Lifeguards closed off beach access to Del Mar Shores Friday morning after a dead, newborn gray whale washed ashore, officials confirmed.
The decomposing whale was discovered at the Del Mar Shore access point, near Solana Beach, around 8:10 a.m.
According to Jim Gilpatrick with the NOAA Fisheries, the calf is about three to four weeks old.
"It may have been separated from its mother and was unable to nurse because they'll nurse all the way down to the lagoons," said Gilpatrick.
Biologists are not sure why the whale died. There was no sign of foul play or fishing lines, and Gilpatrick speculated the animal may have been born weak. They took samples to try to determine the cause death.
Strong winds hit the beach throughout the morning. The whale was tossed back and forth in choppy water as lifeguards worked to surround the animal. They used a long rope and chain to secure the calf.
Eventually, lifeguards hoisted the 2,000-pound carcass onto a flatbed truck at lifeguard headquarters in Fletcher Cove. From there, it was transported to the Miramar landfill.
This is the time of year gray whales migrate south to give birth. Gilpatrick said some three to four newborn calves die every year during the southern migration.
"Well, it's not the kind of whale watching you really want to have," said Adam Carruth, a Solana Beach resident, "but it's unfortunate, whale died and washed up on the beach."