Flora and Fauna in the North Sea
The North Sea has a reputation for having a nasty temper, but you would too if you were in a very cold climate and confined to a small space during the long winter, no? See how plant and animal life manages to adapt and thrive around the shores of this tempestuous sea.
Wildlife safaris aren’t restricted to the African continent; Norway offers the equally thrilling northern version, where you can get close to king crabs, reindeer, the rare musk ox, elks and varied bird species in their natural habitats. Arise early and treat your ears to the beautiful dawn chorus or take to the water and watch for whales spouting.
In Denmark watch deer, foxes, hares and frogs and innumerable feathered friends, especially at the numerous bird sanctuaries. One of the most fascinating avian events is the Black Sun. This is what you call it when up to a million starlings gather in spring and autumn to do some stunt flying en masse before nodding off for the night. Seals both spotted and grey and porpoises habitually frolic in Danish waters in search of sustenance – or maybe just because it’s fun. They’re quite impressive, the males weighing up to 300 kilos!
The plant most associated with Holland must be the tulip, introduced to unheralded success centuries ago. Visit in the springtime to see the fields striped with ribbons of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils. Other plants of note live in the wilder reaches of the Wadden Islands; on Ameland stroll through the nature reserve Het to see rare flower species. The Waddensea, thanks to its diverse tidal and marsh habitats, is teeming with different species. Put your wellies on, hire a guide, and go make their acquaintance!
Enjoy Belgium’s abundant flora: take a long walk in the Foret de Soignes adjacent to Brussels’ south side, hike the Ardennes, or visit one of its arboreta and gardens. You may catch a glimpse of deer in Belgium and you’ll certainly hear scores of birds. To see animals, take the family to Planckendael Park or the Antwerp Zoo, one of the oldest and largest in Europe, housing over 4,000 animals.
Germany has remarkable natural landscapes. The Schleswig-Holstein Wattenmeer National Park comprises third of the biggest contiguous area of mudflats in the world, which extend from Holland's North Sea coast as far as Denmark. The Wattenmeer is a habitat for around 3,200 animal species. Starfish, crabs, snails, mussels and mud worms all live along the water's edge and masses of migratory birds nest and roost here. The salt marshes support a wide variety of plants, including sea lavender, red fescue and sea plantain.