A twelve days natural history tour focused on rare butterflies
Monday 2nd - Friday 13th June 2014
This tour is focused on some of the rarest butterflies in Bulgaria – Scarce and Freyer's fritillaries and Large Chequered, Spinose and Tessellated skippers. However, the various habitats we hundred plus species of butterflies, as well as many dragonflies and damselflies, course birds. Most of our tour will explore sites and areas in eastern Bulgaria which are not visited by the classical tours and in fact not studied in great details so even new discoveries are possible. We will also have the option to visit several cultural sites and the Thracian tumulus near Isperih, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List is definitely a worthwhile. We ran this trip last June for a first time and it was a great success. The new itinerary is slightly optimised and we are looking forward to repeating it again in 2013.
Arrival at Varna Airport and transfer (about two hours) to the small village of Kamentsi, north of Dobrich, for a two night stay.
We spend the day in Suha Reka (Dry River) valley. In this region is found most of the Scarce Fritillary’s population in Bulgaria and is the only place in the country where the species is widely distributed and common. Here we expect to see also Yellow-banded Skipper, Clouded Apollo, Chestnut Heath, Weaver’s Fritillary, Large Copper and many more.
Drive (about 2 hours) west to Isperih town for one night stay, with several stops on the way for Glanville, Knapweed, Lesser Spot- ted, Heath, Marbled and Twin-spot fritillaries, Map Butterfly, many blues etc. Afternoon visit to the nearby Thracian Tomb at Sboryanovo – a unique monument of the ancient Thracian culture listed in UNESCO World Heritage List.
Explore the valleys and the woodlands around the tomb and our main target will be the elusive Freyer’s Fritillary. Here we can see also Eastern Baton Blue, Eastern Bath White, Eastern Festoon, Common Glider and many more. In the afternoon we will explore another prime butterfly area –Tufted Marbled Skipper, Eastern Pale and Berger’s Clouded Yellows, Purple-shot Copper, False Eros Blue, Twin-spot Fritillary, Nickerl’s Fritillary, Heath Fritillary, Niobe Fritillary. Late in the afternoon we will drive further south to our next base – the picturesque town of Zheravna where we stay for three nights.
Explore the surroundings for Spinose and Tessellated skippers, Great-banded Grayling, Eastern Baton Blue and Lattice Brown.
Explore the Blue Stones nature park which is another butterfly rich site. Here we expect Poplar Admiral, Purple Emperor, Zephyr Blue, Woodland Ringlet, Apollo, Clouded Apollo, Yellow-banded Skipper, Krueper’s Small White, Southern Small White, Small Bath White, Assmann’s Fritillary and many more.
Drive east towards the Black Sea coast. On the way we shall visit the Burgas wetlands, particularly Mandra and Poda lakes. Here we expect to see many species including skippers - Oriental Marbled, Orbed Red-under- wing and Oberthür’s Grizzled; coppers – Grecian and Lesser Fiery; blues - Chequered, Blue Argus, Lang’s Short-tailed; Nettle-tree Butterfly, Tree Grayling etc. Many dragonflies and birds will be also recorded. Two nights stay in Primorsko, on the Black Sea coast.
Today we explore some marshes along the Black Sea coast. Here we hope to see Large Chequered Skipper, Balkan Green-veined White, Iolas Blue, Lattice Brown, Freyer’s Purple Emperor, Tree and Freyer’s graylings, Southern White Admiral, Camberwell Beauty etc.
Drive near to Kovach locality for a two nights stay. Species we will look for today include Large Blue, Oriental Meadow Brown, Dryad; Eastern Rock, Delatin’s and Great Banded graylings, Cardinal etc.
Explore the woodlands of Strandzha National Park for typical inhabitants of the deciduous forests and clearings – Large Chequered Skipper, Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell, Lesser Spotted Fritillary. Along rivers and streams - some interesting dragonflies: Odalisque, Goblet-marked Damselfly, Southern Migrant Hawker, Small Pincertail, Eastern Spectre, Turkish Goldenring, Balkan Emerald; as well as many woodland birds.
Drive to west to Bratsigovo, for our last overnight for the holiday. Stops on the way for Large Copper, Green-underside Blue, Reverdin’s Blue, Osiris Blue, Adonis Blue, Twin- spot Fritillary. Upon arrival we will check in at the hotel and afterwards explore the nearest hills for Little Tiger Blue, Eastern Rock Grayling, Hermit, Anomalous Blue.
Drive to Sofia for your flight back home, with stop en-route for Chequered Blue, Lesser Purple Emperor, Hungarian and Common Gliders. Departure.