Reflecting on icons of 'cute'

| Sep 18, 2011

Reflecting on icons of 'cute'

Although watching wildlife is not for everyone, countless hordes of visitors flock to zoos when tiger cubs or a Giant Panda baby first go on show, when penguins are on parade, or when young animals are present in the petting section. Why is that? ...

A blood donor to the masses

| Aug 21, 2011

A blood donor to the masses

The bug days are here again. Shades of green are deepening in the debilitating heat of a summer that’s made more of a hardship this year due to the post-March 11 energy-saving efficiencies required of us. Some creatures thrive in warmth, sunshine and summer ...

Of predators and prey

| Jun 19, 2011

Of predators and prey

The forest floor is a maze, a tangle, an adventure — all depending on one’s scale. Stems of sasa (dwarf bamboo) obscure much of the ground. Here and there the dark-leafed stems of evergreen Japanese plum yew sway gently, contrasting with paler, newly grown ...

May 29, 2011

Serendipities at every turn on this island 'pearl'

The sound of Buddhist chanting grew louder as my travel companions and I entered the compound around the “temple,” where flickering torches lit the smiling faces of sedately circling monks as the warm tones of their voices carried through the impenetrable darkness on a ...

Japan's mammalian riches

| May 15, 2011

Japan's mammalian riches

I came across my first bumblebees of the season as they were busily draining the nectar from a broad swath of Blue Corydalis. The delicate flower stems nodding in a light breeze looked delightful in the sunshine, while above them frothy willow catkins were ...

The green heart of Tokyo

| Feb 20, 2011

The green heart of Tokyo

An unexpected whickering whistle had me mystified. I circled, trying to pinpoint the direction it was coming from, and puzzled over its origin. It became clear that its source was quite high in the trees. There was something vaguely woodpecker-esque about the ringing call, ...

A dream comes true with the blues

| Jan 16, 2011

A dream comes true with the blues

My last great wildlife adventure of 2010 began in darkness to the sound of waves crashing on an idyllic beach. My alarm woke me at 3:30 a.m. and, eager with anticipation, I rose quickly. Outside my guesthouse room, the swishing sound of a breeze ...

| Dec 19, 2010

The explosion of life: demise

Second of two parts I consider the British naturalist, writer and broadcaster David Attenborough (now Sir David) to be one of the greatest figures alive in terms of environmental conservation and education. Thanks to him, the beauty, mystery and excitement of the world’s natural ...

Brazil: the wild side

Dec 12, 2010

Brazil: the wild side

Statistics tell us one story of Brazil: It is the world’s fifth-largest country and South America’s largest by far, and it is an anomaly in being the only Portuguese-speaking nation on that continent. Brazil is home to the largest tropical forest on Earth and, ...