Guided butterfly, botanical & birdwatching holidays
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Butterflies of Montes Universales

Dates & Prices

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Dates: 28 July – 4 August 2018

Price: £1,295

Single Room Supplement: £100

Deposit: £150 per person


Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transport, services of guides, holiday report

Not Included: Flights, travel insurance, drinks & other personal items

Conservation Donation: 10% of profits donated to Butterfly Conservation

Leader(s): Simon Spencer & David Moore

Group Size: Minimum 4 & maximum 12 guests + 2 leaders.

Grade: Generally easy walking at a gentle pace

Holiday Highlights


  • Explore a lesser trodden path in central Spain for a rich palette of summer butterflies, including some rarities and endemics!
  • Led by European butterfly experts Simon Spencer (Chair of BC EIG) and David Moore
  • Look for special butterflies such as the Zapater’s Ringlet, Mother of Pearl Blue, Spanish & Azure Chalkhill Blues, Hermit, Southern Hermit, Striped Grayling & lots more!
  • Around 140 species have been recorded in the area & it is a great place to see several different Blues
  • Stay in the beautiful medieval walled town of Albarracín – considered to be one of the most beautiful and charming places in the whole of Spain!
  • Contribute to Butterfly Conservation

A special summer tour in central Spain led by BC EIG’s Simon Spencer, looking for a host of special butterflies!

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Holiday Guides

Dr Simon Spencer was trained as an entomologist and has worked on the conservation of butterflies in Wales and Shropshire for 25 years having been interested in butterflies all his life.  He has led many informal trips to Europe to see butterflies and is chairman of Butterfly Conservation’s European Interests Group (EIG). He is a part time farmer and is particularly interested in the effect of changes in grazing on butterflies.

He and his wife have travelled extensively in Europe in a camper van looking for butterflies and occasionally filming them. He has been part of several collaborative projects in Europe where UK butterfly people work with local butterfly enthusiasts to survey and monitor butterflies.

David Moore has been visiting and studying the Alps for several years and as such his knowledge of the area and its butterflies is superb. David knows France very well and is an integral member of our French Alps and French Pyrenees guiding team. He is now looking forward to crossing the border into Spain too!

David is very active on the butterfly scene in general and is on the team of the popular UK Butterflies online community, where he coordinates the identification service element of the site.

A special summer tour in central Spain led by BC EIG’s Simon Spencer, for a host of special butterflies!

We’re delighted to announce a new butterfly holiday in Spain for the summer of 2018! And we’re just as delighted to welcome Simon Spencer into our team of leaders. His knowledge and experience of the area and European butterflies will be invaluable. We hope you can join us for what promises to be a wonderful week!

The Montes Universales are a forgotten corner of central spain and though by Alpine standards they are hardly mountains only rising to 1900 metres from a base of a 1000 metres they are a unique hotspot of butterfly biodiversity.  The area is mainly wooded with fertile low lying areas sown for wheat together with grass and scrub areas with low intensity grazing.  Many former grazing areas are now abandoned.

We will stay in the delightful old walled Moorish town of Albarracín and many of the locations are only a few miles away though some are more distant. An early start is required to get out before the heat gets extreme and often going higher for the afternoons where it is cooler. There are good roads and access is not a problem.

The area boasts its own set of butterflies whose distributions overlap here as well as its own endemic Erebia zapateri Zapater’s Ringlet. We hope to find this rare butterfly but please be aware that there is a chance we will be early for it, depending on the season.

In all there are 140 species within the reserve and it is the best place to see several Blues including Spanish and Azure Chalkhill Blues Lysandra albicans and L. caelestissima as well as Polyommatus nivescens the Mother of Pearl Blue. Earlier in the year Kretania hesperica the Spanish Zephir Blue is widespread but not common. There are many other more common blues for us to find to keep you guessing and practicing identification skills on!

Late summer in the baking dry heat means that several Satyrids are found, including 3 gatekeepers (Pyronia tithonus, Pyronia bathseba and Pyronia cecilia), Hermit Chazara briseis, Grayling Hipparchia semele, striped grayling Hipparchia fidia, Tree Grayling Hipparchia statilinus, Great Banded Grayling Brintesia circe and False Grayling Arethusana arethusa. Very scarce but previously recorded in the area is the Southern Hermit Chazara prieuri. Esper’s Marbled White Melanargia russiae can be found in the region too and Apollo Parnassius apollo can also be found at higher altitudes.

Sage Skipper Muschampia proto is found and Sandy Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus cinarae has been recorded. Cinquefoil skipper Pyrgus cirsii is also present.

Butterfly nets require a regional permit in Spain and Dr Spencer has been granted these in the past.

          

Day 1: Arrival in Madrid and transfer to hotel in Albarracín. If time allows we shall make excursions en route or once we’ve arrived.

Day 2 – 7: Explore area

Days 8: Depart Albarracín and transfer to Madrid Airport. If time permits we’ll fit in excursions locally or en route to the airport.

New holiday for 2018 so testimonials will follow later

New for 2018 so reports will follow

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Contact Us

Telephone: 01473 254658 (Mon - Sat 9am - 6pm)

Email: enquiries@greenwings.co.uk

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