Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Activities and Guides

Here is a list of the field guides I carry around in my car and on hikes during the winter months.

General Winter Field Guides include:

1. Field Book of Animals in Winter by Ann Haven Morgan
1939 Very good book and fun to read.

2. Stokes Guide to Nature in Winter by Donald Stokes

3. Winter World by Bernd Heinrich not really a field guide but an excellent source of animal behavior in winter months.

Also try some of the seasonal books that include winter months. Here are a couple that I have and use.

1. Nature in Miniature by Richard Headstrom – chapters by month.

2. Watching Nature (A mid-Atlantic natural history) by Mark S.Garland. This is a must read for anyone in the eastern panhandle. He also has chapters for winter months. Again not a field guide but lots of good information.

3. Seasonal Guide to the Natural Year. Scott Weidensaul. A month by month guide to natural events in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

4. Winter Search Party to Insects and other invertebrates by Helen Ross Russell
Winter is a good time to look at insects. This book gives good ideas for finding them.

Any books on tracking Mammals is also good for winter activities:

5. Stokes guide to Animal Tracking and Behavior by Donald and Lillian Stokes

Looking for galls and seed pods is another winter activity:

1. Pods – Wildflower and weeds in their final beauty by Jane Emberstoy

2. Guide to Wild flowers in winter by Carol Levine

I like these small pocket size Nature Study Guides for winter:

1. Winter Weed Finder by Dorcas S. Miller

2. Winter Tree Finder by May Theilgaard Watts

3. Track Finder by Dorcas S. Miller

4. Berry Finder: Eastern by Dorcas S. Miller

Golden Guide to Non Flowering Plants is good for moss and lichen which stands out on a winter walk. Also any book on Moss and Lichen is good.

Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians by Bill Roody is an excellent book for identifying polypores and winter mushrooms.

Fossil Collecting in the Mid-Atlantic by Jasper Burns. This can be fun at the end of winter when we start getting a few warmer days.

Looking for frogs and fossil in early March can be a lot of fun. I like Amphibians and Reptiles in West Virginia by Dr. Tom Pauly

Any guide on stars and the moon and atmosphere is also useful during the winter. It gets dark earlier and the sky seems to be clearer. During the day and at sunset looking for sun dogs and pillers can be rewarding during the colder months.

So dress warm and get outside, there is lots to discover!

Visit more outdoor sites at Outdoor Wednesday.


Gaelyn said...

Wow, you must carry a Big Heavy backpack. LOL And I thought my field guide list was long. I find it easier to take pics, if possible, and look things up later.

All you shots are amazing, especially the macros. There really is a lot to see in the winter. If I could just coax myself out into the cold.

squirrel said...

LOL. Gaelyn, a lot of those books stay in the back of my car. I have a traveling library and supply store back there. I was just getting tired of arriving some place and not having what I wanted so I started just leaving books and supplies in big plastic tubs in the car. I look a lot of things up in larger field guides at the end of a hike when I am with friends because if we don't do it them, well it just doesn't happen. It is not uncommon to find me sitting in the warm car thumbing through field guides with a nature nerd friend or two.

But like you I also carry my camera and do a lot of identification at home where I haul out the really heavy books.

Ellen Rathbone said...

HM...I see some good titles there. I may have to pay a visit to a bookstore!

squirrel said...

Ellen, I just bought “Life in the Cold: An Introduction to Winter Ecology" by Peter J. Marchand but it hasn't arrived yet. It looked good online.

I also have other books by Richard Headstrom that I like: "Adventures with a Microscope" and "Adventures with a Hand Lens". They are good reminders of things to look for. I like to read these old books because they have descriptions that you can't find in affordable books now days. You can get his books for pennies and postage. They might qualify as children’s books but when it comes to nature I am like a kid so I love them.