The ocean is a big, beautiful place, and the marine life that lives in and around it are equally as amazing. Maybe you’ve seen a jellyfish while out paddle boarding or had the pleasure of watching a pod of dolphins surf a few waves. Perhaps you’ve caught a few sandcrabs or had to hide your snacks from hungry seagulls. We’re fortunate to coexist with diverse and incredible South Bay and Southern California ocean life. Keep reading to learn what creatures lie in and around the Pacific Ocean.
There are a host of marine mammals that live just off our SoCal coasts. Dolphins are frequently spotted playing in the waves, sea lions are common, and harbor seals are always lounging about. You can also take many whale watching tours from places like Redondo Beach or Catalina Island to get a glimpse of these large majestic creatures. In the summer months, blue whales, fin whales, humpback whales, and minke whales are most commonly spotted.
We’re all well aware of the tons of Seagulls that cruise the coast, but they’re not the only birds on the beach. Brown pelicans and cormorants can be seen floating in the ocean or near the coast. You can also spot the western snowy plover - unfortunately these birds are now classified as a threatened species, but there are many habitat restoration services that have dedicated themselves to protecting the cute little species. If you take a cruise to places like the Anacapa or Channel Islands, you’ll find some rarer species of birds including the island scrub-jay, the blue-footed booby, or the snowy egret.
What’s an ocean without fish!? While we couldn’t possibly name every fish that is living in our local seas, there are a few fun ones to pinpoint. Possibly one of the most famous SoCal fish is the grunion. During peak season, from around March to June, these small fish come out of the sea and up the sand to spawn at night, and many people go on “grunion runs” to catch sight of them. Other neat SoCal fish include corvina, bat rays, california morays, and leopard sharks.
Other Common SoCal Marine Life
At BeachSports, we have a blast digging for sandcrabs, cute little critters that are living just under the hard sand down by the waves. We also find lots of sand dollars and catch sight of jellyfish here and there. A day at the beach is always going to be a blast, and sharing our coast with some pretty cool species is something we’re fortunate to experience!