360 degrees view of a tornadic thunderstorm, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. Composition of 21 video frames. Larger photos.

News, Updates, and Stray Photos
Last updated January 17, 2012

January 2012. Three books (in Russian) published in Kindle versions..

Links to photo galleries from recent trips added to Nature Photography page.

December 2011. Numerous new photos added to Crocodiles as Art pages..

March-April 2011. Added an abstract of my Ph.D thesis (defended April 1) and an abstract of my recently published paper on terrestrial hunting in crocodilians in Herpetological Bulletin.

September-October 2010. I have recently published two papers: a long one in Herpetological Bulletin about my discovery of alligator dances (abstract) and a short report in Mammalia about a sighting of one of the world's rarest mammals - the Sumatran striped rabbit (link). Considering that my Ph.D. defense is just a few months away, I added my CV - please have a look if you are a potential employer. Biographical Information page updated (I got married, by the way).

January 2009. I've spent four fantastic months in Africa, and will be going back there soon. For now, here are the links to photo galleries from our trip:

Vagrant Caribbean coot (Fulica americana carribaea), among
American coots (F. a. americana), Palo Alto, California, 1997.
Cave millipedes(Toxica kutaisica), Sataplia Cave,
Imereti, Georgia, 1988 (the only photo ever taken)
Mule deer fawns (Odocoileus hemionus), born ten
minutes ago, Devil's Canyon, Arizona, 1998.

June 2008. A huge bunch of photos from Florida added to Biology page. I got a fellowship and will be studying crocodiles in Africa at least for the rest of this year, so there will probably be no updates until 2009. But I'll be checking my email more or less regularly, so please write me if you have any questions.

Neotropical false vampire (Vampyrum spectrum), Utila I., Honduras.
Utila iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri), Utila I., Honduras.

April-May 2008. Page about Morelet's crocodile added to Crocodiles as Art page. An update added to How I bought a species page. Biographical Info page updated. In Russian part of the site, a small book about my 2006 trip to China, an even smaller book about 2007 expedition to Chukotka, a short article Climbing Mt. Roraima, a series of articles called Myths about America, and a collection of essays About Sex with Love added.

March 2008. A few new pages added to Florida chapter. A page about Mount Roraima added to Adventure Travel.

shell shell shell
Unidentified ammonite. Shell material replaced by carnelian. Diam. 24 mm (1'). Possibly Jurassic. Kuntsevo, Moscow, Russia.

January-February 2008.
New photos of caimans and crocodiles added to Crocodiles page. Travel in Tropical Forests guide updated.

Communists walking towards Vladimir Lenin's Mausoleum. Red Square, Moscow, June 2007.

October 2007. New pages about Florida started in Nature Photography. Chukotka pages thoroughly updated. New page about the art of the Chukchi people of Siberia added to Other Stuff. Biographical Info page updated.

cat dog dog
Left - feral cat in Egvekinot, Chukotka, Russia. Center - sled dog, Egvenkinot. Right - stray dog, Paratepui, Venezuela.

September 2007. New photos added to Crocs, Marine Mammals, Andes, Churches of Russia and Caves of Tropical America pages. A page about Trinidad added to Nature Photography.

gibbon chimp tank
If you like visiting zoos and aquariums, USA is the country for you. Left- lar gibbon (Hylobates lar), Naples Zoo, Florida; center - chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), on a hot day in Miami Metrozo, Florida; right - divers cleaning the glass in Atlanta Aquarium, Georgia.

June 2007. Photos from the ongoing Dragon Songs Project are in the new Crocodiles as Art pages. New photos added to Andes pages. A short page about the Parthenon in Nashville added to Other Stuff. An even shorter page with a photo of a ball lightning added to Nature Photography.

moon moon moon moon
Lunar eclipse of March 4, 2007. Dry Tortugas, Florida.

March-May 2007. A new page about India added. Photos from the Dominican Republic added to Caves of Latin America page. My course paper The History of Dog Domestication is now available online.

Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi), Everglades National Park, Florida.

February 2007. New photos added to Wild Cats and Marine Mammals pages.

Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris),
Corbett National Park, India.
Verreaux's eagle owl (Bubo lacteus), photographed
in captivity, Warwick castle, England.
Scottish wild cat (Felis silvestris grampia),
Loch Tay, Scotland.

November 2006. The old London page replaced with a new Britain page, with a lot of new photos.

The most important thing in life is being able to be different. Hangzhou, China.

September-October 2006. China page completely re-written. A few pictures added to Marine Mammals pages. Biographical Info page updated.

jellyfish jellyfish jellyfish
Developmental stages of common jellyfish (Aurelia aurita): planulas (active eggs), scyphistoma (sedentary polyp), ephyra (baby jellyfish). A page with explanations can be seen here:

March 2006. A small page about baby jackrabbits added to Nature Photography.

shell shell shell shell shell shell
Foraminifera shells under a microscope.

