Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Back from Belgium

Well, we're back from Belgium. Brussels was awesome. We drank plenty of beer and ate more chocolate and frites than any human should be allowed to. From a birding standpoint, I decided to pass on the birding in favor of the wonderful sightseeing. I did manage to get a few pictures of birds and butterflies.


This European Peacock butterfly was found on a butterfly bush in a park. Butterfly bushes are EVERYWHERE in Belgium. I guess it's considered invasive in parts of Europe. This is very possible since it was seen growing in many cracks and crevices, as well as in many open places.


This is a juvenile Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) - more related to our American Robin than to our blackbirds. The calls of the bird were immediately recognizable as a Turdus thrush.


Carrion Crows are the replacement for our American Crow in Belgium.

Overall, I saw only 20 species of birds in the 30-40 minutes I spent birding in the park in Antwerp. 10 of those birds were lifers. I'd love to go back to Europe someday and see more of their birds.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too right Butterfly bush (Buddleja) is considered invasive. Apparently it costs thousands every year to remove from railway tracks.

On the upside it does have pretty decent wildlife benefit and seems to favour a niche that none of the common european species favours so isn't displacing much either.

Patrick Belardo said...

Tai,

Thanks for the info. I'm curious as to why it hasn't happened here. It would seem that the climates and habitats were similar to that of Europe and the UK.

Anonymous said...

I guess it could be that your winters are too cold or not cold enough for seed to survive or to trigger germination? In the wild this species grows on scree and clinging to tenuous little lumps of earth on mountain sides - here it seems ideally suited to growing through cracks in concrete or in gravel as a result

LauraHinNJ said...

That butterfly pic is beautiful!

Patrick Belardo said...

Tai,

That's one that I'm going to have to research. People all over the east coast plant that stuff. I would think it could take root somewhere as an invasive. I'm glad it hasn't!

Laura,

It was a real beauty. Lucky for us, there were several of them there along with some Red Admirals. Other than a few Cabbage Whites flying in their native land, those were the only butterflies we saw.

Anonymous said...

Can that juvenile Blackbird be sexed??

Patrick Belardo said...

Good question anonymous... my guess was that it was a female and not a juvenile. I guess the lighter brown coloring makes it an "unsexable" juvenile?

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