Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dabbling In Conchology

Wentletraps
 

Last week when I shared some current reading material, I made a passing mention of nature guides often being included in my stack of books on the nightstand.  Alongside novels and non-fiction, I enjoy indulging the amateur naturalist that resides within by trying to learn and understand more about nature’s many wonders.  I can identify a fair number of trees, wildflowers and birds, but when it comes to seashells, I’ve been somewhat limited to those most commonly found along our shores - purple dwarf olives, sand dollars, blue mussels, butterfly “shells” (chiton plates, actually) and a few species of clams and limpets.   Considering my fascination and obsession with all things related to the sea, I should have taken up a laywoman’s version of oceanography a long time ago!  With beach walks now a regular weekly activity and finding a wider variety of treasures from the sea, I’m much more intent on honing my shell identification skills and expanding my overall knowledge of the ocean.  After consulting several books, I've begun identifying some recent "mysteries" in our seashell (and ocean oddities!) collection...

California Trivia (like a mini cowry) found by our daughter
 

According to an old local guide, this is a partial Ida's Miter (or Mitre)
 
California Cone


Still working to ID this trio!

Regardless of our age, by continuing in the role of a “student,” remaining curious and inquisitive, learning a new subject or skill or enhancing our existing knowledge, we exercise our minds and enrich our lives.  What do you enjoy studying?  What’s on your “to learn” list?