Febuary 2006. Out of solidarity with the free press of Denmark, I'm posting the now-famous cartoons here. Even if you are a Muslim, you'll probably agree that they are pretty good and not really offensive. But even if they were offensive, I think it would be wrong to demand that other people follow the taboos of your religion.

Warning sign at a hippo's cage,
Homossassa Springs Wildlife park, Florida.
Blakiston's fish-owl (Bubo blakistoni),
contemporary Ainu sculpture, Shiraoi, Hokkaido.

January 2006. Winter in Japan page with a lot of photos added to Adventure Travel page. In Russian part of the site, a brief trip account is available. Here are photos from the launch of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft from cape Canaveral to Pluto.
I tried producing ball lightning by placing a burning match into a microwave oven and turning the power on HIGH. Here's the video (3.4 MB). Just don't put the match directly on the oven floor.

This aerial photo is probably the last image of Northern white rhino (Cerathoterium simum cottoni) ever to be obtained in the wild. Its last surviving population in a small area near Congo-Sudanese border has declined from more than 30 to less than 10 in 2004-2005 due to poaching for horn. By now it is probably extinct. The horn was used to make handles for traditional Yemeni daggers. There are less then ten rhinos of this subspecies in captivity worldwide, and they don't breed well. Northern white rhino is the largest rhino in the world, and the third largest land animal after African and Asian elephants. Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 2005.

October-December 2005. My new book about Madagascar and the Comoros is now online in English and in Russian. Photos from Hurricane Wilma added to Weather page. A little quazi-scientific essay on bird systematics (of interest only to zoologists) added to Biology page. A page What do you have to know about Ritalin added.
In Russian part of the site, a book about East Africa is online. For those speaking and/or studying Russian language, I assembled a micro-collection (just 50 short poems) called The Best of Russian Poetry (which, of course, is composed based on my personal taste). Links checked and updated.

okapi gap okapi
Okapi (Okapia johnstoni), Okapi Nature Reserve, Democratic Republic of Congo.

August-September 2005. New pages added: East Africa, Gorillas in the Sun, Madagascar. Lots of pictures from Africa also added toVocanic Eruptions, Wild Cats, Swimming in Rainforest Rivers, Deserts, Caves, Rodents of the Plains and Weather pages. Rainforest travel for beginners page updated and illustrated. Our paper about the first black jaguar record in Mexico added.
I've moved to Florida to work on a Ph.D project at the University of Miami.

mission babybabybabybabysun
Isleta Mission was founded by pro-Spanish Indians who'd left New Mexico during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. El Paso, Texas The spring of 2005 was late in New Mexico. Pronghorns (Antilocapra americana) hadn't started calving until mid-May. White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Partial solar eclipse of April 8 2005. This photo was taken through a flat whiskey bottle. Santa Fe, New Mexico.

May 2005. A page about the unique caves of Naica Mine, Mexico, added to Caves. A few photos added to Sand Dunes part of West pages. In Russian part of the site, four chapters of my new book of short stories are now online.

view view view view view
Views of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Two photos on the right are from the National Cathedral.

April 2005. Numerous photos added to West (now in 16 parts) and Old New Mexico (now in 6 parts) pages. A few also added to Weather and Caves pages.

slugs slugs slugs slugs slugs
When it comes to sex, slugs are the ones to envy. They do it suspended in mid-air on a slime thread, and the process goes both ways: slugs are hermaphrodytes. During the foreplay, the lovers secret little pointed sticks, so-called Cupid's arrows, and use them to stimulate each other's sensitive spots. This sweet couple was making out in front of my tent, and was busy from dusk till dawn. They were very tender, patient, and caring partners. Parque Nacional Conguillo, Chile.

February-March 2005. New pages added: Panama City, Darien National Park, and Scotia Sea. New photos also added to Marine Mammals, Andes, Wild Cats, Fall Colors and Rainforest Rivers pages.
In Russian part of the site, FAQ page updated, micro-guides to Panama and the Antarctic added, my new book about the Antarctic is now online.

view view
Band-i-Amir lakes near Bamian, Afghanistan.

November-December 2004. Diary of my trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan added to Travel Books (also in Russian). Also added is an illustrated account of Pakistan part. New photos added to Valles Caldera, Fall Colors, and Old New Mexico pages.

squirrel squirrel squirrel
Woolly flying squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus) is the World's largest squirrel, 1 m long and 2.5 kg in weight. One of the rarest and least-known mammals, it had never been seen in the wild by a naturalist until I found a pair in Nanga Parbat mountains of Pakistan. These are snapshots from the first video ever obtained.

