Brace yourself — I did say 'cute'!

| Apr 18, 2010

Brace yourself — I did say 'cute'!

When did you last go out into the woods at night? In this age of media-induced fears, and with far more than half the world’s population now being urban- dwellers, fewer of us brave the outdoors even during daylight hours, let alone at night. ...

Savoring the beauty of winter's final fling

| Mar 21, 2010

Savoring the beauty of winter's final fling

An indefinable quality in the light somehow signals the air temperature. Airflows from the north and northwest have, for many days this late February just gone, kept Hokkaido frigid. An intangible crispness in the atmosphere combines with the luminosity to forewarn of seriously subzero ...

Singing the praises of sparrows

| Feb 21, 2010

Singing the praises of sparrows

In a rush of small wings, a fluttering, chirruping, congregation of familiar birds — Eurasian tree sparrows — descended on the bush in front of me. They chattered noisily among themselves, each shifting its position almost constantly as if unsure whether it had the ...

'Tigers' and naturalists of many stripes

| Jan 17, 2010

'Tigers' and naturalists of many stripes

I enter the forest and soon the rhythmic swish-swish of my skis over the snow mesmerizes me. This is my first foray of the new year in Hokkaido, making tracks in the lowland forest of Nopporo close to home just east of Sapporo. As ...

Tuning in to Alaskan bears

| Dec 20, 2009

Tuning in to Alaskan bears

With temperatures falling steadily, amazing things are happening in the natural world. Among plants, insects, birds and mammals there are so many different strategies for coping with the cold season that my head spins trying to grasp them all as wildlife sightings change week ...

Notable memories and ones forgotten

| Nov 15, 2009

Notable memories and ones forgotten

On my most recent journey overseas, to southern Brazil, a fellow traveler gave me a large Moleskine-brand notebook. Though grateful for the present, at first I was uncertain what to do with it. I generally use a particular-size pocket notebook to write up all ...

Wildlife on your doorstep

| Oct 18, 2009

Wildlife on your doorstep

To be brutally honest, wildlife photography is mostly about having the means to get to amazing places, where wildlife still abounds. Then it takes heaps of patience. And the final ingredient is a good eye to capture the moment. Oh, yes, and a camera. ...

Back where they belong

| Aug 16, 2009

Back where they belong

High in the fork of a tall tree on a wooded slope close to narrow rice paddies on Sado Island in the Sea of Japan off Nigata Prefecture was a flimsy, ragged nest made of twigs. It didn’t look like anything special, but its ...