I couldn’t help but find it particularly ironic that the day after the first rains my home state of Oregon had seen for months finally arrived, providing much-needed help to the valiant fire fighters working around the clock trying to extinguish the massive forest fires raging throughout the state, that a copy of Edward Struzik’s new “Firestorm” arrived on my desk from Island Press.
For centuries, naturalists have been intrigued by the islands of the Malay Archipelago – and with good reason. The rich and curious variety of life forms to be found on them is truly astonishing. Because of this, they are superb places to study ecology and evolution (just ask Alfred Russel Wallace – metaphorically, of course).
Whenever I travel, I not only like to take along a relevant field guide to at least one form of life to be found in the area to which my journey takes me, I also like to take along a book I’m considering for a review that has a subject related to my destination as I find that when I read a book “on site” I can often pick up subtle details in it that I might otherwise miss.
As I stood on the deck of our motel room in Lincoln City, Oregon this past week-end looking out at the waves of the vast Pacific Ocean and watching the sun set, I couldn’t help but notice the beginnings of the southward movement of many different bird species.