Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Painted Pigeons

Around this time of year in the Costa Blanca and Murcia, you will see flocks of brightly coloured pigeons circling round, this is not just the whim of the owners to tart them up a bit, but they are painted in individual owners colour schemes to participate in a sport, not racing, but the sport of being amorous. The male pigeon is trained from the age of about three months to have the staying power of a long and intense courtship. At the start of the competition up to 80 cocks are released to fly around then a hen pigeon is released under a tree- any kind of tree, and the cock birds all arrive and make up to her. The hen is trained to be an expert in evading their attentions and will hide in trees, veer away while in flight and get up to all sorts of tricks. The competition takes place over 6 days and the winner is the the male pigeon that has spent the most time in the the air with the female and the most time in courtship on the ground. The referee totals up points by watching the proceedings and at the end of the week comes up with a winner.

Walkie talkies are used to pinpoint the flocks whereabouts, the Murcia club use a microlite to monitor the proceedings and when Benidorm hosted the National championships in 1997 they hired a helicopter to track the birds.

There are area competitions which progress to the national championships and the winner can be worth up to 30,000 euros.

Since moving to the campo in 2011 we have found that some people actually use whole houses as a pigeon loft, living in the town and coming out to the campo house to tend their pigeons.  

Monday, November 13, 2006

Rain Rain and Jelly Fish

Well at last we have just had a week of rain , heavy at times and grey skies to go with it, the temperature dropped and it was a bit cool to say the least. On the television news the main stories were of flooded streets and film of cars being swept down rivers of muddy water, people get so used to parking in dried up drainage channels that when the rain appears the channels turn into a raging torrent and their cars disappear bobbing down the river. The happy people were the farmers whos crops relished the good soaking. Now the rain has stopped and we are back to blue skies and warm days, the evenings have a chill to them and the sea has cooled down a bit but it is still nice for a swim.

At Javea, tons of jelly fish were washed up on the beach, so many that council workers spent most of the day clearing them away.