October 2004. New photos added to West, Deserts, Rainbows and Volcanic Eruptions pages. A small page about Very Large Array added.

Jaguar (Panthera onca), Rio Fuerto Canyon, near Sinaloa/Chihuahua border, Mexico. Northern jaguar (Panthera onca centralis), Rio Fuerto Canyon, Sinaloa. Taking this photo took 62 hours of waiting in a hollow tree above a forest trail. Apparently, this is the first documented record of a melanistic (black) jaguar from Northern Mexico, and the first photo of Mexican jaguar in the wild obtained without an automatic camera.

September 2004. New photos added to to East, Mexico and Deserts pages.

My cat Apricot doesn't like
New Mexican summers.
View from the summit of West Spanish Peak
(4,115 m/13,626'), Colorado.
Dwarf shrew (Sorex nanus),
Valles Caldera, New Mexico.

June-August 2004. New page Old New Mexico added. New photos added to West page. My book about the United States is now available in English.

comet comet comet comet comet
In 2004, four comets were visible in the sky. Left to right: C/2004 F4 (Bradfield), C/2002 T7 (LINEAR),
C/2001 Q4 (NEAT, 2 photos taken on different days), C/2004 Q2 (Machholz).

May 2004. A new page about prairie-chicken added. New photos added toWeather, Great Plains, Great Basin, and Rodents of The Plains pages.

bison bison bison
bison        White buffalo (American bison, Bos bison) are sacred for many Indian tribes of the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains. Breeding them isn't easy: they have to be partial albinos, because full albinos are blind. These animals are from a mixed herd near Doyleville, Colorado.         bison

March-April 2004. New photos added to Deserts, Marine Mammals, Rainforests, Wild Cats, Volcanic Eruptions, Mexico, and Rocky Mountains pages. A new page Coon Air added. In Russian part of the site, micro-guidebooks to Nicaragua and Costa Rica added; Canada and USA micro-guidebooks updated.

bird birdshhh squirrel
Some inhabitants of city parks in Boulder : hairy woodpecker (Picoides villosus) and fox squirrel (Sciurus niger).

January-February 2004. Three new pages added: Driving through Mexico, Caves and Bighorn sheep of America. Micro-guide to rainforest travel is now available in English. In Russian part of the site, micro-guidebooks to the USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador added.
Recently, I've been working on a huge collective project called The Russian Far East: A Reference Guide for Conservation and Development. The book is now available, and can be ordered online.

moose elk moose
Winter is a boring time of the year, but there is still a lot of interesting stuff to see. Left - coyote (Canis latrans), center and right - red crossbills (Loxia curvirostra). Rocky Mountains National Park, Colorado.

December 2003. New pages Turtles of Oaxaca and How I bought a species added. New pictures added to Wild Cats, Insects, Grassland Rodents, Deserts, and Rocky Mountains pages. In Russian part of the site, a page called Tips for Traveling in Tropical Forests added.

In very cold days, cranes often fly with their legs pulled in. Sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis), Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico.
November 2003 total lunar eclipse. Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Belize.

October 2003. New photos added to Fall Colors and Marine Mammals pages. A small page about saw-whet owls added to Biology. In Russian part of the site, a micro-guidebook to Canada added. Links and Birds of Chukotka pages updated.

mars mars
Last August, Mars was at its closest approach to Earth in tens of thousands of years. The photo to the left was taken in August, the one to the right - in September. Both were digitally enhanced, but not much.
rotifer rotifer
Rotifers(Rotifera) are microscopic multicellar animals showing some convergent similarity to ciliates. They are fascinating creatures - look at the picture gallery at this site. These two are from Boulder Reservoir, Colorado.
I experimented with my Sony video camcoder (DCR-TRV250) recently, trying to videotape through my microscope and telescope. Not only does the camera do it, it also provides some extra magnification!

July-September 2003. Winter on The Rift, my 1993-94 Middle East trip diary, is now available in English. An unofficial page about the grassland rodents research project I've been working on this summer added. Pages about California and Western North America updated.

Shilo is ready for interstate travel.

May-June 2003. Biology and Biographical Info updated. Monkeypox FAQ page added. Lots of photos added to Marine Mammals page.

jelly jelly jelly
By-the-wind sailor (Velella velella) is an amazing kind of jellyfish, evolved to endlessly sail in circles over the surface of the ocean. Normally they stay far from shore, but this spring unusual southwestern winds drove millions of these beautiful creatures to California coast.

February-April 2003. Following my readers' conference in Moscow, FAQ page (English/Russian) was greatly expanded, and continues to grow. A new page about Baja California added (also in Spanish). New photos added to Marine Mammals, Fall Colors and California pages.

fox fox rat rat
2003 was apparently a good year for endangered mammals of Carrizo Plain, California: giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens) and San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica). I counted respectively 32 and 3 (plus two cubs shown here) in 4 hours of driving around on March 27-28.

