Gentbos, 31.5.2016

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.


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

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.