Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gwent Touring Band and Cala Canutells

Gwent Touring Band, a Welsh band, visited Menorca thanks to Rotary Club of Menorca’s sponsorship. The band offered a series of free performances, which have left only good memories on the island thanks to the band’s professional and human qualities.

for more information about the Gent Touring Band visit see
  -  The Menorca Rotary Club website

 Es Canutells beach on a warm Sunday Morning. 31st. March 2013.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Binixems to Subaida.

It was a beautiful morning. Sunny and warm. The route outlined below is about six miles and runs along rural tracks through meadows and woods.

The road here is quite narrow, so the cars should be left at the shrine of Binixems. From here, leaving the little church on the right and keep walking until you find on the right hand side a track with the name "Cami den Rossi". From this point up to Subaida the route passes through an area with very diverse wildlife.

Asparagus acutifolius, common name Wild Asparagus, is an evergreen perennial plant belonging to the genus Asparagus of the Liliaceae family. The Latin name acutifolius of this species, meaning "thorny leaves", derives from the characteristics shape of the leaves, a quite common feature in the typical plants of the Mediterranean.

Each spring many people in the island collect them on tracks and sidewalks. The next step is a homemade quiche with wild asparagus.

A new chapter in my (photographic) Menorcan Orchid Hunting.


Ophrys tenthredinifera is a species of orchid native to the Mediterranean.  This orchid has rose coloured sepals that contrast with the exterior labellum, which is yellow in colour and trapezoidal in form. This labellum is necked with a small raised protuberance.

 Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis; also known as red pimpernel, red chickweed, poorman's barometer, poor man's weather-glass, shepherd's weather glass or shepherd's clock) is a low-growing annual plant. The native range of the species is Europe and Western and North Africa. The species has been distributed widely by humans, either deliberately as an ornamental flower or accidentally.

 Blue-flowered plants (A. arvensis Forma azurea) are common in Menorca.

 Subaida. One of the most extensive farming estates of the island and well known for the quality of the cheese they make, very appreciated by restaurants and cheesemongers.

The Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) is a butterfly found in the borders of woodland throughout much of the Paleartic ecozone. In North Europe, Central Europe, Asia Minor, Syria, Russia and Central Asia.

The speckled wood occupies a diversity of grassy, flowery habitats in forest, meadow steppe, forest, woods, glades, alongside hedges and and in wooded urban parks. It is found up to 1500 m. above sea level.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Some birds

While having a stroll yesterday evening we could hear the song of a European Nightjar. The first I've heard this year. The bird fauna that can be seen in Menorca changes greatly depending on the seasons.

 European Nightjar (Caprimulgus Europaeus)
Click here to hear their song
Nightjars are nocturnal birds and can be seen hawking for food at dusk and dawn. With pointed wings and a long tails their shape is similar to a kestrel or cuckoo. Their cryptic, grey-brown, mottled, streaked and barred plumage provides ideal camouflage in the daytime. They have an almost supernatural reputation with their silent flight and their mythical ability to steal milk from goats. The first indication that a nightjar is near is usually the male's churring song, rising and falling with a ventriloquial quality.

A few weeks ago in any garden Robins could be seen very often, and on the sidewalks of the roads there were always white wagtails. Today they are not in Menorca. They spent the winter with us but they dont enjoy our summer and return to their Northern breeding places. They will be back in October.

White Wagtail (Motacilla Alba)
Click here to hear their song
 A delightful small, long-tailed and rather sprightly black and white bird. When not standing and frantically wagging its tail up and down it can be seen dashing about over lawns or car parks in search of food. It frequently calls when in its undulating flight and often gathers at dusk to form large roosts in city centres

European Robin (Erithacus Rubecola)
Click here to hear their song.
Males and females look identical, and young birds have no red breast and are spotted with golden brown. Robins sing nearly all year round and despite their cute appearance, they are aggressively territorial and are quick to drive away intruders. They will sing at night next to street lights

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Semana Santa

Spain is especially renowned for its Holy Week traditions or Semana Santa.

