This afternoon, fed up of housework, translating and of niot getting out birding at all, I hiead me off to Calaburras, to the west of Fuengirola, in search of a species which I used to see in several tens and even hundreds of Purple Sandpipers at Filey Brigg and they even get goodly numbers at some sites in northern Spain, such as Gijón. But these rather dull and inconspicuous little waders who like pottering around on rocks only just make it down to the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Med., which is the southern limit of their range. They started turning up at Calaburras (it's in the 3rd edition of the 'Where to watch birds....' guide) about 6 years ago and have never numbered a maximum of more than 5 or 6 birds. This winter there appear to have been only a couple and there they were when I went down there this afternoon.
Actually, Calaburras is quite an interesting seawatch spot too, it having been pioneered by Paco Ríos, who was down there, along with a single, very smart male Ringed Plover, some 5 or 6 of its smaller relation the Kentish Plover, the males looking very smart with their cinammon coloured crowns, ca. 10 Sanderlings and a couple of Turnstones. The sea was like a mill pond and there was little to see except the usual Cormorants sitting on rocks round to the right and some sparkling adult Gannets out at sea. This single, persil white, Little Egret is quite frequent there and generally sits around doings its Quasimodo act although at low water it can get quite animated fishing.
I had just got back home when I had a phone call from Rai Martín whose birding area is Cabo de Gata and Almería Bay. This morning he had seen 5 storm-petrels feeding in front of the little Byzant
ine-like church cum hermitage at Torre García. He thought that they were Leach's and after the description he gave and some quetioning from me, I'm certain that they were. They are speacies particularly susceptible to long periods of bad weather and there are records from the Mediterranean as far east as Suez. A jolly good record!
26/01 : There were still 2 Leach's Stormies present yesterday (per Rai Martín).