The Outer Lands: A Natural History Guide to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island, and Long Island

The Outer Lands: A Natural History Guide to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island, and Long Island

by Dorothy Sterling

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Experience the unique ecology of the Outer Lands in this reissued classic

“An extraordinary achievement in natural history and science. But it’s so artfully written you forget it’s a scientific treatise and find yourself reading it with sheer pleasure.” — Provincetown Advocate

Dorothy Sterling explores the fascinating plants and animals that inhabit the peninsulas and islands of the East Coast known as the Outer Lands. With vibrant original drawings by Winifred Lubell and a new foreword by natural historian Robert Finch, The Outer Lands is a lively, lovingly observed biography of place.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682681893
Publisher: Countryman Press, The
Publication date: 07/03/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
File size: 21 MB
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About the Author

Dorothy Sterling (1913—2008) was a native New Yorker who lived for many years on Cape Cod in Wellfleet. She made many trips to Nantucket, Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Long Island. She was a painstaking and thorough researcher with a long list of natural history, biography, and fiction books to her credit.

Table of Contents

Foreword: A Second Look at Dorothy Sterling's the Outer Lands vii

Maps 2

Preface 7

I Birth of the Outer Lands 9

The Big Ice

The Hills

Plains and Ponds

The Sea's Work

Wind and Weather

5000 A.D.

II The Ocean Beach 21




The Wanderers

Mole Crabs and Sand Hoppers



III Bays and Sounds 35

The Flats 35



Hermit Crabs

Worms Can Be Beautiful

Oyster Beds 57

Oyster Drills

Oyster Crabs

Jingle Shells

Boring Sponges

The Eelgrass Jungle 63



Starfish and Brittle Stars

Pipefish and Sea Horses

Rocky Shores 73


Moss Animals

Rock Snails and Chitons



Sea Urchins and Sand Dollars

Sea Anemones


Wharfs and Breakwaters 92


Sea Squirts


Shallow Water 98


Horseshoe Crabs



Birds 112

Plants of the Beach 117

IV The Marshes 121

Meadows by the Sea

The Creeks

See How They Run

Fiddlers on the Banks

The Marsh Community

Salt Plants

The Fresh Marsh

Marshes and Men

V The Dunes 143

Building a Dune

Dune Neighborhoods

Dune Forests

Anchors Aweigh

VI Ponds and Bogs 159

Still Waters

The Tide of Life


Pond Plants


Appendix: Checklist of Scientific Names 173

Index 181

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