Antwerp - Day 2, wherein I fall in love with an owl

I am so tired that I might fall asleep while I type, so this will be brief. Today, I watched the Eurasian black vultures (EBVs) with their researcher for a bit in the morning, and there I fell in love with a beautiful Milky Eagle Owl. In the early morning, before the zoo guests arrive, the owls and other raptors are much more animated. By the time the sun was coming out, this pretty girl was falling asleep. She is big and when she was up, was very cat-like and pouncy, hopping around her enclosure and coming up to the gate to see us, in case we had a bucket somewhere with some mice. THOSE EYES.milky eagle owl Also, I watched the EBVs' next door neighbors, the Andean condors, a bit. They have the largest raptor wingspan in the world, and they spent the morning stretching out dramatically.

The scientist studying Snowflake and Sir and their baby, Orion, is charmed with the tenderness exhibited in the very shared parental care. They nuzzle the chick and circle the wagons if something out of the normal is happening, like trash cans getting empty nearby.

I bought a veldgids (field guide) to birds of Europe in Dutch. And I am way too enamored with the Dutch bird names. Phalaropes, for example, are "frangepoots" and the European version of a red breasted nuthatch is a "boomklever." The book includes Latin names, so I can figure out any bird I see in it, with some help from the Internet.

Tomorrow is my tourist day. My only plans are to sample some Belgian specialties: fries and waffles and beer. Maybe walk around some very old buildings and the botanical garden.

To see the set of pictures from Day 2, click here: More raptors!