Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Offshore Sea Life ID Guide

Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: West Coast

Steve N. G. Howell
Brian L. Sullivan
Todd McGrath
Tom Johnson
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 56
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Offshore Sea Life ID Guide
    Book Description:

    Two-thirds of our planet lies out of sight of land, just offshore beyond the horizon. What wildlife might you find out there? And how might you identify what you see? ThisOffshore Sea Life ID Guide, designed for quick use on day trips off the West Coast, helps you put a name to what you see, from whales and dolphins to albatrosses, turtles, and even flyingfish. Carefully crafted color plates show species as they typically appear at sea, and expert text highlights identification features. This user-friendly field guide is essential for anyone going out on a whale-watching or birding trip, and provides a handy gateway to the wonders of the ocean.

    First state-of-the-art pocket guide to offshore sea lifeOver 300 photos used to create composite platesIncludes whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds, sharks, turtles, flyingfish, and moreAccessible and informative text reveals what to look forGreat for beginners and experts alike

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6597-0
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-2)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 3-3)
  3. [Illustration]
    (pp. 4-4)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 5-9)

    What do the following have in common? Majestic albatrosses sailing effortlessly over the ocean, huge whales sliding through the waves, silvery flyingfish shooting out from a ship’s bow over glassy blue waters. Well, for the most part, you can’t see them from shore. You’ll need to experience these offshore wonders on a boat trip, often called a ‘pelagic trip’ by birdwatchers.

    This identification guide uses composite plates of photos to help you identify offshore marine wildlife—‘things you see at sea,’ be they whales, birds, dolphins, sharks, sea lions, or jellyfi sh. Short accounts distill the essence of identification—wildlife...

  5. [Illustration]
    (pp. 10-10)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 11-11)
  7. Some Words Explained
    (pp. 11-11)
  8. Marine Mammals
    (pp. 12-25)

    Unlike seabirds, marine mammals spend most of their time underwater, coming to the surface to breathe, and rarely do you see the whole animal. Views can be brief, and we provide the clues needed to identify species based on what you are likely to see—a fin, a blow, a head looking around.

    As with ‘seabirds,’ some ‘marine’ mammals live along the coast, such as Harbor Seals and Sea Otters. We do not treat these species because they are not really offshore creatures; they can be seen more easily from land. Other marine mammals can be seen from shore on...

  9. Seabirds
    (pp. 26-49)

    True seabirds live mainly beyond sight of shore, and include the tubenoses such as albatrosses, shearwaters, and storm-petrels, and the alcids (diving birds including puffins, murres, and auklets). Many tubenoses are long-distance migrants that breed in the Southern Hemisphere, whereas West Coast alcids are shorter-distance migrants that breed in the North Pacific.

    Common off shore spring–fall, uncommon in winter. Often follows boats and scavenges. Dark overall with white ‘noseband,’ dusky bill. Older adult has white tail coverts; some birds bleach to whitish on head and neck. Breeds Nov–Jun mainly in Hawaii.

    Uncommon off shore year-round; commoner off s. CA...

  10. Other Sea Life
    (pp. 50-54)

    Ocean Sunfish (Mola)Mola mola. The seas are home to many fish, but most are not easily viewed from a boat. An exception is the bizarre Mola, which can be seen floating at the surface, singly or in loose groups. Laterally compressed, it often lies on its side, looking like a trashcan lid and loosely waving a shark-like fin above the surface. The largest Molas can be over 10 feet across and weigh over 2 tons.

    Sharks are seen occasionally on pelagic trips, most often the slender and sleek Blue SharkPrionace glauca(usually 3–8 feet long off CA)....

  11. Species Codes, Scientific Names, and Index
    (pp. 55-56)
  12. [Map]
    (pp. 57-57)