Veronique led us on a splendid walk in bright sunshine over the fields between Tervuren and Sterrebeek. We couldn't resist stopping for a group picture with these lovely dandelions.
Friday, 30 April 2010
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
On a bright sunny April day 26 of us went to the Zwin, a visitor-friendly provincial nature park near Knokke. Its 150 hectares consist of dunes, mudflats and estuaries where birds can live in relatively security . Thank you, Veronique, for putting this outing together. Thanks to Veronique and Craig for the photographs and Jane for commentary input.
Jan, our guide, explained how and why so many white storks nest there, balancing on top of truly massive nests. The storks have an impressive 2 meter wingspan, yet weigh only 3 kgs. How wonderful to see them flying to and from their nests and doing a lot of bill clacking, a courtship behaviour in which they rattle the two halves of their bills together repeatedly and loudly. Het Zwin is an important staging post for migratory birds, struggling to keep the water table sufficiently high to ensure good ground cover for nesting and food. Plans are afoot both to extend the surface area and to increase the water intake from the sea.
From a good look-out spot we could see Shell ducks, Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Avocets, Common Sandpipers, Redshanks, Turnstones and Mallards. A kestrel hunted in the distance and larks were singing away as they climbed high in the sky.
At first glance the lie of the land appears flat and uninteresting but Jan explained how minuscule plants can be indicators of the land drying out. Here are some of the low-lying plants he pointed out: Glasswort (Salicornia sp.), Biting Stonecrop , Sea Purslane, and Sand Sedge.
Later in the year the place is purple with Thrift, Sea Lavender and Sea Aster.
After the tour we all took refreshments at the Zwin café.
A Buzzard was hunting over our heads as we wended our way to a good Belgian beer. You can see the Noordzee Hotel in the distance - it is in Holland - and good "Appelbollen" can be eaten there!
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Sept Fontaines saw 15 of us enjoying a glorious sunny day under the guidance of Martha. Thank you, Martha, for enabling us to rediscover a lovely and favourite walk. We began on a little path alongside a beautiful golf course, then continued on wider paths and paved streets through fields and tiny villages, past carved chapels (see photo above) and an historical marker under tender green leaves sprouting on the trees. After climbing hills for most of the walk we were happy to go down all the way to the Pineta where Sheila and her group of easy walkers were already tasting yummy cappucinos and pancakes on the patio. A lovely day indeed. Thank you, Ingeborg, for your nice snaps of the group and the countryside.
Monday, 19 April 2010
Today Margosha took us to a lovely domaine in Vilvoorde that none of us knew, the Drie Fonteinen Domein. Thank you Margosha for leading a very nice walk through the majestic beauty of the park as well as on sunken paths, along streams and across a stone bridge as you can see on the photograph above. Who would have guessed that on the other side of an industrial complex there was a nice woodland park!
We ended up on the terrace of the Brasserie "De Drie Fonteinen" where a nice table in the sun was waiting for us. Apparently this brasserie was originally the Orangerie of the property. Janette and Annie joined us for a delicious Kriek (the first of the year dixit Janette). How relaxing to have a refreshing drink with friends in a sunny place in the middle of a beautiful park after an energising walk!
Saturday, 17 April 2010
One of our favourite walks is Villers-la-Ville and it was nice to go back in the cool sunny weather. Thanks to Tim for taking photographs. The views of the countryside waking up to springtime were delightful and worth the somewhat longer journey from Brussels. The walk is a mixture of forest, fields and paths overlooking picturesque Brabant villages with their typical church towers. The ruins of the 12th century Cistercian abbey dominate Villers and are well worth a visit.