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 ...

The green heart of Tokyo

| Feb 20, 2011

The green heart of Tokyo

by Mark Brazil

An unexpected whickering whistle had me mystified. I circled, trying to pinpoint the direction it was coming from, and puzzled over its origin. It became clear that its source was quite high in the trees. There was something vaguely woodpecker-esque about the ringing call, ...

A dream comes true with the blues

| Jan 16, 2011

A dream comes true with the blues

by Mark Brazil

My last great wildlife adventure of 2010 began in darkness to the sound of waves crashing on an idyllic beach. My alarm woke me at 3:30 a.m. and, eager with anticipation, I rose quickly. Outside my guesthouse room, the swishing sound of a breeze ...

| Dec 19, 2010

The explosion of life: demise

by Mark Brazil

Second of two parts I consider the British naturalist, writer and broadcaster David Attenborough (now Sir David) to be one of the greatest figures alive in terms of environmental conservation and education. Thanks to him, the beauty, mystery and excitement of the world’s natural ...

| Nov 21, 2010

The explosion of life: uprising

by Mark Brazil

First of two parts I have a fascination for our natural world that has been with me since childhood, and I am inexpressibly fortunate in being able to travel — in part through work as a nature-tour guide — to see some of the ...

Taking up residence uninvited

| Sep 19, 2010

Taking up residence uninvited

by Mark Brazil

I could scarcely make out the small songbird moving secretively through the undergrowth in the gloom of the dark forest. Its calls were barely familiar to me and seemed so out of context that I didn’t recognize them at all at first. Then, by ...