Birds of a feather

| Mar 18, 2012

Birds of a feather

by Mark Brazil

A crescent moon is just visible through the treetops, with Venus, Jupiter and Saturn aligned diagonally above it crisp and clear in a frost-sharpened sky — planetary heralds of the peppering of stars soon to be revealed as night falls. The mercury is plummeting ...

Sealing a connection with nature

| Jan 15, 2012

Sealing a connection with nature

by Mark Brazil

The cliff-ringed cape known as Notoro Misaki stands as a massive natural breakwater west of the city of Abashiri in northeastern Hokkaido, sheltering it from some of the might of the ocean. Under a summer sun and a vast near-cobalt sky, the white-flecked, blue-green ...

Reflecting on icons of 'cute'

| Sep 18, 2011

Reflecting on icons of 'cute'

by Mark Brazil

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

by Mark Brazil

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

by Mark Brazil

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 ...

Japan's mammalian riches

| May 15, 2011

Japan's mammalian riches

by Mark Brazil

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 ...

Viewing wildlife through a lens

| Apr 17, 2011

Viewing wildlife through a lens

I grew up in Britain, which is a crane-free zone, so from the very first time I arrived in Japan I was dreaming of seeing the iconic red-crowned cranes of Hokkaido. How much more iconic as a crane can you get than being dubbed ...