Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen is a nature reserve on the outskirts of the Belgian city of Ghent. It lies mainly in the district of Mariakerke and covers 230 hectares. It mostly consists of wet, often flooded, meadows interspersed with ditches and canals, and is an important wintering area for water birds. It acts as a buffer zone between the city and the R4 ring road's noise-reducing barriers have been erected to lessen the road's impact on the wildlife.[1][2]

There are three main trails through the reserve and at the centre is the Valkenhuis or Falcon House, a historic building previously used by falconers for the training of birds for the Counts of Flanders. A visitor information centre was built in 2006 at the entrance to the reserve.[1]

Natuurreservaat bourgoyen ossemeersen1
Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen nature reserve


Sunset, Bourgoyen, Belgium
Willow trees at sunset

The reserve is best known for the large numbers of ducks and geese that overwinter here on the flooded grassland. The commonest wildfowl are wigeon, teal and shovelers. Also present are smaller numbers of pintail, gadwall, shelduck, tufted duck and pochard. There are also Canada geese and barnacle geese, neither of which are native species. Other water birds include lapwings, curlews, ruff and snipe.[3]

Some of these waterfowl are present in the reserve throughout the year and others are summer visitors. Lapwings, gadwall and black-tailed godwits breed here as do the great crested grebe, the little grebe and the kingfisher, and there is a large colony of cormorants at the west end of the park.[3][4][5]

Small passerine birds nesting here include the reed warbler, the marsh warbler, the sedge warbler, the reed bunting, the willow tit, the bluethroat, the common grasshopper warbler and the Cetti's warbler. Other nesting species include the hobby hawk, the Eurasian sparrowhawk, the lesser spotted woodpecker, the cuckoo and the tawny owl.[3]

Near the water are dragonflies and in the water are many species of aquatic invertebrates. Amphibians present in the park include smooth and Alpine newts, the common toad, the common frog and the green frog. Land mammals include hares and rabbits, and many species of bats, mice and shrews. The predatory mammals in the reserve include the red fox, the stoat, the weasel, the pole cat and the beech marten.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen" (in Dutch). The Flemish Land Agency. 2010. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2014-12-09.
  2. ^ "Nature Domain De Bourgoyen". Visit Gent. Retrieved 2014-12-09.
  3. ^ a b c d "Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen" (in Dutch). Natuurpunt Gent. Retrieved 2014-12-09.
  4. ^ "Excursion Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen" (PDF). 6th European Conference on Ecological Restoration. Society For Ecological Restoration – Europe. 2008-09-10. p. 4. Retrieved 2014-12-20.
  5. ^ Koen Devos; Tom Ysebaert; Eckhart Kuijken (December 2001). "Waterfowl in Flanders During the Winter Semester 1997/1998" (PDF). Flanders Marine Institute. p. 26. Retrieved 2014-12-20.

Coordinates: 51°3′40.69″N 3°40′28.96″E / 51.0613028°N 3.6747111°E


Drongen (French: Tronchiennes) is a district within the city of Ghent (Arrondissement of Ghent).

Drongen is divided into three parishes: Drongen, Luchteren and Baarle.


Ghent (; Flemish: Gent [ɣɛnt] (listen); French: Gand [ɡɑ̃] (listen)) is a city and a municipality in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, and the second largest municipality in Belgium, after Antwerp. The city originally started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe, with some 50,000 people in 1300. It is a port and university city.

The municipality comprises the city of Ghent proper and the surrounding suburbs of Afsnee, Desteldonk, Drongen, Gentbrugge, Ledeberg, Mariakerke, Mendonk, Oostakker, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Sint-Kruis-Winkel, Wondelgem and Zwijnaarde. With 260,467 inhabitants in the beginning of 2018, Ghent is Belgium's second largest municipality by number of inhabitants. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,205 km2 (465 sq mi) and has a total population of 594,582 as of 1 January 2008, which ranks it as the fourth most populous in Belgium. The current mayor of Ghent, Mathias De Clercq is from the liberal & democratic party Open VLD.

The ten-day-long Ghent Festival (Gentse Feesten in Dutch) is held every year and attended by about 1–1.5 million visitors.


Willows, also called sallows and osiers, form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Most species are known as willow, but some narrow-leaved shrub species are called osier, and some broader-leaved species are referred to as sallow (from Old English sealh, related to the Latin word salix, willow). Some willows (particularly arctic and alpine species) are low-growing or creeping shrubs; for example, the dwarf willow (Salix herbacea) rarely exceeds 6 cm (2.4 in) in height, though it spreads widely across the ground.

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