Posted by: atowhee | July 19, 2015


It is nearing the best season for pelagic birding off the Pacific Coast.  This may be an unusual year in terms of species and abundance as the El Nino has further warmed surface waters and reduced fish populations near the surface.  Yet, this late summer, early fall season is often the best time for landlubbers to see Sabine’s Gull,  South Polar Skua, Laysan Albatross, Pomarine Jaeger or other birds that are never going to show up at your garden feeder.

For those of us who do occasional pelagics but don’t pretend to know a Pink-footed Shearwater at two miles, there is a new, useful guide to offshore life along the Pacific Coast. sea life

It’s written by Steve Howells and Brian Sullivan, two ace California birders.  Howells has written several books about offshore animals and Sullivan is project leader for eBird so he can quote you the stats on the likelihood of any particular species in a specific place during any time of the year…or he can quickly look it up.

Sullivan’s keynote address on eBird highlighted last May’s Mountain Bird Festival sponsored by Klamath Bird Observatory in Ashland, OR.

Beginner or periodic pelagic birder, this book is a good one to put in your pocket, even if you are queasy and have to wait until you get back to shore to look it up.  Also, excellent way to preview for the trip coming up.sea birds

The book can even help you sort dolphin from porpoise, or vice verse.

It’s from Princeton University Press.  $14.95.

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