A week in Macedonia and Greece looking for summer butterflies.

Jewels of Macedonia

Sunday 30th July - Monday 7th August 2017

This holiday is focused on two main target species of butterflies which are not to be seen on our spring and early summer tours. The Grey Asian Grayling is a very local Balkan endemic emerging only after the beginning of August and thus requires a special visit in its nice home range in Macedonia - Galitchitsa mountain. The other highlight in our holiday is the beautiful Two-tailed Pasha - probably the most exotic European butterfly. It is not that rare at all, in fact it is quite spread throughout the Mediterranean. But as its first brood is not abundant at all and the second one emerges not before the beginning of August, it also needs a special visit in order to find it. This one we will find in Greece, Chalkhidiki peninsula. Beside the two main species, we will find roughly 100 or so other species of butterflies, including other rarities, such as Macedonian Grayling, Eastern Greenish Black-tip, Little Tiger Blue and possibly the beautiful Balkan Clouded Yellow. We will also see dragonflies - Balkan Goldenring, Black Pennant, Bladetail, White-tailed Skimmer and many more. Macedonia will offer also a few species of special birds such as Levant Sparrowhawk, Lesser Kestrel, Montague's Harrier, Eastern Imperial Eagle and Rock Thrush and even Rock Partridge while lake Kerkini in Greece may provide a spectacular bird variety - both pelicans, Pigmy Cormorant, waders, terns and many more.

ITINERARY

Day 1     Arrival at Sofia airport and drive to Rila Mts, near the Rila monastery our first base for the trip. Accommodation and dinner.

Days 2 to 4     Drive to Macedonia, our base for the next three days is hotel, situated near the Albanian border. A short drive from the hotel bring us at the top of Galitchitsa Mountain, declared a national park, rich in wildlife, and nicely surrounded by both Prespa and Ochrid lakes. For two days we will be looking for our target species here - the very fine and extremely local Grey Asian Grayling. Beside it we will find many other butterflies, including Esper's Marbled White, Damon Blue, Balkan Copper, Sandy Grizzled Skipper, Lesser Lattice Brown, Apollo, Woodland Grayling, Hermit, Dusky Meadow Brown, Grecian Anomalous Blue, Eros Blue, Purple and Brown hairstreaks and many more.

Day 5     Today we will drive towards Kerkini Lake, which we will reach late in the evening, but will break the journey with several stops on the way. One of them will be Prilep town as its surroundings hold a different variety of species - the endemic Macedonian Grayling, but also Eastern Greenish Black-Tip, White-banded, Balkan, Delattin's, Eastern Rock and Tree  graylings, Hermit,  Little Tiger Blue, Blue Argus, Lesser Fiery Copper, Large Tortoiseshell and Lattice Brown.  Overnight in a lake view hotel.

Day 6 During a good part of the day we will explore the lake syurroundings looking Large Copper, Long-tailed Blue, Short-tailed Blue and the many wetland birds. In the afternoon, two to three hous drive will bring us to our next site - Halkidiki peninsula, having the true Medditeranean athmosphere.  Overnight in the village of Vourvourou for two nights.

Day 7     We will look for the beautiful Two-tailed Pasha, our main target here, and we have enough time to find it and see it well, also to photograph it. The dry foothills does not hold many other species but we will also see look for Cleopatra, Lattice Brown, Southern White Admiral, Nettle-tree Butterfly, Scarce Swallowtail, Long-tailed blue, Geranium Bronze.The hotel we stay in is next to the beach and we have the option to cool down in the Mediterranean sea.
 
Day 8     Transfer to Bulgaria, near Melnik where we will look for Freyer's Purple Emperor, Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Mediterranean Skipper, Oriental Marbled Skipper, Map Butterfly, Oriental Meadow Brown. Last overnight.

Day 9 Two and a half hours drive will bring us to Sofia airport for you flight back home. Time permitting we will have few stops on the way, especially for Dusky Large Blue.

Note: This tour requires early booking as its dates coincide the peak of the summer season in both areas we will be staying in so all the hotels are booked long before the summer.



TOUR MAP