After not having been out much for more than a month, of course I was glad to get out again, even if it wasn't on a bird-specific trip. The destination was the famous Venice Beach, which apparently is well-known for its culture, street performers etc.
However I was more interested in the beach itself, and its neighbour Marina Del Rey. The Sanderling is one of those 'big' birds (Others being Peregrine, Osprey etc.) that has been common in each country I've lived in, but I've still yet to come across.
Venice beach matched the description of this bird's winter habitat perfectly, and I was literally told that all I would have to do is find some waves anywhere down the coast and the birds would be there. Since I had spent a lot of effort trying to locate them in the past I was a bit skeptical.
The gulls around the place were fairly typical, but I surprised to find that the inland prairie California Gull actually outnumbered the typical Western Gulls in some areas. The very pretty Heerman's was also in great abundance here, too.
Almost immediately on seeing the beach I caught sight of a flock of minute little shorebirds coursing around the coastline. Oh, I wonder what they could possibly be?
Funny little birds.
And yes, I did check the flock very thoroughly. As you may know shorebirds, like warblers, are very sociable and any strays will almost certainly socialize with the locals. But I saw nothing. At least until I looked through the pictures. If you look carefully on the left side (closer to the middle in the second) of these images there is a smaller, darker brown bird.
So there we have it. My 488th bird, the Sanderling.