Travels with George: Spring 2014

By Dr. George Archibald, ICF Co-founder & Senior Conservationist

This year I have been privileged to experience four springs in Wisconsin (USA), Hokkaido (Japan), Amur Region (Russia) and the grasslands of Mongolia.



In late afternoon with perfect light from behind, we observed within 40 feet, two kingbirds and a few dozen wood warblers of eight species, foraging on insects in a pile of barkless trees piled in the center of a small pond. Many of the warblers sang. It was a feast for the senses. It was part of our 2014 Bird-a-thon. That day we clocked 130 species and raised pledges for over $20,000.

Photo: Members of The Craniacs team scout for birds. Photo by Dan Graham.



The forest floor was carpeted by dwarf bamboo painted in green and white, among which hundreds of large white trilliums announced spring beneath a canopy of lush deciduous forests with bursting buds. The whip-like call of the Japanese Bush Warbler dominated the air waves. I was in Japan to participate in a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Red-crowned Crane Conservancy that’s led by Kuni and Yulia Momose. Yulia and I have worked together since 1972!

Photo: Iris, Hokkaido, Japan.



Amur River Lowlands

From an elevated terrace of land with early morning sunshine from behind us, we gazed out over the wide expanse of marsh where Red-crowned Cranes and White-naped Cranes had recently hatched their chicks. Looking down and not far away, a female Roe Deer was lying in the short grass and giving birth to twins. As soon as the fawns emerged, they struggled to their feet and on wobbly legs looked at their Mom. It was a magic moment. I was in Russia to participate in a meeting of the Board of Directors of Muraviovka Park – Russia’s first private nature reserve since 1917!

Photo: Spring in Muraviovka Park, Russia.



Yet to be experienced (read George’s update from Mongolia).