Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Flemish Ardennes: Makegemse Bossen

A 39 km family trip by bike via Eke, Vurste, Baaigem and Munte to a wooded area named “Makegemse Bossen”. In the woods we find a couple of beds of bluebells and some secluded ponds that are among the few in the province where 5 individual species of salamander have been spotted. The WWII bunkers on the 40 m high sandy ridge of Munte are a nice playground for the kids and offer a fine view of the surrounding area.

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Vinderhoutse Bossen

Vinderhoute is a community to the northwest of Ghent that is surrounded by quite a bit of greenery and several castle grounds. The area is currently being developed for outdoor recreation. Last week, the central wooded zone was opened to the public, after having been acquired from a private land owner some time ago.

We make a 36 km family cycling & hiking tour that takes us from home to Vinderhoute and back, passing scenic sections of the Leie river around Drongen. In Vinderhoute, we explore some of the new hiking trails.

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Water and Meadow Birds at “De Westerplas” – bis

Another early evening photo shoot at “De Westerplas” in Sint-Martens-Latem with sightings of mainly the following species:

Canada goose Branta canadensis Canadese gans
Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa Grutto
Common shelduck Tadorna tadorna Bergeend
Grey heron Ardea cinerea Blauwe reiger

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Water and Meadow Birds at “De Westerplas”

In these troubled times, a little walk from home to the small wetland area named “De Westerplas” is luckily still permitted. Among other, the following water and meadow bird species can be observed at this time of the year:

Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa Grutto
Canada goose Branta canadensis Canadese gans
Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiaca Nijlgans
Common shelduck Tadorna tadorna Bergeend
Eurasian coot Fulica atra Meerkoet
Stork Ciconia ciconia Ooievaar
Northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus Kievit
Teal duck Anas crecca Wintertaling
Shoveler duck Spatula clypeata Slobeend
Gadwall duck Mareca strepera Krakeend

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Iceland 2019: Report

After 6 prior trips to Iceland between ’98 and ’18 (mainly for trekking), I take the rest of the family on a sightseeing and hiking tour of the island around Easter. The trip has a dramatic start, which forces us to throw plans around entirely and opt for an alternative scenario. This alternative however turns out beautifully, and we are able to enjoy an incredible variety of landscapes under good conditions, while the country slowly awakes from the dark and cold winter months.

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LLT: Achouffe

A surprisingly strenuous 16 km hike with the “Lustige Lochtingterters” (LLT) around the village of Achouffe in the Belgian Ardennes. Nice river valleys with plenty of beaver activity and wonderful vistas over the hilly and forested landscape. We see one beaver swimming towards its burrow and later on I also spot a beaver in the thicket. Only of the first sighting I manage to get a (unfortunately very bad) shot.

Quite a chilly day for the end of April, with a high of 8°C and showers of rain and hail.

Pictures > Belgium 2019-04-27: Achouffe

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