A day of downs and ups!!!
Jayne and I left the house early and drove the three hours along the motorways towards Vera in Almeria and out to a pool in the Almanzora River near Cuevas de Almanzora where we were looking for the long staying Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria). I parked on the side of the road and set up the scope and scanned through the birds looking for the Sandpiper and soon found 20+ Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), 2x Temminck Stints (Correlimos de Temminck / Calidris temminckii), 10+ Little Stints (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), 2x Wood Sandpipers (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa glareola), 5x Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), 1x Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), 3x Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), 2x Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), 1x Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus) and another bird which was at the back of the pool which my first instincts told me was the target bird but just as I got the scope on it a Black-winged Stilt flushed it, I was fairly confident I saw the dark tail/rump centre but has it went I only got a partial view and it was just not enough for a tick and the bird did not turn up again whist I was there, bummmmmer.
During the five hours we were there I also saw lots of Water Pipits (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) of three different subsp, Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), calling Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina). In the same are I recorded Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) x2 males, Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and lots Painted Ladys (Vanessa cardui).
After 5 hours we decided to cut our losses and headed for the coastal town of San Jose nearer to Cabo de Gata where we had a nice but stupidly expence lunch in a bar there before going up to a nearby spot where Juan Pérez Contreras and his wife Beatriz had seen a Baillon's Crake (Polluela Chica / Porzana pusilla). I dipped on the Crake but did manage to pick up a few migrants including a fine male Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Willow (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) and Bonelli's Warblers (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) as well as Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and more Black-winged Stilts, Green Sandpipers and Little-ringed Plovers. In the same area there were two male Blue / Common Emperors and a male Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Our next stop was the hide over looking the saltpans at Cabo de Gata where I set up the scope and scanned the water and rocky ridges in the pans. In amongst the groups of Gulls and Terns on the rocks I found Yellow-legged, Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Sandwich (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Caspian (Pagaza Piquiroja / Sterna caspia) x2 and Common Tern (Charrán Común / Sterna hirudo) x3. Out on the water there were good numbers of other species and these included Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei), Bar-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and several Shelducks (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna).
We moved a short way down the coast to the superb Rambler Morales where we found 11 Garganey (Cerceta Carretona / Anas querquedula) 7 males and 4 females, White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and lots more Greater Flamingo's. In the area we also had several wildflowers including Yellow Sea Aster (Asteriscus maritimus) and Cynomorium (Cynomorium coccineum) and a couple of unidentified Beetle species.
From here we headed back towards home but called in at a spot on the way where I checked a small cage out in the wilds where they feed the local Gamebirds and soon found that at least 5 Trumpeter Finch (Camachuelo Trompetero / Bucanetes githagineus) and a nice Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura).
Again we continued on towards home but before we arrived we picked up Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and a surprise Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).
Photographs from the top: 2x Temminck Stints (Correlimos de Temminck / Calidris temminckii) with a Black-winged Stilt, 4x Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava), Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Garganey (Cerceta Carretona / Anas querquedula), Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Cynomorium (Cynomorium coccineum) and two x unidentified Beetles.