaff – tiltaltti – Phylloscopus collybita

Ekster – common magpie – harakka – Pica pica

Fazant – common pheasant – fasaani – Phasianus colchicus

Tapuit -northern wheatear – Kivitasku  – Oenanthe oenanthe

Klaver zuring – Käenkaali

Environmental stress and despair: the tiny realist

A few days ago this video appeared on the social media channels. It depicted a little boy, probably no more than 5-7 years of age, crying and appearing very shocked about something he had seen or heard, something that triggered his emotional outburst. He was upset because people were wrecking the planet by cutting down trees and throwing trash on the ground. He could clearly think further into the future when he mentioned how “animals will have to eat the trash on the ground” and he felt hopeless because he was “only a child”. He wish that he was an adult so he could start doing something about it.


The mother of this child had titled the video “emotional environmentalist”. Also, she had added emoticons with a face laughing so hard tears are running down the cheeks. What was the point of that? Was the child´s reaction uncalled for? Was he overreacting? Was he being ridiculous?

When I saw the video, my eyes filled up with tears because I could feel his pain. I would cry for the planet, and I do, but that comes out bundled up in other frustrations: selfish people in the traffic, busyness of the every day life, feeling like you´re not enough.

Just a few weeks ago, I was shaking all over, because I was furious. I had witnessed a woman walking down the street, throwing the wrappers of her sandwich on the ground. I picked up her trash, biked to her and asked her if she had dropped something. Just as soon as she noticed what I was holding, she rolled her eyes at me and starting walking away from me. When I protested, and told her to please pick up her litter, she gave me the finger. Her reaction made me so furious, I started yelling at her, definitely not helping to solve the situation, and probably making things worse. In the future, she will probably be doing this even more, as a protest to any of us “emotional environmentalists” that meddle with other people´s business.


But I believe that the little guy in the video is showing the emotions of many many many adults who are unable to cry about it, but are reacting otherwise, with frustration, depression, other mental issues. There´s nothing exaggerated about his reaction. I feel guilty for all of us adults for making him feel like that and letting things go that far.

But I hope this little man will find a way to channel his frustrations, otherwise he will walk through life frustrated and anxious. I am only now finding ways to deal with my own environmental stress and despair. Though there are gigantic problems to be solved, and an individual can only do so much, and individual can still do her share.  Individual efforts make a big difference in the end when combined with thousands or millions of other individual efforts.

I am trying to make a difference by teaching my kids to respect the planet, love the nature which we are part of and live responsibly. I try to show them a good example by making environmentally aware choices as much as possible, making sure they are no strangers to nature, be it the forest, the sea or the mountains, and I do this in any kind of weather. My hope is that they will grow up to be planet lovers, instead of planet wreckers.

I hope this little buddy´s family will  grab the chance and support his passion by finding ways he can make a difference and feel his needs to save the planet fulfilled.

He is miles ahead most of us.

The video:


Vogels, Bouyrgoyen, Sat 21.05.2016

This time our class took place outdoors, rather than indoors. We toured around the Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen nature park, that is also known as one of the most bird rich areas in Flanders.

Though I don1t normally write down the notes of the lessons, this lesson gave so much information on birds, I thought it would help me to learn the names, if I typed them up here.

Also we learnt to look at the scenery and notice all the different  biotopes that provide a home for different kind of birds, based on their preference for an environment. And where more bushes, trees and grasslands are closer to each other, there”s more diversity as more diverse biotopes are closer together. Also, we were reminded that in the world of birds, only the men sing. However, I doubted this and went looking, and indeed, it is not as straightforward as that, as turns out from this research, apparently in most species of birds, also the females sing too.

If one wants to go looking at bird of prey, it’s apparently better to do so earlier in the day when they are still flying lower. Later in the day, they fly higher in the sky and its virtually impossible to see them with your binoculars.

We were taking the tour at the end part of May, and our guide told us that at this time, the birds are normally already breeding, so at the moment, there is little migration movement anymore. Also, if we would witness a bird carrying something in its beak, like a worm or excrement, it would be either going to or coming from the nest. The parent birds need to keep the nest clean too.

Our guide also told us how to look at birds. First trying to get a good look at the head of the bird, the color of it. Then, after that, the body, to see it from top and from bottom. He warned us not to get hung up only on one mark to use as the basis to identify the bird, as this can go very wrong.

