National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Mid-Atlantic States

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Filled with concise descriptions and stunning photographs, the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Mid-Atlantic States belongs in the home of every Mid-Atlantic resident and in the suitcase or backpack of every visitor.  This compact volume contains:

An easy-to-use field guide for identifying 1,000 of the state's wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, mosses, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, butterflies, mammals, and much more;

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Filled with concise descriptions and stunning photographs, the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Mid-Atlantic States belongs in the home of every Mid-Atlantic resident and in the suitcase or backpack of every visitor.  This compact volume contains:

An easy-to-use field guide for identifying 1,000 of the state's wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, mosses, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, butterflies, mammals, and much more;

A complete overview of the Mid-Atlantic region's natural history, covering geology, wildlife habitats, ecology, fossils, rocks and minerals, clouds and weather patterns, and the night sky;

An extensive sampling of the area's best parks, preserves, beaches, forests, islands, and wildlife sanctuaries, with detailed descriptions and visitor information for 50 sites and notes on dozens of others.

The guide is packed with visual information — the 1,500 full-color images include more than 1,300 photographs, 18 maps, and 16 night-sky charts, as well as more than 100 drawings explaining everything from geological processes to the basic features of different plants and animals.  

For everyone who lives or spends time in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, or Washington, D.C., there can be no finer guide to the area's natural surroundings than the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Mid-Atlantic States.

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Editorial Reviews

A pocket guide providing an overview of the region's natural history with a color field guide for identifying 1,000 of the region's plants, animals, and other forms of life. Also covers the area's parks, beaches, and wildlife sanctuaries. 4x8<">. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679446828
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Series: Audubon Society Regional Field Guides Series
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 328,087
  • Product dimensions: 4.02 (w) x 7.64 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Alden, principal author of this series, is a birder, naturalist, author, and lecturer. He has led nature tours to more than 100 countries for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lindblad Travel, Friends of the Harvard Musum of Natural History, and cruises on all the world's oceans. Author of books on North American, Latin American, and African wildlife, Peter organized an event called Biodiversity Day in his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts.

Brian Cassie, author of the habitats, parks and preserves, and other sections of this guide, writes and teaches about natural history. He is the co-author of the National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England. Brian lives with his family in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt

From the rocky headlands of Montauk Point, at the eastern tip of Long Island, to the sandy barrier beaches at Back Bay, Virginia, the Mid-Atlantic coastline presents a fascinating front to the Atlantic Ocean. The near-shore life-forms in the region differ Montauk is a regional anomaly -- the only rocky shoreline in the Mid-Atlantic area. The rest of Long Island and shores to the south are dominated by marshlands, lagoons and estuaries, and numerous barrier islands (the longest are Fire Island and Assateague Island). The near-shore life-forms in the region differ markedly from the cooler-water forms of New England and the truly southern species found from Cape Hatteras southward.

Barrier Beaches

Barrier beaches line fewer than 10 percent of the world's coastlines, but in the Mid-Atlantic region they are the predominant coastal feature. Long and narrow, they run parallel to the shore between 1 and 8 miles from the mainland, and are composed of five primary elements: a sandy outer beach, a primary dune system, a leeward interdune swale, a secondary dune ridge, and finally a lagoon shore. It's not known exactly how barrier beaches form, but we do know they are transfigured by every coastal storm. The dunes are held in place by American Beach Grass and other herbaceous species, such as Seaside Goldenrod and Beach Heather. Between the primary and secondary dune ridges grow maritime and shrub forests of Sassafras, American Holly, bayberry, Wax Myrtle, Poison Ivy, and other woody plants and vines; the Sunken Forest on Fire Island is the region's best-known maritime forest. Wildlife is abundant in the thick vegetation; Red Foxes live here with Meadow Voles, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Fowler's Toads, and Eastern Hognose Snakes.

Tidal Flats

Coastal tidal flats, sandy or muddy, may seem to lack animal life at low tide because the animals that live here depend on ocean waters for survival; when the tide recedes, the retract below the mud surface or retreat with the tide until its next incoming stage. (When salt water covers a tidal flat, its true nature may be examined with a glass-bottomed viewing box or mask and snorkel.) Blue, Spider, and Mud Crabs move over the bottom, as do mud snails of several species, and moon snails, whelks, and Atlantic Horseshoe Crabs. Within the substrate are creatures of three feeding types: predators, including many species of marine worms; deposit feeders, again including worms; and suspension feeders, such as scallops, oysters, quahogs, razor clams, and other bivalves. Gulls and shorebirds arrive at low tide to probe the flats for retiring invertebrates. Insert Photo 3: Gateway National Recreation Area, New Jersey

