2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year for marine mammals off California. There is already a huge “blob” of warm water offshore, and emerging indications of a possible apocalypse-scale El Niño in late summer and fall. We can expect a massive die-off of marine flora and fauna (there’s already a spike in dead or dying Guadalupe fur seals), but also some visits by tropical species. Since marine mammals occurring off Mexico and Central America are not known nearly as well as those north of the border, there might be some complete surprises. I recommend signing up for a few pelagic trips in Channel Islands area in August-November.
A few weeks ago an unusual whale was briefly seen during a regular whalewatching trip from Monterey. It was initially identified as a fin whale, but I suspect it could be the recently described Omura’s whale, so far the only whale known to occur on the Asian side of the North Pacific but not on the American side. It is difficult to identify, and could be routinely overlooked.