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Thread: Field Guide Recomendation Needed

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Orange County, Southern California
    Posts
    98

    Field Guide Recomendation Needed

    I am looking for a good field guide to help me identify trees,plants,animal tracks etc.. while I am hiking trails in California. I have been to Barnes and Noble but the books they have divide the subject into books on trees and books on plants, and books on animals.

    I am looking for a comprehensive guide.

    Thanks for the help.

    Gary

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Montara, California
    Posts
    1,803

    Re: Field Guide Recomendation Needed

    A good,small one-volume guide is "The Nature of California" by Kavavvach and Leung

    But you might do better with a few specialized guides, California being so diverse in habitat, etc. I have

    "The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada" by Laws

    "Seashore of Northern and Central California" by Sheldon

    and "Birds of Northern California" by Fix and Bezener

    Buy them at the usual places or support California's local bookstores and buy then here--anyplace you are likely to be photographing in will have a good selection (my local mini-mart carries many of these and many more)!

    --Darin

  3. #3
    Don Nelson
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    275

    Re: Field Guide Recomendation Needed

    Aren't many good wide coverage books today

    With the many diverse life zones in California (Desert, Sierra, Redwoods, Coastal Chapparal, Oak Woodland, Forest, etc, ) it would be hard to cover them all in one book for all the animals and trees and plants...etc

    There were some that were specific to the life zones that were wide ranging...

    One of the best for the Sierra Nevada --- "Sierra Nevada Natural History an illustrated Handbook" by Usinger and Storer was published in 1966 - had wide coverage of plants, trees, larger animals, butterfilies, amphibians, reptiles, birds, etc -- used line drawings as well as an excellent set of plates. I used to use this while backpacking in the Sierra Nevada in the 1970s/1980s. IF this is an area of interest, check used book stores -- the names of some of the birds keep getting revised by the AOU, but that's a small subset of changes.

    Good luck!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Hudson, NY
    Posts
    19

    Re: Field Guide Recomendation Needed

    You might want to check this one out.

    http://www.amazon.com/National-Audub...9512814&sr=8-1

    I have the one for the Atlantic Coast and I like it.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Orange County, Southern California
    Posts
    98

    Re: Field Guide Recomendation Needed

    Thank you all for the quality information.

    Here is a link I found to be very helpful.

    http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9676.php

    Gary

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,544

    Re: Field Guide Recomendation Needed

    California is so ecologically diverse that guidebooks are difficult except in a regional
    sense. I'd agree with Don that Storer and Usinger have the best little introduction to
    Sierra Nevada fauna and flora. However, they also wrote much more extensive texts
    too. The only work I remember that attempts to cover all the plants of California was by Munz and about seven fat volumes long. Somewhere back in my own ancient
    history I obtained a degree in field biology, with much forgotten, of course.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    CA, MT
    Posts
    2

    Re: Field Guide Recomendation Needed

    I'll second the mention of "The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada" written and illustrated by John Muir Laws. It has bugs, birds, critters, clouds, fish, fungi, flowers, stars, tracks, scat -- the whole nine yards. No, it doesn't have everything, but darn close. And although it's for the Sierra Nevada, many of the creatures and plants are found all over the state. And it's field-guide size. Highly recommended.

  8. #8
    Dave Karp
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    2,805

    Re: Field Guide Recomendation Needed

    Discovering Sierra Trees is a good little book with nice drawings.

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,544

    Re: Field Guide Recomendation Needed

    When I was a kid I used to pack plaster of paris with me to make castings of animal
    prints. I've run into just about every rare animal imaginable in the Sierras: fisher,
    wolverine, last of the wolves (probably transient), silver fox (not gray fox), and a genuinely black mountain lion. I also found Pliocene footprints of camels, flamingos, etc, back when global warming was really the thing! Unfortunately, no room for a
    field guide in my pack now, because it would take up filmholder space! I also studied geology a great deal and tremendously enjoy speculating about the many
    sights on my backpacks in the hills. This past weekend I drove past a solitary wild
    nutmeg tree, rare indeed, although there is a cluster of them distinctly accessible
    near Crystal Cave in the Sequoia area. I tend to be the resident field guide myself
    when others are hiking with me - it's amazing how much I've forgotten! But here on
    the coast, when people see the big Ries tripod on my pack, they assume I've got
    a spotting scope, and therefore know a lot about birds. Once a couple had their
    binoculars aimed at a buzzard, and wanted to know what it was. I exclaimed, it's
    the Mexican swift-winged whit-whit, and this is the first sighting north of the border!
    It made their day. Forgot what I told them a crow was.

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