Seasons seen out of sync

| May 16, 2007

Seasons seen out of sync

I really thought I had missed out on spring this year. Having left Hokkaido when it was still blanketed with snow, I then spent a prolonged spell in South America before island-hopping across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It all left me overly warm ...

Cuteness belies killers' true nature

| Apr 18, 2007

Cuteness belies killers' true nature

Movement in the snow; the surface bulges, bursts, and out pops a creamy-faced creature with round black eyes like tiny beads and a stare that seems to say “I can kill.” Powder snow dusts its head as it looks around. Then it’s gone, like ...

Viewing nature in the best possible way

| Mar 21, 2007

Viewing nature in the best possible way

Ibegan writing natural history notes back in 1968; the immature handwriting in my first dogeared notebook is a reminder that then I was just a lad of 13. I was growing up in semi-rural Worcestershire in central England, and that was the year when, ...

A wildlife odyssey to rank with any

| Feb 21, 2007

A wildlife odyssey to rank with any

Being both a columnist and an author is to be constantly in the midst of a kind of battle — between short-term bursts of effort and rapid gratification, and long-term strategic planning, exertion, and inevitably delayed gratification. This battle is fought out over a ...

Seasonal waves of gold

| Jan 17, 2007

Seasonal waves of gold

I am fresh back from an exciting wildlife watching adventure in the national parks of Madhya Pradesh and Assam, India (more of that in a subsequent column). Thanks to the latest Internet and satellite software, I can zoom in to view the very area ...

The swimming dead

| Dec 20, 2006

The swimming dead

The midwinter solstice is here again, and our nights have reached their longest and our days their shortest, driven by our planet’s sun-centered rotation and the tipping of our orbiting Earth. In the endless cycling of the seasons, it’s a time of year that ...

Lure of money set to empty the oceans

| Nov 15, 2006

Lure of money set to empty the oceans

Afriend of mine who lives in the picturesque port city of Otaru, western Hokkaido, is a fish-hunter. He loves to dive, and hunts for fish with a spear gun — seafood is his manna from heaven. Visiting him for dinner recently, I was astonished ...

Slow down to savor the turning seasons

| Oct 18, 2006

Slow down to savor the turning seasons

The autumnal season of change is upon us once more, with delights for eye, ear and nose. As the thermometer dips, rises and falls erratically, some days seem almost balmy as if it is late spring or early summer; others carry a stronger hint ...

Nature's pulse at Asia's heart

| Sep 20, 2006

Nature's pulse at Asia's heart

It’s September, autumn is around the corner, and here in Hokkaido where I live we have already had the first dusting of snow. This has been a long summer of travels for me. As soon as my teaching commitments at university were completed, I ...

Flourishing on nutrients few

| Aug 16, 2006

Flourishing on nutrients few

As the heat and humidity of summer build up, my favored relief is to head for the hills. Last weekend I even managed to slide down a snowbank, and that really cooled me off! Snow lingers late in the higher mountains here in Hokkaido ...