Twelve days holiday exploring different habitats and cultural sites in search of Jordan's butterflies

Jordan's Butterflies and Culture

Tuesday 27th March - Saturday 7th April 2018


Jordan is one of the smallest Middle East countries but nevertheless it offers excellent butterflies and ancient culture. It is surprisingly underlooked compared with its neighbor Israel which is a hugely popular destination. Situated at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba, on a crossroad between three continents, Jordans butterflies and wildlife is well worth a visit. Our tour goes there when the local butterflies are at the peak of their activity. However, at this time of the year they are joined by a number of migrants. Exploring different habitats we will be looking for the local specialties - Eastern Steppe Festoon, False Apollo, Crimson Tip, Blue Pansy, Dark Grass Blue, The Arabian Sapphire, Large Salmon Arab, Green-striped White, African Caper White, Sooty Orange Tip, Desert Fritillary, Plain Tiger, African Ringlet, Pomegranate Playboy, African Babul Blue, Mediterranean Hairstreak, Blue Spotted Arab, Golden Arab, Aden Skipper, Millet Skipper. Being underlooked Jordan can always surprise a butterfly-watcher with some real rarity, for example from year to year number of known species increasing. The country is also blessed with ancient history and several outstanding cultural sites. The ancient capital Petra we will visit is awe-inspiring monument of the human civilization and our visit there is a well worth, moreover it is also a home to some of our target species.Together with Turkey, Jordan is also the safest and friendliest country to visiting birders in the whole Middle East.

Itinerary

Day 1  
  Arrive at Amman late in the evening and transfer to a hotel for a two night stay.

Day 2   After a late start we will visit Jerash, As Salt, Mahis and Aljub, just north of the capital, which we will explore at our leisure. Highlights today will be Southern Swallowtail, Eastern Steppe Festoon, False Apollo, Cleopatra, Crimson Tip, Blue Pansy, Levantine Marbled White, Turkish Meadow Brown, Pomegranate Playboy, Mediterranean Tiger Blue, Dark Grass Blue, The Arabian Sapphire, Grave's Zephyr Blue, Loew's Blue, Aegean Skipper, Tesselated Skipper, False Marbled Skipper. We will have a look at Zarqa river also. Second night in Amman.
Day 4    Today we will explore the surroundings and also unique Basalt desert (As Safawi), situated north of Azraq. Among the species from previous day here occurs also Persian Fritillary. In the evening return to Azraq for our second night here.

Day 5    Today we drive north-west to Ajlun. On the way we will pass Qasr Amra and some desert and scrub habitats. Here we expect Eastern Steppe Festoon, Large Salmon Arab, Cleopatra, Plain Tiger, Levantine Marbled White, Lesser Fiery Copper, Tesselated Skipper. One night in Ajlun.

Day 6    In the morning we will leave the area and head south, towards the Dead Sea. On the way we shall visit Ghawr Kabid, Deir Alla and Dead Sea area. Possible species here are Eastern Steppe Festoon, False Apollo, African Caper White, Green-striped White, Levantine Marbled White, Dark Grass Blue, Pigmy Skipper, Turkish Meadow Brown, Pomegranate Playboy, African Babul Blue, Millet Skipper. Two nights at Dead Sea hotel.

Day 7    Today we will explore Zarqa Ma-in and Al Mujib Nature Reserve. Here we expect Desert Bath White, Greenish Black Tip, Sooty Orange Tip, African Caper White, Desert Fritillary, Levantine Marbled White, Mediterranean Skipper, Pigmy Skipper, Millet Skipper, Turkish Meadow Brown, African Ringlet, Lederer's Cupid, Loew's Blue, False Marbled Skipper.

Day 8    Today we drive further south and will explore Al Karak, Ghor as Safi and Wadi Dana reserve. Here we expect Mediterranean Hairstreak, Greenish Black Tip, Levantine Marbled White, Blue Spotted Arab, Golden Arab, Mediterranean Tiger Blue, African Babul Blue, Lederer's Cupid, Mediterranean Skipper, Pigmy Skipper. One night at Dana.

Day 9     Short drive to Petra - a unique momument of the human civilization. Being an ancient trading capital of the Nabataean people it was latter abandoned and rediscovered again in 1812. It is also a wonderful site for birding and here we shall look for the Sahara Swallowtail, Jordan Dappled White, Egyptian White, Greenish Black Tip, Sooty Orange Tip, Southern Comma, Pomegranate Playboy, Dark Grass Blue, False Baton Blue, Alfiers Blue, Grave's Zephyr Blue, Loew's Blue. One night at Petra.

Day 10   Today we will drive to and explore Wadi Rum. Here we expect Sahara Swallowtail, Sooty Orange Tip, Scarce Green-striped White, Desert Fritillary and many more. Two nights in Aqaba.

Day 11 Explore Aqaba town mainly for rare migrant species. We will also visit the area in search of Blue Spotted Arab, African Caper White, Greenish Black Tip, African Migrant, Plain Tiger, Desert Fritillary, Pomegranate Playboy, Black-striped Hairtail, Mediterranean Tiger Blue, African Babul Blue, Velvet Spotted Blue.

Day 12 Drive to Amman with few stops on the way. We arrive at the airport late afternoon for our flight back home.




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