Wild Watch

Singing the praises of greenery

Oct 21, 2012 This year’s annual hop between the hemispheres in my capacity as a globetrotting nature-tour guide took me to my namesake country, Brazil, with strange and unusual hopes. ...

Living the botanical high life

Sep 16, 2012 Japan, though it has a very different image, is on the same latitude as southern Europe and North Africa, while my nearest city, Sapporo, is oddly enough on the same east-west parallel as France’s boisterously cosmopolitan second city of Marseille on the Mediterranean. ...

The air around us is teeming with life — it's just too tiny to see

Aug 19, 2012 As I approached the top of Mount Tarumae’s western peak, located in Hokkaido’s Shikotsu-Toya National Park, for a brief moment I thought an early reward was awaiting me in the form of clusters of ripe blueberries in the bush tops. At first glance it appeared that the bushes were in fruit, and it was only on close inspection that I realized just...

Slugs, snails and astonishing tales

Jul 15, 2012 Late last month, I arrived at my friends’ house in the historic southwest English town of Stroud a little too early, only to find both Ian and Caroline Redmond out. So, with time on my hands, I wandered into their lovely garden on the slope of a hill overlooking the town and began to “potter about.” ...

Rock on down to a geopark near you

Jun 17, 2012 To naturalists and hikers, the renown of 810-meter Mount Apoi near the southern tip of Hokkaido towers mightily above its lowly elevation. ...

The wonder of feathers

May 20, 2012 A soft flake of seeming sky falls, wafts and floats earthward catching the light. Lightly, and soft as gossamer, it lands to add a splash of color to the greenery of spring. It may be no more than a tiny feather that’s fallen from a passing bird, but it carries with it a message of mystery and miracle from the heavens. ...

Wild Watch turns 30 this month

Apr 15, 2012 As April 2nd’s 30th anniversary of my first Wild Watch column in The Japan Times neared, I was in India — teeming Delhi to be precise, with its cacophony of people, honking traffic and barking dogs, though a tailorbird would stop and call outside my window, where a palm squirrel never tired of chattering. ...

Birds of a feather

Mar 18, 2012 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. ...

An ode to Japan's magnificent Sika Deer

Feb 19, 2012 Deep powdery snow is to a Sika Deer what a stage covered with fluffy feather pillows would be to a top-ranking ballerina. Both lead to loss of grace and floundering, for slim-footed deer and ballerina alike. ...

Sealing a connection with nature

Jan 15, 2012 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. ...

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