Thursday, May 29, 2014

Butterflies in May.

Lasiommata megera. Wall.

The Wall gets its name from the characteristic behaviour of resting with wings two-thirds open on any bare surface, including bare ground and, of course, walls! Many people will have come across this butterfly on footpaths, especially in coastal areas, where the butterfly flies up when disturbed, before setting again a few metres ahead.

The basking behaviour of this butterfly allows it to benefit from the full warmth of the sun whose rays shine directly on the butterfly, but also get reflected back onto the butterfly from whichever surface it is resting on. This habit allows the butterfly to raise its body temperature sufficiently high for it to fly. In particularly hot weather, however, such basking is avoided and the butterfly may even retreat to a suitably-shaded spot to avoid overheating.

This species was once found throughout England, Wales, Ireland and parts of Scotland. Today, however, is a very different picture, with this species suffering severe declines over the last several decades. It is now confined to primarily-coastal regions and has been lost from many sites in central, eastern and south-east England. It is more common in north Africa and Southern Europe.

This butterfly is found in relatively small colonies that are self-contained although some individuals will wander, allowing the species to quickly colonise suitable nearby sites. In Menorca there are 3 generations each year, the first one emer in May.

Pictures were takien at S'Argossam.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Menorca Maxi 2014

Menorca Maxi gets underway on Wednesday, May 21st, at 12:30pm CET with the practice races. The nine Wallys and three J-Class yachts taking part in the inaugural edition of what aspires to be a highlight in the Med's maxi yacht racing season will face a brand new, for nearly all of them, and exciting venue.

The windward/leeward races will be held approximately 1.5 miles south of the bay's mouth. Depending on weather conditions, Friday's coastal race, between 25 and 35 nautical miles long, will take the two fleets along the island's striking coastline, rounding spectacular landmarks such as the Favaritx lighthouse or the Isla del Aire. On Saturday, if the breeze allows it, organizers plan to put the second race's finish line inside the spectacular bay of Mahón, a few hundred meters from Club Marítimo.

Find all the details in MENORCA MAXI

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Black-winged stilt and Dracunculus

The black-winged stilt, common stilt, or pied stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is a widely distributed very long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family. (Recurvirostridae).

 Adults are 33–36 cm long. They have long pink legs, a long thin black bill and are blackish above and white below, with a white head and neck with a varying amount of black. Males have a black back, often with greenish gloss. Females' backs have a brown hue, contrasting with the black remiges. In the populations that have the top of the head normally white at least in winter, females tend to have less black on head and neck all year round, while males often have much black, particularly in summer. This difference is not clear-cut, however, and males usually get all-white heads in winter

Dracunculus is a genus of 3 species of a tuberous perennial of the family Araceae. They are characterised by a large purple spathe and spadix, often produced in advance of the pedate, dark green leaves often with white mottling. The open spathe is usually accompanied by a foul smell.

The species native in Menorca is Dragons Mouth Arum (Dracunculus Muscivorus). The common name refers to the unique and powerful scent! 'Probably the most disgusting flower I have ever encountered...' was one group member's reaction to seeing this rare relative of the common Dragon Arum and the word 'muscivorus' means fly-eating. but it merely attracts them with that dead meat scent to spread the pollen, as it happens with other Arums.

Both pictures were shoted by Ms. Carol Crawford, Guest, Ecologist and Artist.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fennel Flowers at Binicalaf

Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, is a perennial herb. It is erect, glaucous green, and grows to heights of up to 2.5 m, with hollow stems. The flowers are produced in terminal compound umbels 5–15 cm wide, each umbel section having 20–50 tiny yellow flowers on short pedicels. The fruit is a dry seed from 4–10 mm long, half as wide or less, and grooved.

 It is a highly aromatic and flavourful herb with plenty of culinary and medicinal uses all over the world.
Along with the similar-tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. The bulb, foliage, and seeds of the fennel plant are widely used in many of the cooking traditions of the world.

It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks. 

Old farmhouse at Binicalaf. The words "d'es Pou" mean the propertie has its own well of drinking water. Very important in the past when there were no water pipes.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Apple of Sodom, Solanum sodomeum.

Solanum sodomaeum - Apple of Sodom - (Solanaceae)

This relative of the deadly nightshade is a poisonous plant, and is found occasionally in many Mediterranean countries. Apple of Sodom is a member of the nightshade family, Solaneaceae, and it has attractive flowers but also vicious thorns.

 Flowers in May

 Group of plants in flower in Sant Lluis

All parts of this plant are poisonous, but the yellow fruits are extremely dangerous

Friday, May 9, 2014

New customer...Great Tit

She flew in through the door and fluttered around the pictures hanging off the walls.

 The Great Tit (Parus Major) is a distinctive bird, with a black head and neck, prominent white cheeks, olive upperparts and yellow underparts, with some variation amongst the numerous subspecies. It is predominantly insectivorous in the summer, but will consume a wider range of food items in the winter months.

The Great Tit occupies a range of habitats. It is most commonly found in open deciduous woodland, mixed forests and forest edges. In dense forests, including conifer forests it is usually found in forest clearings. In Menorca is common in parks and gardens.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Surroundings of Trepucó

One of the old farms at Trepucó. Long ago was it was a fertile agricultural area, today has a residential use only.

Anagallis Arvensis.
It grows in both cultivated and uncultivated lands and also in dune areas throughout Europe, where it is considered a weed and flag loose soils.

I found those to signals at Trepucó. Maybe a joke, or some wildlife I heve never seen!

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Latitude 39.873607. Longitude 4.265410. About 1 mile to the south of Mahon (Mao) at the far south-eastern side of the Island of Minorca (Menorca) stands the ancient settlement of Talayot de Trepuco - with the megalithic table-shaped Taula monument in the middle of the circular enclosure walls. This prehistoric village-settlement of Trepuco is located less than 1 mile to the south of Mahon town and just a little east of the ME-8 Carretera de Mao to Es Castell, and the through  the Camí Verd.

In the centre of the circular ancient settlement or village (Talayot) a complex of excavated houses surrounded by a defensive wall and watchtower, stands the tallest megalithic monument (Taula) on Minorca. The whole site is thought to date back to the Bronze-Age 2,000-1,200 BC although there is some uncertainty about this. The tall granite megalithic slab-stone stands at 4 metres or 13 feet high with a second huge retangular-shaped slab on top that is 3.75 metres or 12 foot 4 inches long by 1.84 metres or 6 feet wide. The monument is typically shaped like a letter “T” and what looks to many like a table – perhaps in the form of a table-tomb. More than likely it was set up as a shrine or altar to the dead or perhaps rituals to the gods took place here. The burials would have originally lain beneath or around the taula.

The talayot settlement-cum-village is enclosed by low defensive, drystone walls, but originally they would have been much higher. A watchtower would have stood along the walls – this is now not easy to make out. The site consists of a number of prehistoric houses forming the settlement that have been excavated, as well as some grassy mounds, that as yet, have not been looked at. There are five houses here that are made of rough, un-mortered dry stone-walling and at intervals tall slabs which acted as roof supports indicate their original height. Each house is different in shape, layout and style. Today the rough walls of these ancient buildings only stand to a quarter of their original height. Also, two excavated rooms adjoin the houses and a smaller talayot house is built onto the defensive wall. It seems obvious that there has been much robbing-away of stonework over the centuries here. The grassy mounds have not yet been excavated archaeologically, and it is unclear what they are, but it  is likely they are houses, rather than for the burial of the dead. This will only be known when a proper excavation is done.