dinsdag 25 oktober 2011

The end.

I write this after a wet day of work, it's the first evening I have the time to finish this story. We're back to reality...we're home! We had an awesome stay at Tanja's place in North-Surrey. She almost begged us to stay but everything in life comes to an end, thank you so much Tanja Tija Minga and Zz, pure girlpower!
We didn't sleep much the last night after an awesome eve of pre-pumpkin-carving! I'm part of the BoomShaKaLaKaBoom-family contest now, maybe I'll win the 2011-edition.

We had a long trip back to Belgium, it took us almost 20 hours to get here but we made it and so did Thurber!!! We'de like to say thank you to all the people we've met and to everybody that made it easier for us to come aound on this awesome journey! Beware folks, this is not the end of Meet The Moose.


Thomas Hannah Thurber in Ghent!

zondag 16 oktober 2011


She took us across 25 000 km of road, sand and stones.
Rocks even...sometimes.
She kept us warm at night and gave us shelter wherever we went.
Through rain, wind and truckloads of snow.
 She wasn't the best investment after all...but what the hell.
We made it through the four seasons in a country full of challenges and wilderness.
It's a strange feeling but in the end, relief conquers disappointment!
We finally sold her, so long Dear Annabel.
Alberta, here she comes...WildRoseCountry.

All we've left is good memories...and some oil on the driveway!
Goodluck Adam and a Happy Birthday.

The BargainShop.

zaterdag 15 oktober 2011

Vancouver Area.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Vancouver's Top Attraction, this 137 m long bridge crosses the Capilano Canyon at a hight of 70 m. It sounds impressive but in reality, it's not a big deal. After all we've been through from east to west and from north to south, this adventure didn't really give us something extra eventhough we had a lot of fun. There is a park and trail connected to the bridge with a lot of interesting info about the rainforest and the importance of water in the cycle of life. From the cliffwalk across the bridge to the walk through the treetops, Thurber was again...the hero of the day.

Stanley Park

This 404 hectare urban park is situated next to downtown Vancouver. It's a mixture of trails, forests, lakes, nature and culture. We went for an afternoon walk on a sunny day on one of the many forest trails and along Lost Lagoon from where you have a nice view on Downtown Vancouver, city of glass! And eventhough winter is coming, many flowers are still blooming in the colourful park-gardens.

Last Canadian Weekend Folks!
I hope y'all are ready for us...

Thanks-Tija's Birthday-Giving.


We had an awesome Thanksgiving dinner and I still don't know why I didn't take a picture of the massive Turkey Tanja made for us! October 10th is also Tija's Birthday! Tija's eleven now and her favourite colour is blue! Hannah made her a hat and a scarf for the upcoming winter and we gave her Bartje, the Siamese Fighting Fish, who's name is now Boat. We also made Berry-tarts and they were approved by everybody, including Zizi.

And don't forget, Halloween is coming! But as you all know me and my fellow-travellers, Hannah and Thurber...will be heading home before skeletons, ghosts and spooky pumpkins will have a chance to scare us...

Trick or treat...

dinsdag 11 oktober 2011

Westham Island.

Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary is a protected natural area on the westside of Lower Mainland. This beautiful piece of nature is the place to be for birdwatching this time of year. A lot of birds from all over the country come down here to spend the wintermonths. We saw a lot of shorebirds, ducks, geese, songbirds and raptors.

The Sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) arrived when we were walking along the many trails of Reifel. We must have seen thousand of Snow geese (Chen caerulescens) passing by and we saw some Northern Pintail ducks (Anas acuta) and many more. Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus), Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) and Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) were hunting along the shoreline. On our way home, we stopped by a big farm to buy some fresh fruit and veggies. You can tell...Halloween is coming!

Thanksgiving in Canada today, Turkeydinner tonight!


zaterdag 8 oktober 2011

Autumn In Burns Bog.

Burns Bog, an ecological treasure in the heart of Delta. These 40 square kilometers of acidic wetland form the green lungs of Lower Mainland. Burns Bog is the largest undeveloped urban wilderness in Canada. Over a 150 species of birds and 28 species of mammals have been recorded living in this area.

This urban hike brings back many amusing memories of beautiful sceneries from east to west and from south to north. All stories come to an end and every end is the start of a new beginning...


Thomas Hannah Thurber en Bartje.

woensdag 5 oktober 2011

OWL - Final Chapter.

I finished my training at OWL yesterday, week four and five were a mix of interesting cases, a lot of bird handling, humble lessons and emotions. I had a great time at OWL, I learned a lot at this facility in a very short period. Staff and volunteers gave me a lot of trust and involved me in a lot of actions. I was very fortunate to work with these experienced people, many thanks to all of you! I had a lot of fun with other international and canadian volunteers! This crazy duo, Liron and Jordan even tried to train a chicken.

Meet Snoopy, one of Liron's favourites...This Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) is OWL's smallest permanent and often goes to schools and events to teach people all about owls and the facility. They have an average weight of 80g and are ounce per ounce one of the most dangerous raptors! I had the privilege to feed Stella (Buteo jamaicensis) on the glove a couple of times and to work with the new glovetrained Barn Owl (Tyto Alba), Alba.

Alba will be a new educational bird, she never recovered from a humerus fracture in her right wing. OWL already has Sarah as a permanent Barn Owl but she's not always in the right mood to go on off-sites. She spends her days on a perch in the common room. Hopefully, Alba will do better...I can't help it, I love Barn Owls!

