Vladimir Dinets had a post a few weeks ago about his new book, “Field Guide to Finding Mammals in North America,” but it’s such a great work I want to push it one more time. I just got my copy and am really impressed. There are two main parts: an overview of field sites for North America, from Wolves in Yellowstone Nat Park to Tundra Vole in the Aleutians to Humpback Whales off of Bermuda. Then there is a species guide, for everything from snorkeling with Narwhals to Merriam’s Shrew, which “sometimes follows swarms of Mormon crickets in the same way Gray Wolves follow Caribou.” If you encounter a cricket swarm, “look for shrews scurrying along its tail edge.” There are flashes of dry wit throughout; how he got some of these barbs past an editor, I am not sure, but be sure to look up his utterly delicious entry for “Man,” after armadillo and before manatee in the “Other Animals” section of the book.
I have a hard time imagining anybody who won’t get some tips on finding lifers from the book. It also is a fun prompt just to go out and LOOK — you won’t see anything new or interesting unless you first make the effort to go out and try.
Charles Hood, Palmdale, CA