Guided butterfly, botanical & birdwatching holidays
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Butterflies & Botany of the Kaçkars in Turkey

Dates & Prices

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Dates: 15 – 23 July 2017 Guaranteed departure!

Price: £1,395

Single Room Supplement: £none

Deposit: £150 per person


Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transport, services of guides, entry fees, printed & bound holiday report and a donation to Butterfly Conservation

Not Included: International & internal flights, travel insurance, drinks and any other personal items

Conservation Donation: 10% of profits donated to Butterfly Conservation

Leader(s): Martin Warren, Yiannis Christofides & Yasemin Konuralp

Group Size: Minimum of 5 and a maximum of 12 guests plus 2-3 leaders.

Grade: Generally short walks at a gentle pace and in a variety of terrains, ideally suited for photography

Holiday Highlights


  • Stunning landscapes of imposing mountains, alpine & subalpine meadows, woodland, rivers & Mediterranean habitats – home to an extraordinary diversity of flowers, insects and other wildlife!
  • 200+ butterfly species have been recorded in the region – more than half of Turkeys impressive total number of around 380!
  • 45 endemic butterfly species & 21 near endemics make Turkey a very special place
  • Rich flora with 2,500 species of plants, 300 of which are found exclusively in Turkey and 160 found only in the Kaçkar Mountains
  • Many species of Campanula, Gentians, Centaurea, Dianthus, Silene, Digitalis exotic Acantholimon, beautiful Papaver and plenty of others
  • Relaxed pace ideally suited to photography & full enjoyment of the wildlife & scenery
  • Contribute to Butterfly Conservation

A new and exciting holiday for 2017 – our two centre nine day tour exploring the Kaçkar Mountains in northeast Turkey for a wonderful array of butterflies & flowers!

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Holiday Guide

Dr Martin Warren is one of Europe’s leading butterfly ecologists, having studied butterflies for over 40 years. Following a research career at London and Cambridge, Martin became a butterfly specialist with the Nature Conservancy Council before joining Butterfly Conservation as their first Conservation Officer in 1993. Later, as Chief Executive, he helped the charity grow to become the largest insect NGO in the world with over 75 staff and 30,000 members.

Martin has published over 300 scientific papers and reports, and is co-author of several books, including the Red Data Book of European butterflies and the Climatic Risk Atlas of European butterflies. In 2004, he helped found Butterfly Conservation Europe which now has over 40 partner organisations in 35 countries across Europe. In 2007 Martin won the Marsh Award for Insect Conservation from the Royal Entomological Society and has been voted in the top 10 British conservationists by BBC Wildlife Magazine. He has a wealth of knowledge about European butterflies which he is keen to use to inspire people to enjoy and conserve these amazing insects.

A new and exciting holiday for 2017 – an exploration in the Kaçkar Mountains of northeast Turkey, for a wonderful array of  butterflies & flowers!

New for 2017 our 2 centre 9 day tour of northeast Turkey! Join butterfly expert Martin Warren and botanical expert Yiannis Christofides in an exploration of the Kaçkar Mountains! Vastly experienced and knowledgeable local guides will accompany us to assist in discovering some of the areas best flower and butterfly treasures!

The Kaçkar mountains rise steeply from Turkey’s Black Sea coast and are an extension of the Caucasus mountains which are considered by the World Wild Fund for Nature and by Conservation International as a biodiversity hotspot. The Çoruh valley lies at the very  heart of the Kaçkar.  Steep-sided valleys, alpine meadows, river-side vegetation, Mediterranean habitats, all contribute to a diversity of habitats that account for the formidable list of more than 140 butterflies that reside in the area.

During our nine day long holiday we will sample all the different habitats of the  Çoruh valley to look for the areas butterflies. A wealth of Lycaenids, from Little Tiger blue Tarucus balkanicus, Grass Jewel, Brown Argus, Lesser Fiery Copper to Turkish Fiery Copper, Ilex Hairstreak, White-Letter Hairstreak, Odd-spot Blue,  Sliver-studded blue, Large Anatolian Blue, Gerhard’s Blue Polyommatus carmon, False Chalk-hill Blue, Hopffer’s Blue, Checkered Blue,  Orange Hermit, Syrian Grayling, White-bordered Grayling, Iranian Argus, Pearly Heath, Scotch Argus,  Krueper’s Small White, Small Bath White, Southern Swallowtail, Spotted Fritillary, Silver-Washed Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, Queen of Spain Fritillary and a wealth of exotic skippers!

Turkish flora is incredibly rich, with 11466 species, 3650 of which are endemic. This diversity stems principally from country`s geographical position, sandwiched between the steps of Central Asia, the deserts of Syria, the cold afforested mountains of Central Europe, and the Mediterranean to the west. The unspoilt area we’ll visit is very rich botanically, with many species of Campanula, Gentians, Centaurea, Dianthus, Silene, Digitalis exotic Acantholimon, beautiful Papaver and many others.

