Birds' heaven and hell

| Aug 20, 2008

Birds' heaven and hell

by Mark Brazil

It is August already, and it’s a matter of life and death for certain seabirds. While southern species will already have run the gauntlet of the gulls, in the north it’s happening now. On clifftops and rock stacks, great pyriform eggs, patterned and blotched ...

Lives and a death

| Jul 16, 2008

Lives and a death

by Mark Brazil

CHUKOTKA, Russia — This month, instead of writing this column as usual at my desk in Hokkaido, I am writing from a desk on board the Clipper Odyssey as we cross the Gulf of Anadyr in Russia’s far northeastern Chukotka region. Our voyage began ...

Aloft with ospreys, ultimate Fisher Kings

| Jun 18, 2008

Aloft with ospreys, ultimate Fisher Kings

by Mark Brazil

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

by Mark Brazil

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 ...

Egrets' epitome of elegance

| Mar 19, 2008

Egrets' epitome of elegance

by Mark Brazil

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 ...

There's no time like snow time!

| Dec 19, 2007

There's no time like snow time!

by Mark Brazil

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 ...

Serendipity twice over

| Sep 19, 2007

Serendipity twice over

by Mark Brazil

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 ...