Red-tailed Hawks are difficult birds to work with, these raptors kill their prey by asphyxiation. They'll literally squeeze the life out of their prey and that's what they'll try to do with your hand or arm is they grab you before you grab them. You always have to be careful and alert around these magnificient raptors. One of my favourites at the facility is Ladyhawk.

A lot of people mix up juvenile Bald Eagles with Golden Eagles eventhough it are completely different birds and if you take a closer look you will see what I mean. They aren't even family...juvenile Bald versus juvenile Golden, find the ten differences.

An interesting project at OWL is the Poolcage. A rehab cage for Ospreys and Bald Eagles where they can test their fishing skills on the trout in the pool. The juvenile Osprey that flies over the pool is the same bird that came in on my first week at OWL (see picture week one). It's awesome to see the progress this bird made in a couple of weeks.

This was an unforgettale experience for me. This first introduction to raptor-rehab and falconry opened a lot of new perspectives for the future. Unfortunately, you have to deal with the hard moments as well. One of OWL's favourite permanents, Goldie, lost her long battle against a chronical infection of her feet, OWL had her since 1992. Luckely there's Pygar, a young and powerful Golden Eagle trained by Barb to take her place. It was to early for me to get him on the glove so all I could do was watch and learn.

So long raptors and owls, I'll be back one day! We count our days in this amazing country, almost time to go home...The Meet The Moose Crew is still standing, see y'all soon! And hey...maybe you'll all meet Baba soon! He's big and around 4 kg...

You bet'cha...


zaterdag 24 september 2011

OWL Rehabilitation Society - Week Four.

Week four was a one full of 'hands on' experience. I handled several birds and got involved in some interesting cases. It's not the best thing for the birds to take pictures at all times and mostly when it's interesting picture-time I got my hands ful of Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Barred Owl, Merlin (Falco columbarius), Great Horned (Bubo virginianus) or Osprey (Pandion haliaetus). This juvenile had a bloodfeather so we had to bring it in for a check up.

As I said before, we have some interesting permanent birds. Meet some of our Front-Ed friends. These birds are all placed in pairs or groups and are mainly used as forsterparents for juvenile birds. They give to the youngster what we can't give...'Birdmanners'.

Serenity- female Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca).

Goldie - female Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).

Rusty - male Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) -
light morph.

Casper - female Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) -
sub-arctic morph.

These pictures show you why they call the magnificient Golden Eagle 'Golden'. They also show some interesting morph-types. North America's Birds of Prey are geographically variable in colour. Casper for example is a light grey-white morph of the Great Horned because she was used to the life up north, a lot of snow and a different sub-arctic landscape. Great Horned Owls in southern BC are darkbrown-grey. She's the Bombdiver by the way. And I'd like to introduce you to our new pet, don't ask me how this little hairy guy ended up in our bed...

Some voices whisper that it was hiding in my hair! We're babysitting the Farty-Bumbum Trio, we're still enjoying the sun but we did welcome some showers, we're still trying to teach our hound some manners and I'm waiting to taste Hannah's first and without a doubt delicious cheesecake!


Thurb-Han-Tho-Living the LowLife.

vrijdag 16 september 2011

OWL Rehabilitation Society - Week Three.

Meet Rob Hope, Rob is OWL's mainsupervisor when it comes to Bird Care! He's training this female Peregrine Falcon (Falco perigrinus) to hunt again. It's an intense proces of mutual respect between falcon and falconner. After the training is over, this bird will hopefully be released with succes.

A lot of International Volunteers join OWL to learn all about raptors. Liron (Germany), Pascal (Swiss) and I (Belgium) often do jobs or check-ups together. Field Flights contains 11 Bald Eagles in rehab, five of these big birds are ready for release. It's always exciting in this cage, we feed, we clean or we mow the fields! You need eyes on your back, that's for sure...These pictures are Liron's by the way, thanks mate!


I always enjoy doing the check-up in Interim Training Flights. This cage contains Owls and Hawks in rehab. Two Barred Owls (Strix varia) are definitely ready for release, the moment you throw the mice on the platform they come and get it superfast which is a wonderful scene to look at...enjoy!

And sometimes there's a collision...: )

Whenever there's a dead bird we can practice several injections on it in the Medical Room. We do subcutaneous and intramuscular injections and try eight-wraps around the wings. I all looks so easy...on a dead bird! Sonja and Liron try very hard to bring this Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) back alive ; ).

We handfeed several glovetrained birds on a daily base. These birds are all permanently injured or human imprint. Experienced volunteers take them to schools and events to teach people all about raptors. Sarah, a four year old Barn Owl (Tyto alba), raised by people, spends her days on a perch in the common room and gets her fly-training in the Inside Interim every day. It's very interesting to follow her training up close or to do it yourself.

The beard is gone...Not only Rob trains the young Peregrine, Barb and Martina take over when Rob's not around. The first step of the training is the jump to the glove. They place the bird on a perch and she has to jump a couple of feet to the food on the glove. At this point, the falcon is still leashed because she might take off and it's way to early for her.

Have you met Pygar in the header? Handsome juvenile Golden Boy!
MeetTheMooseCrew still standing and living the life.
Almost time to go home...


Sideshow Deejay and Pervert.