What IS That?

George A. Petrides

Knowing the trees can help one have successful mushroom hunts. Another good guide is Trees and Shrubs of Virginia, by Oscar W. Gupton and Fred C. Swope.

Roger Conant

You rarely go wrong with the Peterson Field Guides. Amphibians seem especially threatened by climate change. We need to know and protect them. Another good book, by Donald W. Linzey and Michael J. Clifford, is Snakes of Virginia.

Kenneth L. Gosner

This book used to be subtitled "Invertebrates and Seaweeds of the Atlantic Coast from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras." It helped me identify comb jellies and a few other weird beasties near Chesapeake Bay.

Charles V. Covell, Jr.

With this and A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies, the Peterson series helps us identify some of nature's most beautiful animals.

Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny

This is one of our most-used field guides. Beware of wildflower guides showing the flower but not the rest of the plant - the leaves and stems can be very helpful clues.

Donald Stokes

Subjects include snow crystals and snow ecology, birds' nests and winter bird behavior, evidence of insects, animals tracks and signs, winter weeds and wildflowers, evergreen plants, and wintering trees.

Richard K. Walton

Enables birders to recognize birds of eastern and central North America by their songs and calls. Points out exactly what to listen for to tell one bird from another. Available on both cassette and CD.

Eric R. Eaton and Kenn Kaufman

This field guide features a LOT of photographs. And there are a LOT of insects! You might also like the Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America; and in the Peterson Field Guide series, A Field Guide to Insects, as well as A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America.

Nora Bowers, Rick Bowers and Kenn Kaufman

There are more mammals out there than you think - an acre of land was recorded to have a population of 12,000 voles! You might also like Mammals of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland, by Webster, Parnell, and Biggs.

Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson

It's not exactly field guide-sized, but IS "an illustrated guide to fishes, invertebrates, and plants of bays and inlets from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras." It also discusses the natural history of the organisms. Yay!

Gary A. Lincoff

An excellent field guide. Lincoff includes "look-alike" species, with descriptions to help tell them apart. Very reassuring for the beginner.

Roger Tory Peterson and Virginia Marie Peterson

"In celebration of the centennial of Roger Tory Peterson's birth comes a historic collaboration among renowned birding experts and artists to preserve and enhance the Peterson legacy. This new book combines the Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds and the Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds in one volume, filled with accessible, concise information and including almost three hours of video podcasts to make bird watching even easier."

Mark Carwardine

The Smithsonian Handbooks series of field guides includes excellent illustrations, with notations that show you what to look for when trying to determine what species you're observing. Watch out for big white whales, however!