A twelve days natural history tour focused on rare butterflies

Scarce Butterflies

Monday 10th - Friday 21st June 2019

This tour is focused on some of the rarest butterflies in Bulgaria Scarce and Freyers 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 optimized and we are looking forward to repeating it again in 2019.

ITINERARY

Day 1 Arrival at Sofia  Airport and transfer (about two and a half hours) to Veliko Turnovo, for one night stay.

Day 2 Drive (about 2 hours) to Isperih town for one night stay, with several stops on the way for Glanville, Knapweed, Lesser Spotted, 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.

Day 3 Drive (about hour and a half) east to Tervel town for one night stay. We will spend the day in Suha Reka valley. In this region is found most of the Scarce Fritillarys 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, Weavers  Fritillary, Large Copper and many more.

Day 4 Explore the valleys and the woodlands around for Eastern Baton Blue, Eastern Bath White, Eastern Festoon, Common Glider and many more. In  the afternoon we will  explore another prime butterfly area for Tufted Marbled Skipper, Eastern Pale and Bergers Clouded Yellows, Purple-shot Copper, Eros Blue, Twin-spot Fritillary, Nickerls 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.

Day 5 Explore the surroundings for Spinose and Tessellated Skippers, Great-banded Grayling, Eastern Baton Blue and Lattice Brown.

Day 6 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.

Day 7 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 Obertur`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.

Day 8 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.

Day 9 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.

Day 10 Explore the woodlands of "Strandzha" Nature 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.

Day 11 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.

Day 12 Drive to Sofia for your flight back home, with stop en-route for Chequered Blue, Lesser Purple Emperor, Hungarian and Common Gliders. Departure.