Dancing Demoiselles of the desert

| Feb 17, 2013

Dancing Demoiselles of the desert

by Mark Brazil

In a dry, dusty, desert landscape, the clamoring of cranes seems so surprising. I am used to the great winter assembly of more than 10,000 cranes in Kyushu at Izumi, where they congregate on winter-fallow rice fields; and I regularly frequent the winter gatherings ...

Beware: Devil birds at work in the woods

| Dec 16, 2012

Beware: Devil birds at work in the woods

by Mark Brazil

The final months of the year seem something of an afterthought following the delightful palette of autumn colors; they offer only fickle moods and fickle weather. On November or December days of crisp, cold sunshine, when distant views beckon and late-flying dragonflies and late-flowering ...

Singing the praises of greenery

| Oct 21, 2012

Singing the praises of greenery

by Mark Brazil

This year’s annual hop between the hemispheres in my capacity as a globetrotting nature-tour guide took me to my namesake country, Brazil, with strange and unusual hopes. Following the almost unprecedented heat of this year’s August in Hokkaido, I wondered if, for once, September’s ...

Living the botanical high life

| Sep 16, 2012

Living the botanical high life

by Mark Brazil

Japan, though it has a very different image, is on the same latitude as southern Europe and North Africa, while my nearest city, Sapporo, is oddly enough on the same east-west parallel as France’s boisterously cosmopolitan second city of Marseille on the Mediterranean. Tokyo, ...

Rock on down to a geopark near you

| Jun 17, 2012

Rock on down to a geopark near you

by Mark Brazil

To naturalists and hikers, the renown of 810-meter Mount Apoi near the southern tip of Hokkaido towers mightily above its lowly elevation. For the view alone it offers of the Pacific coastline south to spectacular Cape Erimo, it’s worth the easy trek up this ...

The wonder of feathers

| May 20, 2012

The wonder of feathers

by Mark Brazil

A soft flake of seeming sky falls, wafts and floats earthward catching the light. Lightly, and soft as gossamer, it lands to add a splash of color to the greenery of spring. It may be no more than a tiny feather that’s fallen from ...