When I moved here in November 2007, I found a book by Blair and Dawn Witherington called “Florida’s Seashells A Beachcomber’s Guide”. It’s all about the shell’s on Florida’s beaches, where to find them, and some great info on each shell. The book is very well divided into information on finding beach shells, mollusk anatomy, gastropods, cephalopods, scaphopods, bivalves, very small shells and fossil shells. Also, on each page is a map of Florida and a color-coded guide to when and where this particular shell is found. I either take this book with me on beachcombing trips or, once I get home, I go through all my shells and match them with the book to see what I found that’s new. My goal with this book is to find one of each shell listed. So far I have 139 of the 252 species of shells found in the book. Not bad for only 8 months of beachcombing. The book sells for $9.95 and can be found at most Florida bookstores and Amazon.com.
Not long after I started marking up my copy of “Florida’s Seashells…” (I check off what I find) I discovered another book by this duo. “Florida’s Living Beaches A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber” goes much further in showing us what can be found on the beaches. This book covers beach features (dunes, sea foam, tides, water color, shell hash, etc), beach animals (any critter that washes up on the beach, fish, birds, reptiles and mammals), beach plants, beach minerals (ever wonder why one beach looks different from another?), and man-made stuff that washes up. There are plenty of pictures and each page has a color-coded map of where and when to find these things on Florida’s beaches. “Florida’s Living Beaches” is an amazing book that we pack on our beach outings. I’ve become a scavenger on the beach now, picking up anything that looks cool. I’ve learned that you find interesting shells and critters when you pick through sea weed. And I love identifying plants and watching birds. This book is $21.95 and well worth the price. I highly recommend both of these books.