It has been raining heavily in Flanders lately. Before this, it had been dry for quite some time. After the rain everything looks different. The ground could not absorb all the water so it was less muddy then usual. Normally the mud is soft and thick with a lot of moisture in it. Now, the water was sort of lying on top of the ground or had run further, creating a stream.
Also, the mouth of the forest looked different – either the rain and wind had pressed the branches down or the leaves had come bigger since my last visit. Everything looked so green and lush. There was a little stream that was created by the rain water flowing through the forest. A piece of old wood had fallen down from the tree, its pieces lying around on the ground. More food for the bugs to demolish.
At the site that I am observing there was a lot more water than usual: the water level was much higher, the grass on the other side of the bank was pressed down, perhaps due to the risen water levels.
The stream collected more sand or silt to one side of the stream making the curve sharper. There was also much more old leaves and branches and other materials, including trash, caught up where the stream makes a turn.
Though we saw that the stream was probably too fast and by the looks of it not many small creatures would be living there as the water was very clear to the bottom, we took a sample of the water, but the result was only two schaatsenrijders (pond skater – vesimittari – Gerris lacustris). All the vegetation around one side of the bank was pressed down by the rain.
Close to my site there was a group of birch trees growing as if it were from one stem. This is something you don’t normally see in Finland and I was told by a Finish forest guide that it is because what I am accustomed to seeing is birches growing individually as they were planted for economic reasons. Edit. later on I found out that this can also be the result of using the brich as hakhout, a forest management very traditional to Belgium.
There was also the clover looking plant that had a very high stem and was taller than usual.So I questioned whether it was in fact the same plant. Normally (if I was in Finland) I could have tested this by tasting it as I would’ve recognized it by the taste. Edit.Later on I saw the same i my yard and I taested it. It was indeed a klaver zuring – wood soorrel – ketunleip-/käenkaali – Oxalis) But I am still puzzled by the long stem. Isn´t that especially a plan for the shady environments?
At one turn, there was a mushroom growing from the tree. I had not noticed it before. I wonder why? Had I been always walking too fast at that part not looking down because it was really at the bottom of the tree. It had been there all along. I have to slow down more.We also saw hop growing on the tree and the leaves were much bigger than usual, perhaps because there was less light. Another plant that I did’t recognize has wonderful soft leaves soft and fuzzy leaves. I also saw a ladybug with much more spots than I normally see. Something that looks like the suolaheinä but normally this plant grows in and dryer area so I am curious to see which one it is. In fact it was a zuring.
At my last visit a couple of weeks ago the same tree was under the attack of the same little bugs. Now these bugs had become worms. The bush is vogelkers.
There´s the dove netel and a ladybug on it. A zuring is growing.The area with dotterbloemen is overflowing of water.There is the Egyptian goose (nijlgans, Alopochen aegyptiaca) at the vijver.
At one part, a strange, rotting, almost cheese like smell was floating around. We noticed that the smell got stronger around the mushroom. It had a hole at the top, and I saw a fly crawling out of the hole. At the bottom of the mushroom´s stem was what we first thought were different mushrooms altogether,another part of the mushroom. I scratched the surface of this lower part and a gooey substance came out and this substance really stank like old cheese. Turns out this is called the common stinkhorn (stink zwam – haisusieni – Phallus impudicus) and the smaller parts underneath are called duivels eiren – witch´s eggs – pirunmuna – which apparently one can eat and they taste like cauliflower when cooked (according to EN wikipedia, they are eaten somewhere in Farnce and Germany and according to Finnish wikipedia, the pirunmunat are not edible though not poisonous). And I am not the only one who thinks the mushroom is very suggestive, just check out the wikipedia link! The older individual has the darker cap.There are flies flying around the fungi as they are attracted by the stink and therefore spreading the spores.
Close to this mushroom on the moss was a yellow webbing looking growth.
This appeared to be a type of slime mold (heksenboter – sime mold -paranvoi – Fuligo septica), a type of mobile mushroom. I was amazed, though apparently we have this in Finland too, and it´s not even all that special as it´s basically a mold that appears after heavy rain or excessive watering. Oh well, I thought it was pretty amazing anyway!
We saw a pot close to the side of the stream, tucked into a little hole on the ground. As we had been picking up trash throughout the walk we first thought this was trash as well. But at further inspection we realized it had a sticker on the lid that read something like “This pot is part of a game. Please don’t touch it”. It was part of somebody’s game of geocaching – of course we had to look inside. But we put the pot back to where we found it.
We took water samples also from another ditch that was overflowing again with very little results.
This much trash had been moved along by the stream at my side.
More and clearer signage at the entrance of the forest would be useful to keep the dimwits that do not understand that they have to take care of their own trash, from littering the forest or the parking lot of the Gentbos.
In the meantime, I just continue to pick up other people´s trash and carrying it out with me.