What a curious wonder the walrus is

| Aug 18, 2005

What a curious wonder the walrus is

by Mark Brazil

The walrus is a peculiar, even comical, creature — and not only in Lewis Carroll’s 1872 poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” “The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes / and ships / and sealing-wax / Of ...

Birds of no feather

| Jul 21, 2005

Birds of no feather

by Mark Brazil

It’s a strange fact but true, that if you hike regularly in the Japanese mountains, you’ll see some amazing sights — and I don’t mean just magnificent scenery. Up there, you’ll find folk hiking without water bottles, peak-baggers wearing training shoes, even ladies in ...

Worlds of nature are just a click away

| Jun 16, 2005

Worlds of nature are just a click away

by Mark Brazil

Although I’ve only just packed away my skiing gear (the remnant snowfields have crept too close to the peaks to make the physical cost of carrying heavy boots and skis so far uphill worth the downhill benefits), and though mountain cherry blossoms have only ...

Birders' islet of delights

| May 19, 2005

Birders' islet of delights

by Mark Brazil

The last month has been one of considerable atmospheric variety here where I live in Hokkaido, with laggardly spring weather lapsing back to winter sunshine and warmth, then being followed by snow and cold winds. It has been playing havoc with blossoming times, bumblebee ...

Ancient birds, Stone Age music

| Mar 17, 2005

Ancient birds, Stone Age music

by Mark Brazil

All winter long, the cacophony of sound at Sunayu, on the eastern shore of Lake Kussharo in eastern Hokkaido, is almost entirely comprised if the bugling and whooping of swans. There, Whooper Swans crowd into the narrow ice-free strip along the lake edge where ...

Natural numbers games

| Feb 17, 2005

Natural numbers games

by Mark Brazil

As island nations go, I have always maintained that Japan sits on a motherlode of biodiversity; it is rich in so many senses of the word. That seems fair enough, Japan is an extraordinary place; it comprises a diverse array of island groups within ...

Serendipities abound in a wintery wonderland

| Dec 16, 2004

Serendipities abound in a wintery wonderland

by Mark Brazil

Recently I spotted a Quetzal from Central America, a Snowy Owl from the Arctic, a Short-tailed Albatross from a remote Pacific island — and a hovering Skylark. Amazingly they were all together, along with woodpeckers and barbets, thrushes and flycatchers, finches, frigate birds, other ...

The changes that come what may

| Sep 16, 2004

The changes that come what may

by Mark Brazil

The arrival of just one dramatic, even devastating, typhoon, storming to the center of the seasonal stage like a massively overblown diva with a case of bad timing, is enough to signal autumn is on its way. This year the global signs of the ...