A common feature in most of those processions is the almost general usage of the nazareno or penitential robe for some of the participants in the processions. This garment consists in a tunic, a hood with conical tip used to conceal the face of the wearer, and sometimes a cloak. The exact colors and forms of these robes depend on the particular procession. The robes were widely used in the medieval period for penitents, who could demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity. These nazarenos carry processional candles or rough-hewn wooden crosses,

Holy week events started last Sunday in Mahón. 

Holy Friday 2009.
Penitential Brotherhood La Soledad.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Flowering Pistacia Lentiscus

Pistacia lentiscus is a shrub or dioecious tree, with separate male and female plants, evergreen from 1 to 5 m high, with a strong smell of resin, growing in dry and rocky areas in Mediterranean Europe. It resists heavy frosts and grows on all types of soils, and can grow well in limestone areas and even in salty or saline environments, like it does in Menorca.

The aromatic, ivory coloured resin, also known as mastic, is used either as a flavouring or for its gum properties. People in the Mediterranean Area have used mastic as a medicine for gastrointestinal ailments for several thousand years.

More information about that plant and its uses at the Plants For a Future website

Friday, March 22, 2013

Talatí de Dalt

Talatí de Dalt is one of the most remarkable prehistoric settlements on the island.

Canned several monuments: a plant talayot ​​elliptical conical profile, the taula enclosure, housing sector or houses that conserve deck slabs placed radially and supported on columns (called hypostyle halls) and some caves.

Friars Cowl

Arisarum Vulgare, common name of the Friar's Cowl or Larus , is an herbaceous, perennial, with an underground rizhome plant in the genus Arisarum.

A single leaflike bract (spathe) forms a purplish-brown or olive green striped tube about 5 inches long, with an open upper part helmet or hood-shaped curved forward. It is exceptionally common in Menorca during the wet season. Normally November to April.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Orchid hunting

A long time ago, being an orchid hunter wasn’t just for orchid lovers. It was a real profession. During the 18th century this profession reached a new peak. Because of the high demand for orchids, people went in search for these plants in the wild. And back then, the places where orchid hunting took them were very dangerous. In fact, people lost limbs, got eaten by animals, disappeared, and even died because of the danger that came with orchid hunting.

There was a story about a group of people who went to the Philippines in 1901 to search for wild orchids. There were eight of them that started the journey, but only one came back alive. One was said to be eaten by tigers. Another one was said to be burned alive, and the other five just disappeared.

Another story tells of a group of hunters who went to Papua New Guinea. Before their journey finished, their group was captured by the natives. Two of them were even beheaded. Lucky for the other members there was a rescue party sent to save them.

Orchid hunting is usually synonymous with steamy jungles and not Minorcan grasslands, but in our island we have our own modest collection of native orchids, which like their tropical cousins, one has to look carefully.

For months I wanted to find a day to dedicate to this particular "orchid hunting" which in my case does not involve collecting the plant but only to take pictures of it.

Ophys Lutea: Broad asymmetric lateral sepals, dorsal sepal lowered. Extended petals, yellow or with a blue-grey or brown spotted velvety macula. Pollinated by male Andrena bees. This species is notable among Ophrys for the fact that the pollinating bees sit on the labellum facing away from the pollinaria instead of facing towards them, and thus collect the pollinaria with their abdomen.


Orchis tridentata (Three-toothed orchid) is a species of orchid found in southern Europe from Spain to Turkey and Lebanon. This orchid favors grassy places, woodland, scrub and maqui

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cova des Coloms

From the small village of Es Migjorn Gran in southern Menorca, an interesting walk can be taken through the limestone gorge "Barranc de Binigaus" to the huge, natural cave Cove des Coloms. 24 metre high and 116 meters deep, sometimes referred to it as the Cathedral Cave due to its sheer size.

