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Butterflies of Bulgaria

Butterflies of Bulgaria

£1,245.00

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Description

The southwestern region of Bulgaria is one of the most diverse and rich in flora and fauna on the Balkan Peninsula. Here are located its first and third highest mountains, respectively Rila with Mount Moussala towering to 2,925m and Pirin with Mount Vihren – 2,916m. The rich biological diversity of these two mountains are protected with the designation of Rila National Park and Pirin National Park, Pirin is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The third mountain that we will visit during our trip is Slavyanka, which is a Nature Reserve extremely rich in butterfly species. The area also features three of the biggest rivers in Bulgaria – Struma, Mesta and Iskar, whose valleys we will also explore during this trip.

We will use three different hotels to enable us to cover the maximum amount of different habitats and sites with the minimum amount of driving. The first base will be in Predela area, in the foothills between both Rila and Pirin mountains. The second base is in the foothills of Slavyanka mountain and the third is in the northern foothills of Rila mountain and not far from Sofia airport.

With more than 180 species of butterflies recorded, the area is one of the richest in Europe. The highlights amongst those on the wing at this time of the year includes Apollo, Mountain Small White, Krueper’s Small White, Eastern Greenish Black-tip, Eastern Wood White, Blue-spot Hairstreak, Balkan Copper, Little Tiger Blue, Eastern Short-tailed Blue, Eastern Baton Blue, Mountain Argus, Higgin’s Anomalous Blue, False Eros Blue, Nettle-tree Butterfly, Freyer’s Purple Emperor, Poplar Admiral, Southern White Admiral, Common Glider, Hungarian Glider, Shepherd’s Fritillary, Balkan Fritillary, Lesser Spotted Fritillary, Cynthia’s Fritillary, Eastern Rock Grayling, Balkan Grayling, Freyer’s Grayling, Dils’ Grayling, Great Sooty Satyr, Bulgarian Ringlet, Almond-eyed  Ringlet, Nicholl’s Ringlet, Ottoman Brassy Ringlet, Water Ringlet, Black Ringlet, Dewy Ringlet, Eastern Large Heath, Lattice Brown, Dusky Grizzled Skipper, etc.

The birdlife in the area is also rich with more than 200 species recorded so far. In the mountains we will look out for Hazel Grouse, Golden Eagle, Pygmy Owl, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Horned Lark, Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor, Ring Ouzel, Crested Tit, Wallcreeper, Spotted Nutcracker, Alpine Chough and Serin. In the lowlands we may encounter Little Bittern, Black Stork, Griffon Vulture, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Black Kite, Long-legged Buzzard, Levant Sparrowhawk, Turtle Dove, Hoopoe, Bee-eater, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Great Reed Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Sombre Tit, Rock Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Lesser Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Golden Oriole, Hawfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Cirl Bunting and Rock Bunting.

Our local guide will be Simeon Gigov, who has more than ten years’ experience in guiding natural history trips in Bulgaria. He is also a dedicated conservationist and has participated in numerous ornithological studies and conservation projects, such as the establishment of the ecological network Natura 2000 in northwestern Bulgaria. With his experience and expertise Simeon has also contributed to numerous scientific publications with a practical conservation focus.

Despite the large number of butterfly species to see we will not be rushing from place to place to build as large a list as possible. Our emphasis, as with all our holidays, is to take things leisurely and spend a reasonable amount at time at locations. We believe this is the best way of enjoying the wildlife and just soaking up the atmosphere and culture of the Country. So we will keep driving to a minimum and spend as much time as possible outside, on easy paced walks and relaxing, sociable picnics. For those that wish to bring cameras, there will be ample time and opportunity for photography and to capture those special moments – of which we are sure there will be many!

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