As I indicated in my post “The Naturalist Mind“, lugging around field equipment is not necessary or helpful. As outlined below, just bring a few items in your “field kit” beyond what you need for your comfort and safety (water, map, food, first aid kit, safety blanket, etc.), depending on the season, the terrain, the length of your outing and your familiarity with the surroundings.
- trusive as possible.
Probably the most useful and detailed consideration of butterfly-watching (as opposed to collecting) can be found in R.M. Pyle’s Handbook for Butterfly Watchers, out of print now to the best of my knowledge, but still available on the used book market.
What about field guides? For many nature enthusiasts, guide books are a must, but I think your time out of doors is better spent observing nature itself than staring into the pages of a guidebook.
The goal is to strike a balance between observing things without the foggiest notion of what one is looking at, and spending one’s time deciding exactly which species of warbler or termite this is. My rule of thumb for guidebooks and all other paraphernalia is simple: to the extent that they satisfy one’s curiosity and stir the imagination, they are assets. Otherwise, they get in the way. I often compromise by leaving the guidebooks in the house or in the car, and challenge myself to be able to identify what I saw from memory, sketches and notes.