Salt Marshes

From New Jersey to Virginia, the Mid-Atlantic coastline has some of North America's most extensive salt marshes. The region's rivers carry huge amounts of silt and nutrients, and because Mid-Atlantic topography includes a gentle contour at the ocean's edge and river waters slow at their mouths, topsoil is deposited along the shore, building up marshes and supplying them with nourishment. Salt marshes have the highest population of organic material -- 5 to 10 tons per acre per year -- of any habitat on earth. Saltmarsh grasses are the primary vegetation of tracts inundated at high tide. Above the tide line grow Sea Rocket and saltmarsh asters. Common Raccoons and White-footed Mice commonly live in coastal marshes, and bird life is a conspicuous feature: egrets, herons, Clapper Rails, terns, and ducks are here at the right seasons. Fiddler crabs share the shorelines with Ribbed Mussels, Salt-marsh Snails, and periwinkles.

Adirondack Park

The great 10,000-square-mile oval of the Adirondack Mountain range dominates northeastern New York. These are mountains unto themselves, unrelated to the Appalachians to the east and the sprawling Allegheny Plateau to the southwest. First and foremost a land of forests, the Adirondacks include huge acreages of rich northern hardwood forests, dominated by American Beeches, Sugar Maples, and Yellow Birches; mixed woodlands of Red Maple, Black Cherry, Eastern White and Red Pines, and Eastern Hemlock; and northern coniferous woods fragrant with Balsam Fir and Red Spruce.

Of the nearly 1 million acres of wetlands in the Adirondacks, 95 percent are of the wooded variety known as swamps, many dominated by deciduous Red Maple and Black Ash and coniferous Tamarack, Black Spruce, and Balsam Fir. There are 100,000 acres of old-growth, near-virgin forest here, most in designated wilderness areas, but whether old growth or second growth, upland or wetland, deciduous or evergreen, these forests can overwhelm visiting campers, hikers, boaters, botanists, birders, cross-country skiers, and fishermen with their magnificence.

Almost 300 species of birds have been recorded in Adirondack Park, a great many of them breeding species. Waterfowl are conspicuous spring through fall, while hawks of every description, from bird-hunting, resident Northern Goshawks to summering, insect- and rodent-feeding Broad-winged Hawks inhabit the woodlands and their edges. Eight species of woodpeckers, nine flycatchers, and an incredible 35 wood warblers have been observed here. The Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area is an Important Bird Area.

Mammal lovers also have a lot to be watchful for. This was once prime country for Moose, Lynx, and Gray Wolf, and perhaps they will return some day, but for now the park is home to 52 species, including such minuscule creatures as the Water Shrew and Southern Red-backed Vole, as well as lumbering Black Bears, tree-climbing Porcupines, and a panoply of weasels, from Ermine to Fisher.

At almost 6 million acres, Adirondack Park is the single largest park of any kind in the United States outside Alaska. The park's vastness comprises 46 mountain peaks topping 4,000 feet, including Mount Marcy, New York's tallest, at 5,344 feet; some 2,200 ponds and lakes, with 50 lakes 1 square mile or more in area; 1,200 miles of rivers; 30,000 miles of streams; and more than 1,000 miles of billboard-free roadways. Not all of the land is publicly owned; in fact, 62 percent of the holdings are private. Nevertheless, there are mountains, lakes, streams, and woodlands galore for everyone.

While not the geographic center of the park, Lake Placid is the perfect base area for exploring many of the park's northern sectors. The village of Lake Placid has hosted two winter Olympics and so is geared up for cold-weather activities. Whiteface Mountain, to the north of town, is the tallest ski mountain in the East. At any season its summit affords awesome views of Lake Champlain and the peaks of the Adirondacks and the more distant Green Mountains. To the southeast, trails lead up Mount Marcy, a popular if strenuous peak to conquer. The highest reaches of Marcy and 10 other Adirondack mountains have the region's only alpine zone vegetation.

Northwest of Lake Placid is the Visitor Interpretation Center at Paul Smiths. Among the attractions at this 3,000-acre facility are six loop trails, including Barnum Brook Trail (an easy-access trail for the handicapped), the Forest Ecology Trail, and the Boreal Life Trail. Beavers and Closed Gentians are highlights. West of Lake Placid are Tupper Lake and the Saranac Lakes, prime canoeing country. Northeast are the tall sandstone cliffs of Ausable Chasm and the waters of Lake Champlain beyond.

Excerpted with permission from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

    This book was a birthday gift for my outdoor loving wife...

    She was quite pleased with the book and it's coverage of the various flora and fauna described therein. She did however question whether it fully covered all the plant and animal species native to the region the book was written for. She intends to take it with her as a field guide and test it's accuracy and completeness. Overall however, she seemed pleased with it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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