& Sage Audubon
Celebration of TEN Years at the SJWS
Nov. 2, 2001
1: Ten Guides for Every Local Naturalist's
the end of all our exploring
be to arrive where we started
know the place for the first time."
need to EXPLORE flows in my blood. It’s a genetic thing that began
with my Opa (German for “grandfather”) who sailed the world’s oceans
as head chef on whatever ship was leaving dock. He saw whales and
dolphins, bioluminescence and red tides, immense storm waves and flat seas.
I was growing up, I could sit for HOURS in our sycamore tree, reading
and watching birds. From my vantage point, I became familiar with
the Loggerhead Shrike, Burrowing Owl, Western Meadowlark, Northern Flicker,
Yellow-rumped Warbler, and my favorite, the Red-tailed Hawk.
liked to lie on the lawn and watch the Western Fence Lizards sun themselves
on the rock pile and do territorial push-ups. One was so huge and dark,
I nicknamed him “Komodo” after the largest lizard on our planet, and he
was a familiar backyard friend for many years. If Mom needed canned
goods for supper from our outdoor shed, I was quick to volunteer to retrieve
them, just for the chance to spot a Western Toad on our lawn. Sometimes
there were so many, I had to carry a flashlight for the long 30-foot journey
to help me avoid stepping on them.
later, I am still reading and sitting and watching nature. The library
of knowledge inside my head has grown through the combination of outdoor
experiences, interaction with outstanding teachers, participation in exciting
classes, and reading wonderful books. I explored and I began to know.
help celebrate the anniversary of Sea & Sage Audubon’s presence at
the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary for 10 years, my Pond Ponderings articles
this year will focus on the number "10". I will begin this month with a
list of 10 nature guides that I find indispensable; these are the ones
I grab first. They have great illustrations, are easy to read, yet
have enough "meat" to satisfy the scientist part of me.
recommend these 10 guides for every local naturalist’s library.
Although I agree with 19th-century naturalist Louis Agassiz’s exhortation
to “Study from Nature, not books!” I still find books useful
references and interpreters of what I have seen in the field.
Seashore Life of Southern California
by Sam Hinton
Insects of the Los Angeles Basin
by Charles L. Hogue
Butterflies of Greater Los Angeles
by Rudi Mattoni
Flowering Plants of the Santa Monica Mountains,
Coastal & Chaparral Regions of Southern California by Nancy
Peterson Field Guides: Western Reptiles
and Amphibians by Robert C. Stebbins
California Mammals by E.W. Jameson,
Jr. and Hans J. Peeters
America’s Neighborhood Bats by Merlin
Tracking & the Art of Seeing: How to
Read Animal Tracks & Signs by Paul Rezendes
Lives of North American Birds by
Birds of Orange County, California: Status and Distribution
by Robert A. Hamilton and Douglas R. Willick.