A beachgoer found the roughly 22-foot carcass at the edge of the water in the Del Mar Shores area of southern Solana Beach shortly before 7:30 a.m., said lifeguard Sgt. Greg Uruburu.
It was not immediately clear how the whale died, but National Marine Fisheries Service staff were performing tests. The whale was photographed, measured and cut into to obtain samples.
City crews waited for low tide, then used a heavy-lifting machine to load the whale onto a flatbed truck for transport to Miramar Landfill. The personnel had the carcass off the beach by about 3 p.m., Uruburu said.
It was unclear what caused the death of the whale, thought to be 1 to 2 years old, though a National Marine Fisheries Service employee told lifeguards it appeared to have been undernourished, the sergeant said.