Wild Watch

Wild Watch New Beginnings: An E in Natural History

Apr 10, 2015

The power, persistence and penetrative capacity of a tropical downpour have to be witnessed first hand to be believed. Darkening thunderclouds billow and swirl up above the horizon until they stretch across the entire view turning leaden as they expand. Thunder crashes and rolls around the hills so vigorously that primitive beliefs in angry g...

Flight of the swan offers natural lesson

Mar 8, 2015 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. ...

Natural strategies to cope with winter

Feb 7, 2015 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 t...

Modern technology aids whale research

Jan 10, 2015 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 oppo...

Twelve ways to spend 2015 with nature

Dec 13, 2014 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?...

Hanging around the threat of extinction

Nov 8, 2014

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....

A perilous flight path of life and death

Oct 11, 2014

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 ...

Losing count of words for groups of animals

Sep 13, 2014 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....

Gazing in awe on nature’s flying bullet, the brown booby

Aug 9, 2014 “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 exam...

An audience with an island menace

Jul 12, 2014 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....

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