He told us also how to look for the bird. Some bird make their nest also on the ground, at the bottom of the high grass and right at the bottom of the bush is ideal. So when looking for birds, do not just look up. However, this was to be a piece of advise, as the nesting peace of the birds has to also be assured.

We also heard that on a unstable, as in, windy, weather it is better to see birds as they are not flying high in the sky but come lower down. Also, he told us that birds are afraid of lightnings and  sometimes you can tell that the weather is changing when you suddenly see flocks of birds coming, as they have sense that the weather is changing, ling before humans have sensed anything.

The birds we either saw, or that should normally live in this area were:

grauwe vliegenvanger – spotted flycatcher  – harmaasieppo –Muscicapa striata; that catches its pray by making short flights from where it is sitting, on a fence, rock, etc. The European robin does the same, said our guide.

zwarte roodstaart – black restart – Mustaleppälintu – Phoenicurus ochruros

rietgors – common reed bunting – pajusirkkuEmberiza schoeniclus: its habitat is in the  reeds




winterkoning – peukaloinen: likes the bushes and trees with lots of branches, where it moves easily, the small bird.

ransuil – long-eared owl  – sarvipöllö –Asio otus: the guide played us the sound of this bird. it made me think of the sound i had heard last time in gentbos, the sound was same. Could it be that there are long-eared owls also in the gentbos?

kleine karrekiet

bosriet zanger









Gentbos, Sun 24.1.2016

Met L & N (en U en M die ambetant is aan het doen tegen het eindje – hij is moe)

het weer: 7 of zo graden, kleine wind, geen regen, wel bevolkt

De vrieskou van vorige week is nu gedaan – gisteren was de eerste dag na een week dat het heeft niet bevroren


(gehoort, niet gezien) Groenespecht (Picus viridis) – European green woodpecker

  •  vihertikka:waarchuwing’s geluid?

Pimpelmees  (Cyanistes caeruleus, vroeger Parus caeruleus) – Eurasian blue tit – sinitiainen

  • sang gehoord (kleine bellekes)

Koolmees (Parus major) – great tit – talitiainen

  • sang gehoord

Heggenmus (Prunella modularis) – dunnock – rautiainen

  • sang gehoord

Winterkoning (Troglodytes troglodytes) – Eurasian wren – peukaloinen

  • sang gehoord


Nienke spreekt over de eik vor ons, een opdracht van Linda.

De wintereik (Quercus petraea)  – sessile oak – talvitammi

  • lange broek, lange varsi van de blad  – maar korte stam van de eikels

De zomereik (Quercus robur) – English oak – Metsätammi

  • korte broek, korte varsi van de blad  – maar lange stam van de eikels

gewone esdoorn (Acer pseudoplatanus) – sycamore maple – vuorivaahtera

  •  volgende keer moet ik er over praten

Els (Alnus) – Alderleppä

  • ergens in mijn gebied groeit er een els, want ik heb de vruchten daar gezien


Hazelaar (Corylus avellana) – common hazel – pähkinäpensas (blad heeft een “tjoepke” in het einde)

  •  op de hazelaar er was een (blad)mineerder – leaf miners – miinaajat
  • De hazelaar is ook de marker van mijn biotoop studie terrain: de jongetjes van de hazelaar zijn zeer moeie, gouden en de meisjes zijn de kleine, vaatkmatomat bloemekes. De bloemetjes vragen om een beetje van de mooi goud te krijgen maar de jonges willen alles voor hun zelf te houden. Maar dan komt de wind en helpt de mesijes: de wind blaast de goud af, en zo nemen te meisjes zo veel van de goud als mogelijk is. Linda verteld deze verhaal aan Unna en Unna verteld het pnieuw thuis aan papa.


-ladder mos (fijne laddermos: Kindbergia praelonga, synoniem Eurhynchium praelongum of grote laddermos: seudoscleropodium purum – lammassammal)

– dikkopmos


Honsdraf (Glechoma hederacea) – ground-ivy/gill-over-the-ground/creeping charlie/ alehoof/tunhoof/catsfoot/field balm/run-away-robin – maahumala

  •  je kan een pesto maken van dat. We mixed deze plant met speenkruid, die dezelfde eruit ziet maar is kleiner en heeft geen geur

Speenkruid (Ficaria verna ) – lesser celandine – mukulaleinikki

Brandnetelnokkonen: de kleine haartjes op de plant zijn niet die die branden, maar de stof daarin.