In the canyon you may spot many kinds of flowers, birds and other wildlife. 

Hyoseris Radiata is a perennial stemless herb. Leaves are oblanceolate in outline, glabrous, fleshy, pinnatisect, with broadly ovate to almost orbicular lobes, entire or slightly dentate, runcinate, often overlapping, with acute apex. Involucres are cylindrical-campanulate, and glabrous. Outer phyllaries are ovate-lanceolate with subacute apex; while inner phyllaries are narrowly scarious-margined with obtuse apex. Florets are yellow. Achenes are brown, of 3 types.

Asphodelus Aestivus. The asphodel was supposed to be a remedy for poisonous snake-bites and a specific against sorcery; it was fatal to mice, but preserved pigs from disease. The Libyan nomads made their huts of asphodel stalks. In Greek legend the asphodel is one of the most famous of the plants connected with the dead and the underworld. Homer describes it as covering the great meadow (ἀσφόδελος λειμών), the haunt of the dead. It was planted on graves, and is often connected with Persephone, who appears crowned with a garland of asphodels

 On the way to the cave are remains of several talayots. These cone shaped towers date from prehistoric times, about 2000 BC.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wild flowers....everywhere

It’s been a long, hard winter. At least it’s felt that way. But beautiful wild flowers have been recently growing along the sides of lanes in any place in the island...

Allium triquetrum is a bulbous flowering plant in the genus Allium (onions and garlic) native to the Mediterranean basin

Bellis annua or the Annual Daisy is a species of the genus Bellis
They’re everywhere and they are stunning.

Dinning room windows replacement

The windows of the restaurant needed improvement and we did take advantage of the good weather we have had in the past few days.

It's been a hard job but it is bearly finished and the windows look very nice. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Conciertos de Villa Jardín

As in previous years Hotel del Almirante collaborates with the "Villa Jardín Concert".

Every July the house Villa Jardín in Sant Lluis, hosts some bright evening concerts of classical music within the delicious framework of its garden.

Ivan Martin, who has confirmed their attendance is recognized by both critics and the public as one of the most acclaimed pianists of his generation.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Binissaida and Cala de Sant Esteve

Menorca has a rich paleontological heritage. There are exceptionally well-preserved archaeological sites close to Cala Sant Esteve.

Nice farmhouse about a mille from Cala Sant Esteve. Along the Camí de Cavalls. I think its name is Binissaida Nou or Binissaida d'es Barracons.

During the third British occupation of Menorca, the British governor, General Stuart, ordered the building of various Martello towers at strategic points around the island. The Torre d´en Penjat, or Hangmans Tower, built in 1798, by Engineer Captain Robert D´Arcy, is just one of them. Situated to the south of the port of Mahón is a bay called Sant Esteve, which hugs the southern side of the castle of San Felipe, leaving the fortress vulnerable to attack.

Initially the tower was called Stuart´s Tower, later changed to Hangman´s (Penjat) Tower, after the name of the hill where the convicts from San Felipe were executed.

The tower was built on three levels. The ground floor was used for storage. The first floor was the entrance and is where the troops were housed, and the top of the tower was for combat. On the territorial side of the tower there was a dry moat commanding a 180 degree view from north to south, and the other side of the tower was protected by different ground levels.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Day of the Balearic Islands. Commemoration of the signing of the Statue of Autonomy of the Balearic Islands on 1 March 1983, which is the Day of the Balearic Islands.
Events around the Day of the Balearic Islands are held in late February and early March.

Been in a guided tour to the talayotic town at Montefi. One of the largest megalithic sites in Menorca. A shame there we were only a few visitors to learn more about Menorca’s Talayotic culture (1st millennium BC).

The main Talayot in Montefi. There are three of them and several other structures around.
 The old farmhouse and the traditional owen beside it.
 Vincas (Vinca difformis) have started there bloomming season.