The many habitats of the Kackar support a rich diversity of birds.The lower valleys host Blue Rock Thrush, Rollers and Bee-eaters. Streams support Grey and White Wagtails, Dippers and  Common Sandpipers.Forests and Mountain hillsides are home to Tree Pipits, Rosefinches, Redstarts, Chukar, Red-Backed Shrikes, Red-Fronted Serins, Ring Ouzels, Ortolan Buntings, Rock Thrushes, Kruper’s Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper and no less than 7 species of Woodpeckers. Birds of prey such as Buzzards, Honey-Buzzards, Long-legged Buzzard,Griffon and Black Vultures, Golden Eagles and Lammergeier may be seen soaring over the valleys.

Accompanying us will be Yasemin Konuralp, who has over 20 years experience in guiding tours in Turkey. During that time she has built up considerable knowledge about the endemic wildflowers of the country, which has culminated into a Wildflowers of Turkey field guide, published in 2013.

We hope to welcome you on what promises to be a truly memorable tour!

Day 1: Arrival at Erzurum airport. If time permits we’ll do a short local excursion. Overnight in Erzurum.

Day 2: Transfer to Barhal in the Coruh valley, stopping on the way to look for butterflies. We shall pass through different habitats, initially dry and becoming greener as we move up the valley, each with its different butterfly species. We shall investigate the Bahceli valley to look for Little Tiger blue, Tarucus balkanicus, Grass Jewel, Chilades trochylus, White-bordered Grayling, Hipparchia parisatis, Nettle-Tree butterfly, Libythea celtis, Brown Argus, Aricia agestis, Scarce swallowtail, Iiphiclides podalirius and another of the specialities of the region, the Orange Hermit, Chazara bischoffii. The dry terrain at the beginning of the valley hosts plants typical of this habitat such as Dianthus orientalis,  with its characteristic propeller-shaped petals, Andrachne telephioides, the food plant of the Grass Jewel and Paliurus spina-christi, the food plant of the Little Tiger Blue. Overnight in Barhal village.

Day 3: Today we will climb higher up to an alpine meadow for alpine plants and butterflies. Target species for today, Scarce Swallowtail Iiphiclides podalirius, Mountain Green-veined White Pieris bryoniae, Caucasian Clouded Yellow Colias caucasica, Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi, Short-tailed Blue Cupido argiades, Alcon Blue Phengaris alcon, Blue Argus Aricia anteros, Cardinal Argynnis pandora, Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja, Niobe Fritillary Argynnis niobe, Leder’s Heath, Northern Wall Brown Lasiommata petropolitana and Amasian Satyr Satyrus amasinusOvernight in Barhal village.

Day 4: We spend the day following the river along its course through the valley. We hope to see Turkish Fiery Copper Lycaena ochimus, Gerard’s Black Hairstreak, Blue-Spot Hairstreak Satyrium spini, Zephyr Blue Plebejus pylaon, Loew’s Blue Plebejus loewii, Aedon Blue Phengaris alcon, Eros Blue Polyommatus eros,  Meleager’s Blue Meleageria daphnis, High Brown Fritillary Fabriciana adippe, Silver-Washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia & White-letter Hairstreak, Satyrium w-album. The Çoruh River is home to two special Campanulas, Campanula troegerae and the similar looking but very rare Campanula choruhensis.  Both are large-flowered beautiful species growing on the vertical walls of the gorge and we shall look for both. A number of Salvia species such as S. nemorosa and S. verticillata are common along the roadsides. Overnight in Barhal village.

Day 5: Transfer to Yaylalar, stopping along the way at points of interest. Possible species for today include Zephyr Blue, Aedon Blue Polyommatus aedon, Southern White Admiral Limenitis reducta, Comma, Large Tortoiseshell Nymphalis polychloros, Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell Nymphalis xanthomelas, Caucasian Spotted Fritillary Melitaea interrupta, Syrian Grayling Hipparchia Persephone, Great Banded Grayling Brintesia circe & Tufted Marbled Skipper Carcharodus flocciferus. Overnight in Yaylalar at the foot of Altiparmak mountains.

Day 6 & 7: Climb higher up to Olgunlar and to another yayla. We hope for the scarlet Papaver orientalis, the yellow P. lateritium, Gentiana septemfida, Melampyrum arvense, Campanulas and  Geraniums. Possible butterfly species for the two days include Eastern Bathe White Pontia edusa, Purple-shot Copper Lycaena alciphron, Balkan Copper Lycaena candens, Green-underside Blue Glaucopsyche alexis, Idas Blue Plebejus idas, Pontic Blue Polyommatus coelestinus, Gavarnie Blue Agriades pyrenaicus, Aedon Blue, Chelmos Blue Agrodiaetus iphigenia, Russian Heath Coenonympha leander, Hewitson’s Ringlet Erebia hewitsonii,  Twin-spot, Marbled and Weaver’s Fritillaries, Niobe Fritillary, Nettle-Tree Butterfly & Large-Grizzled Skipper. Overnight in Yaylalar at the foot of Altiparmak mountains.

Day 8: After having breakfast we’ll leave our pension. We’ll make several stops on our way to Erzurum. Overnight in Erzurum.

Day 9: Transfer to Erzurum airport and the tour ends.

New holiday for 2017 so testimonials will follow later

New holiday for 2017 so reports will follow later

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