Gentbos, Wed, 4.11.2016

Met L & N

het weer: 13 graden, zacht wind, af en toe klein beetje regen

Deze keer heb ik geen fotos. Batterij plat!

Linda’s vraag: waarom wordt een blad van een boom bruin/rod/oranje in de herfst?

= de groen in de bladeren (chlorophyll) is voeding voor de boom tijdens daglicht. In de koude maanden, de bomen groeien niet maar zijn aan het “slapen”, en laten de bladeren vallen. Maar voor dat, nemen ze de chlorophyll in de boomstam. Als de bladeren geven de chrolophyll weg, veranderen ze van kleur.

Linda’s vraag: wat is de rol van beuk in het algemeen/in Gentbos?

=beuk is gebruikt voor de harde hout (parketten, meubels). in de gentbos de beuken waren geplant en nu gaan ze proberen om sommige van ze om weg te doen om meer plaats/licht te geven aan de zomereik en gewone es (

Linda’s vraag: waarom veranderen ze van voeding tijdens de winter (van insecten naar zaadjes)?-

= omdat ze zijn een beetje mixed eters (er zijn geen insecten tijdens de winter dus gelukkig kunnen zij ook zaadjes verteren)?


Staartmees  (Aegithalos caudatus) –  long-tialed tit – Pyrstötiainen

  • grijs/zwart/bruin, lange staart, hoge geluid
  • lange beek: insecten eter

Merelmustarastas – blackbird

  • waarschuwing geluid gehoord


De wintereik (Quercus petraea)  – sessile oak – talvitammi

  • lange broek, lange varsi van de blad

De zomereik (Quercus robur) – English oak – Metsätammi

  • korte broek, korte varsi van de blad

Gewone esdoorn (Acer pseudoplatanus) – sycamore maple – vuorivaahtera

Populier (Populus tremula) – populus – poppeli

Vlier (Sambucus) Elderberry – selja

Tamme kastanje (Castanea sativa) – sweet chestnut – jalokastanja

Abeele (grauwe or witte?) –abele/silver poplar/silverleaf poplar/white poplar – poppeli

Els (Alnus) – Alder – leppä

  • ik denk dat deze was een zwarte els (Alnus glutinosa) -tervaleppä, door de manier van groeien (beetje als een struik en door de “appelkes)

Beuk (Fagus sylvatica) – common beech – Euroopanpyökki


Hazelaar (Corylus avellana) – common hazel – pähkinäpensas (blad heeft een “tjoepke” in het einde)

  • op de hazelaar er was een (blad)mineerder – leaf miners – miinaajat
  • De hazelaar is ook de marker van mijn biotoop studie terrein


Spork (Rhamnus frangula, synoniem: Frangula alnus) – alder buckthorn, glossy buckthorn, or breaking buckthorn – korpipaatsama:

  • wordt ook vuile boom genoemt om dat als de dieren het eten gaan ze diarree kregen

Sleedoorn (Prunus spinosa) – blackthorn/sloe – Oratuomi


Honsdraf (Glechoma hederacea) – ground-ivy/gill-over-the-ground/creeping charlie/ alehoof/tunhoof/catsfoot/field balm/run-away-robin – maahumala

Braambes – karhunvatukka

Brandnetel — nokkonen

Reuzen paardenstaart (Equisetum telmateia) – great horsetail – Jättikorte


  • deze paardenstaart is redelijk zeldzaam maar  komt voor in Gentbos



Kogelhoutskoolzwam (Daldinia concentrica) – cramp balls/coal fungus -finnish???


Gentbos, Sun 18/10/2015, 15.58

This is my very first observation trip to the forest I am about to get very much acquainted to, The Gentbos.

Before we start, a little bit of background about the site.

The Gentbos is a small  forest outside of Merelbeke, in the East-Flanders.

The Gentbos covers an area of 22 ha and was bought by the provincial government in 1990. A forest management plan was drawn in 1993 where it was stipulated that the domain was to be managed naturally, i.e. leaving the forest to naturally regenerate, rather than relying on planting. The plan also focused on reducing the proportion of the common beech  which had been planted by the Austrians according to their preferences in tree types, to leave more room for the oak and the common ash, therefore aiming for a greater variety in both species composition and age. In the Genbos, also other habitats than forest, such as grassland, are also given the opportunity to flourish.

