Latest News

Recent news and updates from Michael Ellis.

August, 2017

July 29th, 2017
Hello everyone,

Business first: both Farallon Island trips in August are full, Natural History/Natural Mystery at The Cedars in September is full, one of the Tanzania trips in February 2018 has one opening for two people and that’s it, Bhutan in April (ask me for the details) has only a few spots left, next summer’s Brazil trip filled immediately and is wait list only.

I just returned from a month in Brazil – the Pantanal, the Amazon and the Cerrado. I had the pleasure of seeing a number of outstanding things – giant anteaters, nearly a dozen different jaguars, an ocelot, a probable marguay, my first jaguarundi, so many capybaras, several tapirs (South America’s largest land mammal), armadillos, tamanduas (southern anteaters), crab eating raccoons, kinkajou, crab eating foxes, coatis, giant river otters, neotropical otters, two different species of deer, agoutis, cavies, seven species of primates, both kinds of anacondas – yellow and green, 3 species of caimans – dwarf, spectacled and Jacaré – huge black and white tegu lizards, and more amazing birds than you can possibly imagine. We had profound times while we simply witnessed and listened in silence to this wonderful natural world.

The people of Brazil were lovely. They are generous and kind and have done a fantastic job of preserving some of the wild things on this planet. Brazil has a reputation as a violent, dangerous place where the rain forest is being destroyed. While those things are partly true, all of the efforts that the Brazilians are doing to preserve the Amazon and the wetlands deserve praise. Our guides here are knowledgeable and more than competent.  Brazil is the size of the lower 48 states – to make any generalization about this country would be inaccurate. Brazilians are rightly proud of their nation. I will be leading another trip there next summer. Please contact me for details and further information.

This Perspective ran recently on San Francisco’s NPR station. ANTS!!!  They just may inherit the Earth. And this perspective on hummingbirds is even more recent.

Here is my latest column- ASK THE NATURALIST- in Bay Nature Magazine. I have been writing this column since the inception of the wonderful magazine. Can you use crickets to tell the temperature?

I no longer lead natural history trips to Baja – petting the gray whales, swimming with sea lions and following blue and sperm whales – but I highly recommend Captain Art on The Searcher. The timing is perfect for either one of these trips. Tell Celia I sent you.
February 7-18, 2018, or March 24-April 4, 2018

Here’s me in Brazil holding bi-colored Toucans
Queen Victoria Water Lily in the Pantanal.
I have meditated off and on since 1973. This video is worth your two minutes. 

The amazing sex life of the cabbage butterfly!! 

I read this on my cell phone…..

Bringing Klimt to life with real live models! 

Who knew that praying mantises are eating birds!! 

Some Images from Brazil: A Jaribu Stork, a Capybara (the world’s largest rat), a Jaguar, a Yacare Caiman, and a Black Vulture on a Capybara carcass.

by Grace Shulman

Our bodies, lucent under the bedclothes,
fit tightly like the pieces of a broken
terra-cotta vase now newly mended,
smooth surfaces, no jagged edges visible.
I’ve read that countries were so interlocked
before tectonic heavings, when the ocean
parted Mexico and Mauritania.
Brazil’s shoulder was hoisted to Nigeria,
Italy pressed Libya, Alaska
lay so close to Russia that fingers touched.
Our tremulous hands held fast in sleep at dawn;
legs, arms entwined, one continent, one mass.

From Days of Wonder. © Mariner Books, 2002

July, 2017

June 11, 2017

Hello everyone:

Here is the monthly compendium of cool stuff I have collated for your pleasure (and it brought me much pleasure as well). Take your time and savor them.

This is my most recent Perspective that ran on San Francisco’s NPR station- KQED. Leaves of three, let it be.

I am off to Brazil leading two trips back to back to the Pantanal, the Chapada and the Amazon basin, returning July 15. Giant anteaters, hyacinth macaws, Saki monkeys, anacondas, caimans, jaguars, capybaras, tapirs, anhingas, and much much more. These trips are full but I have scheduled two more next June and July (the perfect time).

The day trip to the Farallons on August 4 still has room but the one on August 11 is full. Recently a 79’ blue whale washed up near Bolinas, north of San Francisco. Hit by a ship and killed, it was feeding out by the Farallons. No guarantees but August is a great time to see tufted puffins, shearwaters and large whales just off our coast. And I used to volunteer out on the Islands and know them pretty well.

This little one page spread appeared in the latest issue of Sonoma Magazine.
Speaking of whales, this is why they got so large. 

Children need Nature not I-Phones 

A classic song and so very true… Stand by me.

I remember the Dickey Box. This documentary is for all of us who have felt isolated while surrounded by other people. 2005 at Burning Man.

On being too busy. I am Guilty!

You will LOVE this collection of words describing emotions from other languages. WHO KNEW?

Here is Tim’s website and his research is ongoing.

Socrates was a very smart guy…. we are still referencing him centuries later.

Christopher Walken dancing in 50 movies perfectly spliced.

I love to dance and I love watching other people dance as well. Check this site out.

JFK 100 years old. What a contrast with the President in 2017!

BIG BANG by the Barenaked Ladies.
Birth of our Universe to music.

Solar Eclipse coming up August 21.

Garden of early delights.. Extremely trippy be sure to watch on big screen, not your phone