Wild Watch

Individual strategies for survival

Sep 6, 2000 A pair of limpid brown eyes stares down from behind bare branches. Their owner’s thick winter coat, covered with a mantle of snow, hides a female monkey as she huddles to avoid the wind. Snuggling into her body warmth is her youngster. ...

Feeling the pulse of the seasons

Aug 30, 2000 Recently, and for the first time, I flew right across Australia. Heading northwest from New Zealand, I crossed Australia’s southeast coast somewhere south of Sydney and traversed the country northwest to the coast near Broome. ...

Fat a question of feathers for shearwaters

Aug 16, 2000 The fact that young animals and birds not only start off small, but remain smaller than their parents for a long time, seems to be a dominant rule of life. Think of fox or badger cubs, think of young sparrows or bulbuls — from birth, or hatching, and for some time after they remain smaller than their parents. The cygnets of the whooper swans ...

Little terns face big problem

Aug 2, 2000 Graceful and agile in the air, the terns are the slender cousins of the gulls. Where the gulls typically lumber and flap, the terns flutter and dash. Terns may hover, and with the sun behind them, shining through their translucent wing feathers, they appear like tiny angels. ...

Hats on where the seabirds nest

Jul 19, 2000 Wheesh! Crack! Something furious hit me on the back of the head. ...

Migrants and vagrants under Teuri's crags

Jul 5, 2000 An hour and a half west of the small harbor town of Haboro, which is just three hours north of Sapporo, lie two small islands: Teuri and Yagishiri. Teuri is easy to visit and has fascinating seabird colonies and good walking. There is a ferry from Haboro, which goes via Yagishiri, and although there is a faster tourist boat that cuts the travel tim...

The little known giants of the Kalahari

Jun 21, 2000 The fine red sand of the Kalahari, dampened by the early morning dew, reveals the tracks of nocturnal and early morning wanderers. The heat of the rising sun soon turns the sand powder dry and the tracks blow away on the slightest breeze, but for those who are out early there are strange stories to be read in the sand. ...

A royal reserve of nature

May 31, 2000 It is a rare occasion, in a busy schedule, that allows me to spend a whole morning doing almost nothing, but this is one of those times. As I write, I am enjoying the sunshine and the view from the roof of a stone summer house. My sleeping quarters are down below, cool in the shade, but those I have abandoned in favor of the roof, for its view out ...

Wild and free, within certain restrictions

May 17, 2000 “Wildlife,” “natural,” “wild” and “free” are terms that are loaded with meaning, redolent with atmosphere. They are words that may transport you mentally to the tundra, patrolled by polar bears, to the acacia-dotted African savanna across which herds of buffalo, gazelle, elephant and giraffe roam, or ...

Natural genki drink fuels aerial pollinators

May 2, 2000 For most of our planet’s mind-numbingly long history of around 4.6 billion years, the most complex life form on Earth was the prokaryotic cell. The ghostly signatures of these simple cells without nuclei first appear in rocks dated to about 3.75 billion years ago. The length of their nearly 2-billion-year reign on Earth, though not their comp...

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