A book for wildlife watchers

Rob Simbeck’s new book, The Southern wildlife Watcher” covers fascinating information on 36 creatures making their homes in the southeast. (Photo by Glynn Harris)

I’m a hunter and there is nothing that gets my juices flowing better than to be sitting in my deer stand waiting for a buck or taking a seat on a moss-covered log watching for squirrels.

As much as I am gratified by these activities, I’m never really disappointed if no buck appears or if the squirrels decide to sleep in this morning. Along with packing my firearm when I’m hunting, hanging from a strap around my neck is my camera. I have spent valuable moments observing and photographing other stuff going on around me in the woods. I’ve watched and photographed birds I don’t see around my feeder. I’ve taken images of a spider spinning a web, a caterpillar inching its way along the log where I sit. I suppose you could call me a “wildlife watcher”.

This is why I got really worked up when I heard about a new book just out on the market, one written by a friend and one that last week appeared in my mail box. The author is Rob Simbeck whose home is located in a wooded lot just outside Nashville, TN. While I think of myself as a “wildlife watcher”, Rob has taken it to the limit in his book, “The Southern Wildlife Watcher”.  He not only studies the minute details of the wildlife he observes, his reporting of what he sees and learns about critters from eagles to earthworms; from hummingbirds to house flies; from starfish to snakes, leaves nothing to the imagination. For someone to make an earthworm sound interesting, Simbeck sets himself apart from goobers like me who pictures earthworms only as skewered on a fish hook. And I have the audacity to call myself a “wildlife watcher.”

If I should happen to see a beautiful monarch butterfly fluttering around our lantana blossoms, I might say something like, “gosh, what a pretty butterfly!” Simbeck, on the other hand, shares detailed and utterly fascinating information about these incredible creatures. Quoting in part from his book “Four inches from wing tip to wing tip, a monarch weighs half as much as a dollar bill and has a brain the size of a peppercorn. Yet every fall, millions of them, just a few weeks old, begin an epic migration. From Canada and much of the United States east of the Rockies they head south over terrain they have never seen, toward a dozen specks of forest in the mountains of southern Mexico.”

Entomologist Lincoln Brower known for his research and work toward protection of the monarch added, “I couldn’t believe the density and numbers….it was like walking into Chartres Cathedral and seeing light coming through stained-glass windows. This was the eighth wonder of the world.”

With a brilliant foreword provided by well known author and writer Jim Casada, several other notables have provided their endorsement of this fascinating book. Simbeck continues to be active in the country music industry, interviewing scores of folks who have made their mark on the country music scene. He was the former Nashville rep for Bob Kingsleys’s Top Forty Countdown. Some of the more well-known performers endorsing his book include the late Charlie Daniels and Kix Brooks who wrote “When I heard Rob was writing a book about ‘critters’ in the outdoors, I was really excited and I was not disappointed. What a fun read’.”

Author and long time outdoors writer Keith Sutton adds, “His creature biographies reveal fascinating facts about animals what will stir readers to leave their armchairs and go outdoors to observe firsthand the denizens of woods, fields, oceans and streams.”

Simbeck writes in the preface, “I hope to share within these pages the magic I feel when I encounter the natural world, for we are all part of a cosmic Ferris wheel, whirling around together on this pretty blue planet. May this book unite us in that appreciation, and may it connect us more fully to the creatures around us.”

To purchase a copy of The Southern Wildlife Watcher – $18.95 is a bargain for sure – visit your local book store and ask for it. If they don’t have it, they’ll order it for you. Want an inscribed copy? Go to his web site at robsimbeck.com, tell him what you want and he’ll fix you up. You have my guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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