December 2002. An unexpected update is added to the page about mysterious Puerto Rican rodents (available in English and Spanish). In Russian part of the site, a brief article History of Hitchhiking in Russia and CIS in 900 B.C. - 1978 AD added.

meteor bird bird bird cat
Leonid meteor, 18.11.02,
Mt. Whitney, USA.
Blue-eared kingfishers (Alcedo meninting), Kinabatangan River, Borneo. Meowgli, our new
family member.

August-November 2002. Two new pages added: Quest for Aplodontia and Rainy Season in Malaysia. The latter is accompanied with a small page containing useful tips for naturalists traveling in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. New pictures added to Wild Cats, Mud Volcanoes, and Andes page. In Russian part of the site, micro-guidebooks to Malaysia and The Philippines added.

Peruvian pelican (Pelecanus thagus), Arica, Chile.
blankAuthor in Arica, 1995.

May-June 2002. New photos added to American West, California, Rainbows, China, and Marine Mammals pages. New information added to the page about illegal insect trade.

flicker flicker
Northern flicker (Colaptes auratus), Grays Harbor NWR, Washington.

January-March 2002. Lots of new photos and some text added to American West and Mud Volcanoes pages. English translation of my 1995 Latin American trip diary and of my short stories about traveling in the USSR in 1986-97 added to Travel Books.

Walking in the clouds above Keck Observatory (4,205 m),
Mauna Kea summit, Hawaii (photo not edited).
Forest of hapu'u tree ferns (Cibotium glaucum, C. menziesii,
C. chamissoi, Sadleria spp.
), Olaa Tract, Hawaii.

December 2001. English translations of my 1996 Mongolia, 1993 China/Tibet, and 1993 Europe travel diaries added to the new Travel Books. FAQ page added toOther Stuff. New photos added to Wild Cats, California, and Fall Colors pages.

Mountain lion (Felis concolor), Los Gatos Mts, California.
Leonid meteor during a 2001 meteor storm,Los Gatos Mts, California.

November 2001. In Russian part of the site, my article about illegal trade in endangered insects (published in Arguments and Facts weekly in Moscow) added (English translation here).

Entrance to a fire cave at Kuh i Malik, Tajikistan. Coal deposits have been burning there for thousands of years, creating vast underground cavities full of unique minerals, some of them very beautiful. The only way to peek inside for more than a few seconds is by wrapping yourself in a wet blanket. European geographers have long mis-interpreted the Ancient Roman descriptions of this place as an evidence of active volcanism in Turkestan (up to the 19th century, when Russian army invaded the area). 1991.

July-October 2001. New pictures added to Philippines, East, Fall Colors, Wild Cats, West, Deserts, and California pages. New page about whales, seals and other marine mammals added.

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) fawn,
Lost Coast, California.
White-tailed deer (O. virginianus) fawn,
Escalante Canyons, Utah.

May-June 2001. Tips for naturalists traveling in the Philippines put together in a short page. Photos from recent trips added to Alaska, West, Rainbows, Biography, and Eastern USA pages.

Habitat of Menzbier's marmot (Marmota menzbieri),
Nest of black-headed gull
(Larus ridibundus),
Lyublino Fields, Moscow.
Altai weasel (Mustela altaica),

March-April 2001. Added a page about the The Philippines, and short pages about church architecture of Russia, seagulls of Galapagos Islands, Goverla Mountain in Ukraine, Andes of Peru, and mud volcanoes of the Caspian Sea coast. Links checked and updated.

tree view
Juan Fernandes tree dandelion (Dendroseris littoralis), Robinson Crusoe Island. Polar Urals near Sob, Russia.

January-February 2001. New Other Stuff chapter started. Links checked and updated. Some results from the trip to the Philippines added to pages about illegal insect trade, wild cats, volcanic eruptions, biographic page, etc. English version of my article Natural selection as the most important factor in the history of religions, originally written in 1990, added.

nene apapane apapane apapane io
Nene (Branta sandwichensis), apapane (Himatione sanguinea), and io (Buteo solitarius) are among the few native Hawaiian birds that survived both Polynesian and European colonization.

November-December 2000. New pictures and some text added to Biographical Information, Deserts, West, East, California and Fall Colors pages.

Apatosaurus tracks, Dinosaur Valley, Texas.

August-October 2000. A page about the mysterious rodent from Puerto Rico updated. The first page in Spanish and a new page about Alaska added. Many new photos added to other pages. News page started.

Bottomland forest of black alder (Alnus glutinosa),
habitat of European azure tit (Parus cyaneus cyaneus),
East from Taldom, Russia.