Tag - wild-watch

 
 

WILD WATCH

Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Mar 7, 2015
Flight of the swan offers natural lesson
Each year the "angels of winter" wing in and out of Japan. They arrive, clamoring, on the gnarled back of autumn storms, their wings and the first snowflakes flurry together as if they, too, are an integral part of the changing season.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Feb 7, 2015
Natural strategies to cope with winter
Jan. 19 is officially the coldest day of winter. Called daikan (major cold), the day coincided with some truly bitter weather in northern Japan this year. The mercury plummeted to minus 27.3 in Furano, central Hokkaido, and minus 31.3 in Esashi in the southwest, and remained cold for at least a week. Sitting indoors, I am largely oblivious to the temperature outside. I'm fortunate enough to be insulated from the cold by barriers formed by windows, walls, multiple layers of clothing and a decent heater. I feel almost subtropical in comparison to the frosty landscape outside my window.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Jan 10, 2015
Modern technology aids whale research
In my last column of 2014, "Twelve ways to spend 2015 with nature," I mentioned the possibility of taking a whale-watching trip to the Ogasawara Islands. Ignore the international media hype about the country's pelagic whaling industry — it's a dying custom; instead, focus on the fact that Japan has a wonderful array of whale-watching opportunities up its sleeves. Commercial tourism ventures offer trips to locations scattered along more than 3,000 km of the Japanese archipelago, from Shiretoko Peninsula in northeastern Hokkaido to Zamami Island, Okinawa, in the deep south.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Dec 13, 2014
Twelve ways to spend 2015 with nature
As 2014 winds down and the promise of another year lies ahead, it's time to come up with a few New Year's resolutions. Instead of planning for the future or trying some new-fad diets or exercise regimes, how about a resolution to spend a little more time connecting with our wonderful natural world?
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Nov 8, 2014
Hanging around the threat of extinction
Night falls; stars are showing; yet I'm still perspiring. We set off in darkness into a night filled with hope. Our goal is to see one of the rarest creatures on Earth, a species once considered extinct, and for which even now fate hangs in the balance.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Oct 11, 2014
A perilous flight path of life and death
As I emerged into the pre-dawn darkness of Sept. 13, I was greeted by a brief flicker of movement. I wandered along one of the upper decks of The World, past the gently slopping pool with its ring of still-vacant sun loungers. I peered at the surprisingly real potted bushes, staring at their dense green foliage in the hope of finding life among them; instead I found it scurrying across the decking and under a chair!
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Sep 13, 2014
Losing count of words for groups of animals
A recent brief visit to eastern England, my annual pilgrimage to speak at the British Birdwatching Fair, has stirred childhood memories of a nursery rhyme, stirred teenage memories of my first natural-history rambles, and was a subtle reminder of how quickly our language is evolving.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Aug 9, 2014
Gazing in awe on nature's flying bullet, the brown booby
"Sleekly elegant" is a befitting way to describe a catwalk model in the fashion world, suitable even for an ultramodern city tower or a bullet train, and appropriate on the race circuit for describing a pleasingly aerodynamic two-seater convertible. It is a surprisingly relevant way too for describing certain birds — the brown booby, for example, the large seabird that effortlessly kept pace with the 490-ton ferry Hahajima Maru as it plied its way from Chichijima to Hahajima in the Ogasawara Islands south of Tokyo.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Jul 12, 2014
An audience with an island menace
By 8 o'clock on a warm early summer morning on Chichijima, one of Tokyo's Ogasawara Islands, bright sunshine was already threatening to overwhelm my light-sensitive eyes and the heat was cranking up in preparation for what I refer to as reptilian warmth.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Jun 7, 2014
Japan's efforts bring back 'extinct' species
Oriental stork 73; crested ibis 82; red-crowned crane 1,143; short-tailed albatross estimated 3,550. Those numbers of wild birds in Japan seem perilously low — and they are, especially when considered alongside the Japanese population of 126.75 million people — but in reality they are good news!
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
May 10, 2014
Rhododendrons, azaleas: blooming marvels of the plant world
Nothing tops turning a corner on a trail and encountering a sudden splash of pink, red or gold amongst the greenery.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Apr 12, 2014
Swimming upstream to become a dragon
While shuffling back from my early-morning dip in a hot spring at Kambayashi Onsen, I noticed the fish in the garden pond. They had gathered, heads together, in a strange starlike cluster, as if for a piscine tête-à-tête. They were languorously wafting their tails slowly through the water as if barely alive.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Mar 8, 2014
Noisy bulbuls change with the seasons
On cold winter mornings the bulbuls come squawking their full-throated calls as they swoop onto bird-feeders, their white-tipped gray breast feathers appearing frosted by the chill.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Feb 8, 2014
Weather in Japan: from balmy to barmy
The division of Japan into distinct climatic zones means that anyone traveling around the country will normally encounter quite predictable demands in terms of clothing requirements; while for those in any one area the local weather forecast will be correct more often than not.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Jan 11, 2014
Seasons come and go — but when?
Another new year has arrived and a Hokkaido blizzard is tearing past my window, drifting snow onto every surface as if it means to drown out the world in whiteness. Thankfully it also brings a muffling silence into which thoughts pop and crackle.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Dec 7, 2013
Tales from on the trail of Okinawa's rail
Thirty-one years ago I set off on a quest to look for a species so rare that it seemed as mythical as a Phoenix. Not only was it almost unknown, but also the Okinawa Rail had only recently been discovered. It was, as reporters like to say, a species new to science. Nothing was known about its numbers, its distribution, its habitat or its behavior — yet, with the audacity of youth, I set off in search of one. The first specimen cited in the few extant records was from the northern third of Okinawa, the forested hills known as Yambaru. Hence the bird I went in search of was the Yambaru Kuina.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Nov 9, 2013
Mammals choose when to reward my quest
My thoughts were miles away as I crossed the parking lot outside my Hokkaido home. Then a nagging doubt intruded: Had there — or had there not — just been a formless blur of movement on the ground beyond my car? I had certainly not seen anything, so if there had been something, then my awareness of it had been merely subliminal.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Oct 12, 2013
Just picture that — and know how to
A sleek, black anchor shape, etched against the blue sky, hurtles in pursuit of prey. A Northern Hobby, a flashy falcon, is chasing dragonflies. Sighting one alone speaks to me of summer in Hokkaido, especially with its mate brooding or feeding a growing fledgling in a nearby treetop nest.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Sep 14, 2013
On the trail of the legendary Koryak reindeer herders
The dark herd rushed at the slope like a massive wave crashing ashore. Hitting the base of the steep escarpment they were momentarily lost from my viewpoint; they surged upslope, reemerging into view on the upper terrace as a thundering horde, the vibration of their cloven hoof beats discernible through the tundra turf and clearly audible.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / WILD WATCH
Aug 17, 2013
Trekking back in time among Okinawa's fronded wonders
A heavy fog hangs around the forested area of Yambaru in the northern hills of Okinawa. On this rainy-season morning in June, there's a steady dripping all around, though what I can see of the sky is cloudless. Instead, this "rain" is droplets that the trees have garnered into their canopies from the clouds, and which they are now dispensing earthward. The smell in the air is of damp moldy fungi and the rich loamy scent of tropical greenhouses. The humidity is high and my glasses are steaming over.

Longform

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