The management of the domain is divided between the provincial government of East Flanders and the Merelbeke council in which the first ensures the implementation of earlier large-scale works while the city council is responsible for the daily supervision and management.
The Gentbos, once part of the Bottelare pond and the Scheldt, has only some remnants of open water left today.
The Hollebeek tied the swampy Gentbos to the Scheldt valley and the forest area was much larger back in the day, but nowadays this connection has been broken by the advancing construction.

In the late 1700´s the forest was well used as pasture lands and several houses were also to be found in the area. However, when Empress Maria Theresa planted the beech trees in the region, took care of the reforestation of the area, when the area landed inthe hands of the Austrians.
In the middle of the 1800´s, the Gentbos 
came into the possession of the noble family Stas de Richelle from Liege as a dowry when the two families were united, with the gamekeeper house on Poelstraat dating from that period. Bernard Stas ( 1788 Liège-Ghent 1851)m a journalist and member of the Chamber of People’s Representatives married Marie – Therese The Fuller from a wealthy Ghent family who held a property in Bottelare and  in Merelbeke They got three chidlren of which the oldest one, lived in the house and was the burgemeester of merelbeke for a long time. when he finally died, the house was bought in
1989  by the family De Clercq-Van Renterghem

They planted many of the exotic species, in order to boost their forest which, those days, was a status symbol,  a way to show to their guest their grounds and their wealth. They brought their friends and acquaintances to ride horses there and planted large chestnut tree rows to ride along. They built a castle, known as the kasteel van Bottelaere  in 1875

The history of Gentbos as an area with ponds can still be seen in the muddy conditions of the forest after some rain. The area is not accessible for wheelchairs or strollers, due to the muddiness. Only after extensive periods of drought, the paths are hard.

On my observation trip, the weather conditions were abt 13 degrees, half cloudy, no wind. For measuring these, I use my own eyes and ears as well as the weather app on my Huawei Honor phone (

When entering, we heard the roodborst at the parking in a tree without leaves. A flock of birds (?) took off when hearing our voices.  We also heard eendjes, ganzen en een ezel.

The color of the forest seemed dried up green (as I have written it in my notes), in the higher branches, some red leaves visible.

The zomer eik on the meadow is still mostly green, with some yellow leaves here and there. Lots of acorns on the ground.


Once we´re in the forest, I hear children yelling. There´s a lot of people, the parking is completely full. I also hear the acorns falling down from the trees around me.

The mud is solid, easy to walk on. The varens are becoming yellow, same as the wood sorrels. I see a really nice kelo/snag/no NL word. There’s a lot of moss on the trees, on the vlier, to be exact.  I take a picture of the Americaanse eik, which I have heard is not native (as the name implies) and some berries (?) in the bushes.

The corn field has not yet been harvested.The grasses have become lighter, some yellow strands of grass in the tuft/tupas/bosje. The brandnetels have turned black. I see a vine with lighter yellow on it, do not recognize what it is, but I am wondering why it changes color (later on I notice that it is hop).


I am wondering why some plants of the same species are making seeds already, while others are later. For example, this koekoeksbloem. Does this have to do with the specific conditions where they live, such as light, moisture, competition?

In my terrain, only a little bit of water which is not streaming. About 90% of the surroundings are still green (I have marked 90% in my notes, but actually it seems more like 70% at least).


However, I take a lot of pictures of the mushrooms I see. Examples below.

I notice that in the shade, it gets quite chilly. Later on, I l earn and I always prepare myself with extra layer of wool, even if it´s otherwise a warm day. Gloves I wear every time I am in the Gentbos. The muddy forest floor is breathing out cold. Also, the fact that I am constantly stopping, makes me get cold as well.

At the tree where the kids like to climb, it smells like an autumn forest: the ground, the rotting leaves.. elsewhere it just smells fresh.

When I leave, I notice tiny droplets of water on my bike seat, so apparently, it did rain a bit.


roodborst – european robin – punarinta – Erithacus rubecula

wilde eend – mallard – sinisorsa – Anas platyrhynchos

ganz – geese – hanhi – Anserini


Americaanse eik – northern red oak -punatammi – Quercus rubra


Varen – fern – saniainen – Pteridophytina

Witte klaverzuring – wood sorrel – käenkaali/hetunleipä –Oxalis acetosella

Brandnetel – common nettle – nokkonen – Urtica dioica

Dagkoekoeksbloem -red catchfly – puna-ailakki – Silene dioica?

Hop – common hop – humala  – Humulus lupulus


haarmos – hair mos – karhunsammal – Polytrichum