Aloft with ospreys, ultimate Fisher Kings

| Jun 18, 2008

Aloft with ospreys, ultimate Fisher Kings

There is a moment of commitment; a glint of scales just beneath the water’s surface is perhaps the trigger. As the bright-yellow eyes register the rippled light patterns, the brain is already identifying them as potential food, computing distance, assessing direction, considering depth. The ...

A nature sanctuary for the ages

| May 21, 2008

A nature sanctuary for the ages

Regular readers know that my usual sphere is the biosphere and that I typically pursue wildlife in the wilds. Occasionally, though, one should step beyond home turf and try dipping a toe into a new stream of consciousness. Such was my good fortune last ...

Omissions and risky commissions

| Apr 16, 2008

Omissions and risky commissions

For several years now I have been at work on a new book — to be titled “Field Guide to the Birds of East Asia” — that is due to be published later this year. You may think it would be an easy matter ...

Egrets' epitome of elegance

| Mar 19, 2008

Egrets' epitome of elegance

Late afternoon sunlight was slanting low, glinting like liquid gold, reflecting in the narrow strip of water between broad expanses of snow. A bugling flight of swans planed down on bowed wings, their white plumage appearing somehow creamy against the snowy backdrop as they ...

Snow season's not what it was . . .

| Jan 16, 2008

Snow season's not what it was . . .

“Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail.” (Traditional proverb) It’s cold, but I feel the warming rhythm of my pace developing as I get into my stride. There is a mountain ahead and I have set my mind on reaching ...

There's no time like snow time!

| Dec 19, 2007

There's no time like snow time!

As much as I enjoy the rich biodiversity of the Tropics — as anyone who read my column here last month on the wildlife of Brazil will know — my favorite season is winter. Somehow it is in my blood. When temperatures start dipping ...

| Nov 21, 2007

Biodiversity to take your breath away

I promised that I would write more about my recent visit to South America, and as the first snows are now regularly dusting the mountains on view from my window here in Hokkaido — and even coating my balcony — it’s hard not to ...

Individual variations and a sense of identity

| Oct 17, 2007

Individual variations and a sense of identity

I have recently returned to Japan from five astonishing weeks in the neotropics. Exploring and observing the riches of Brazil’s Atlantic rain forest and Pantanal (the world’s biggest wetland area) has left me overwhelmed by their biodiversity. It seemed that no matter how many ...

Serendipity twice over

| Sep 19, 2007

Serendipity twice over

On a calm evening, I looked out from my balcony toward the mountains to the west, beyond Sapporo. Those distant peaks stretched in an apparently unbroken chain, from the gently sloping flanks of volcanic Mount Tarumae at the southernmost end, rising and falling northward ...