THE Ministry of the Environment has confirmed that one of the four osprey chicks reintroduced into the Pego-Oliva marshes has died, killed as a result of coming into contact with an electricity pylon. Pylons and wires are seen as the main dangers to the rare birds and have been removed or made safe in their home environment. However, ospreys are migratory birds and the bird, named Quillo, was killed in Morocco last month while on its travels.

Despite this setback, the project is still judged an overall success as the creatures have settled in and there are plans to introduce four more chicks in 2020. This will mean that the area will be well on the way to having a breeding colony of the creatures that used to be relatively common until humans became their biggest enemy, mainly through hunting and over-development of their natural territory. Of the remaining three young birds, two have followed migratory patterns to Africa while one has chosen to stay in this part of the world, spending most of its time in the flooded paddy fields of northern Valencia. In contrast one of the trios has been tracked to the French city of Toulouse before travelling to Morocco and across the Sahara Desert while it is currently in Senegal, over 3,000 kilometres from its Pego homeland.

IT is not very often that a sixteen-year-old female is the keynote speaker at a major international conference, but all eyes have been on Greta Thunberg in Madrid this week at the COP25 change conference. The Swedish teenager has become the face of the global climate change debate, partly due to the stark contrast between her and prominent “old white guys” like Donald Trump who deny that it is even happening, seemingly flying in the face of science.

Ms Thunberg held conferences with other young people such as Carlon Zachras from the Marshall Islands. The remote archipelago is deemed the world’s most at risk from climate change and rising tides but as Zachras pointed contributes exactly “0.0000001% of the worlds CO2 emissions”, or a millionth of one per cent. The main argument Greta is putting forward at the conference is the difference between the huge concern of people on the streets concerning climate change and the actions – or lack of them – from first world governments.

THERE will be a special tribute to Javea tennis star David Ferrer organised by his home-town council this Saturday, December 14. Ferrer retired from the sport earlier this year and has always stayed close to his roots, giving back to Javea where he could. He rose to number three in the world rankings, but it was his consistency that made him stand out, being a top 10 player for seven seasons. The event will be on the paseo that the town was named after him on the Arenal beach, starting at 12.30 pm. All are welcome – contact the town hall for further information.

 

Pictured: Ferrer bids farewell to the game in May.

ALTHOUGH the summer seems a distant memory, the result of sea-water purity tests carried out along the Marina Alta back then have just been made public. Benitatxell’s Cala del Moraig came out in the highest possible category being officially rated as “excellent”. The results were compiled from samples taken over the last four years during the height of the summer season, 59 of them in all. The different categories for bathing water are excellent, good, sufficient and insufficient while the tests are carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture.

MIRACULOUSLY no one was hurt as a Briton stole a coach in Benidorm, sending parked up mopeds and bikes flying and smashing into cars. The incident happened in the early hours of last Sunday morning after the unnamed 27-year-old male stole the bus which was parked up in the Palau d’Esports on the outskirts of the resort. He was seen ploughing through Avenida Belgica in the Rincon area of the town at about 3.30 am and damaged vehicles including a police car.

The bus ended up on the pavement after a number of police cars managed to block it in and the “driver” was arrested. Reports are that he was on holiday, but this has not been confirmed. The detainee is likely to face a number of serious charges even if he passes the toxicology tests, which most agree is unlikely. A disgruntled local posted on social media “Benidorm doesn’t change. We Spanish are being hit with taxes everywhere and the English do what they like and nothing happens.”

A bit like a certain famous spread, Brussel sprouts are a “love them or hate them” type of thing for most people. Nonetheless, they are a staple of a traditional British Christmas dinner, if not a Spanish one. Over here they are called “coles de Bruselas” and can be found in the freezer section of many of the larger local supermarket chains and, less frequently, in the fresh produce section. You may also be able to buy them fresh at your local street market.

So why do we insist on eating sprouts at Christmas, although they have been voted the most divisive food on the table? Partly it’s for the simple reason that they are a winter crop and would have been readily available. Despite being grown in mainland Europe for centuries Brussels didn’t really come to Britain until Victorian times and it was seen as a novelty to eat the “mini cabbages” on a special occasion such as Christmas. The general verdict is that as with so many of our modern festive traditions, eating sprouts seems to have sprung up in middle-class Victorian times and hung around ever since.

So how do you best eat them? Well, chefs seem to agree that the best way to avoid the bitter taste that so many people can’t stand is to add something such as bacon or a small amount of sugar that offsets the taste. Cutting them in half first can also make a difference and never overcook your sprouts. Or you could just have an extra roast potato.

THE “Sucs a l’escola” campaign which distributes oranges and orange juice to schoolchildren in Denia, Jesus Pobre and La Xara started on Monday and will run until May 2020. The organic produce is all grown locally with Denia town hall donating 125 kilograms of fruit each week for the eight public schools, two children’s centres, two religious schools and two private schools in the area taking part. The children from the Raquel Paya centre have a special role to play and will be taking part in the first day of the campaign in each centre, helping with the catering and juicing. Overall the aim is to promote healthy eating habits among local youngsters that will hopefully continue into adulthood. It is also a good promotional tool for the areas agri-food sector.

THE Serra d’Olta with its views of the sea and the Ifach is the glorious setting for Calpe’s fifteenth half marathon which takes place this Sunday 15 December. There are two separate courses, a 17.5 kilometre one for those who are walking and 21 kilometres for the runners. The elevation for the shorter course is 750 metres while it is around a thousand metres for the longer one. The events start at 8 am for the walkers and then 9 am for those who are running. For more details on the race and to register to go to www.mychip.es Minors can take part but will need an authorisation form completed by a parent or guardian which is also on the website.

A wide strip of the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Javea looks set to become a Specially Protected Area of Importance due to its importance for migrating whale populations. The giant cetaceans are creatures of habit and use the same route each year, surprisingly close to shore off Javea and Denia. The “whale highway” as it is commonly known runs along the Catalan and Valencian coast as well as skirting the Balearic Islands. The decision to recognise its importance has been adopted at the COP21 climate conference in Naples and could lead to measures such as speed limits on vessels that use the protected marine corridor. Environmental group OceanCare praised the move, calling it a great opportunity to fight issues such as underwater noise which badly affect the whale’s internal guidance system and may even lead to beachings of the marine giants.