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

Dates & Prices

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Dates: 12 – 20 July 2019 Guaranteed departure!

Price: £1,395

Single Room Supplement: £150

Deposit: £150 per person


Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transport, services of guides, entry fees, holiday report & 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 & Yasemin Konuralp

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

Grade: The trip is in remote, rugged mountains and requires a moderate level of fitness in order to see all the amazing butterflies. Although many days are easy walking down rough tracks and roads, where butterflies are seen easily along the edges, there are some steep and rough areas in the mountains. One of the hotels is also up some steep uneven steps.

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!
  • See if we can improve on the superb total of 134 species recorded on our first tour in 2017
  • 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
  • Relaxed pace ideally suited to photography & full enjoyment of the wildlife & scenery
  • Contribute to Butterfly Conservation

After the tremendously successful tours in 2017 & 2018 we’re going back in 2019 for our two centre nine day tour exploring the Kaçkar Mountains in northeast Turkey for a wonderful array of butterflies with Dr Martin Warren!

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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.

Join butterfly expert Dr Martin Warren for an exploration of the Kaçkar Mountains! Vastly experienced and knowledgeable local guide & expert on the regions flora Yasemin Konuralp will accompany us to assist in discovering some of the areas best butterfly and wildlife 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 – we recorded 134 on our first tour in 2017 and 135 in 2018!

During our nine day long holiday we will sample all the different habitats of the Çoruh valley to look for the regions butterflies. A wealth of Lycaenids that include Little Tiger Blue, Odd-spot Blue, Bavius Blue, Bosnian Blue, Large Blue, Aedon Blue, Meleager’s Blue, Silver-studded blue, False Chalk-hill Blue, Checkered Blue as well as Lesser Fiery Copper, Turkish Fiery Copper, Balkan Copper, Ilex Hairstreak, White-Letter Hairstreak, and Gerhard’s Black Hairstreak. Other local or beautiful species include Orange Hermit, White-bordered Grayling, Geyer’s Tawny Rockbrown, Russian Heath, Lederer’s Heath, Small Bath White, Balkan Marbled White, Scarce Swallowtail, Caucasian Spotted Fritillary, Silver-Washed Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, False Heath Fritillary, Queen of Spain, Apollo, Ionian Emperor 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, CentaureaDianthusSilene, Digitalis exotic Acantholimon, beautiful Papaver and many others.

The many habitats of the Kackar support a good range of birds. The lower valleys host Blue Rock Thrush and Bee-eaters while 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, Short-toed Treecreeper and several species of Woodpecker. Birds of prey such as Buzzards, Honey-Buzzards, Long-legged Buzzard, and Golden Eagles may be seen soaring over the valleys. There are also many lovely day-flying moths such as Nine-spotted Moth as well as spectacular crickets and grasshoppers in the upper 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 will be a truly memorable tour!

Day 0, 11th July: Overnight flight to Istanbul (mainly applies to UK travellers)

Day 1, 12th July: Arrival at Erzurum airport early morning. We will take a short drive to the beautiful Gungormez valley where we hope to see a wide range of species on the grassy hillsides. Target species include:  Odd-spot Blue Turanana endymion,  Alcon Blue Phengaris alcon, Anatolian Blue Argus Plebejus crassipunctus, Loew’s Blue Plebejus loewii, Meleager’s Blue Polyommatus daphnis, Ripart’s Anomalous Blue Polyommatus ripartii, Gerhard’s Black Hairstreak Satyrium abdominalis, Lesser Fiery Copper Lycaena thersamon, Cardinal Argynnis pandora, Spotted Fritillary Melitaea didyma, Balkan Marbled White Melanargia galathea, Yellow-banded Skipper Pyrgus sidae, and Persian Skipper Spialia phlomidis. There is also a small chance of a Yellow-legged Tortoisesehell Nymphalis xanthomelas. Overnight in Erzurum.

Day 2, 13th July: 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, Turkish Fiery Copper Lycaena ochimus, White-bordered Grayling, Hipparchia parisatis, Nettle-Tree butterfly, Libythea celtis, Brown Argus, Aricia agestis, Scarce Swallowtail, Iiphiclidespodalirius 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, 14th July: Today we will climb higher up to an alpine meadow for alpine plants and butterflies. Target species for today, Ionian Emperor Thaleropis ionia, 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, Bavius Blue Pseudophilotes bavius, Anatolian Blue Argus Aricia crassipunctus, Eros Blue Polyommatus eros, Caucasian Spotted Fritillary Melitaea interrupta, Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja, Niobe Fritillary Argynnis niobe, Scotch Argus Erebia aethiops, Large Wall Brown Lasiommata maera and Eastern Rock Grayling Hipparchia syricaOvernight in Barhal village.

Day 4, 15th July: We spend the day following the river along its course through the valley. We hope to see Blue-Spot Hairstreak Satyrium spini, Zephyr Blue Plebejus pylaon, Aedon Blue Phengaris alcon, Eros Blue Polyommatuseros,  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, 16th July: Transfer to Yaylalar, stopping along the way at points of interest. Possible species for today include Apollo Parnassius apollo, Zephyr Blue Plebejus pylaon, Aedon Blue Polyommatus aedon, Eastern Baton Blue Pseudophilotes vicrama, False Chalk-hill Blue Polyommatus corydonius, Mountain argus Plebejus artaxerces, Southern White Admiral Limenitis reducta, Caucasian Spotted Fritillary Melitaea interrupta, Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia, False Grayling Hipparchia arethusa, Great Banded Grayling Brintesia circe & Tufted Marbled Skipper Carcharodus flocciferus.Overnight in Yaylalar at the foot of Altiparmak mountains.

Day 6 & 7, 17th & 18th July: Climb higher up to Olgunlar and to another yayla. We hope for the scarlet Papaver orientalis, the yellow P. lateritium, Gentianaseptemfida, Melampyrum arvense, Campanulas and  Geraniums. Possible butterfly species for the two days include Eastern Bath White Pontia edusa, Purple-shot Copper Lycaena alciphron, Balkan Copper Lycaena candens, Idas Blue Plebejus idas, Pontic Blue Polyommatus coelestinus, Gavarnie Blue Plebejus pyrenaicus, Aedon Blue Polyommatus aedon, Chelmos (Iphigenea) Blue Agrodiaetus iphigenia, Russian Heath Coenonympha leander, Lederer’s Heath Coenonympha symphita, Alpine Ringlet Erebia melancholica,  Apollo Parnassius apollo, Twin-spot, Marbled and Weaver’s Fritillaries, Niobe Fritillary & Large-Grizzled Skipper. Overnight in Yaylalar at the foot of Altiparmak mountains.

Day 8, 19th July: After having breakfast we’ll leave our pension. We’ll make several stops on our way to Erzurum trying to spot any species we missed on the way up. Overnight in Erzurum.

Day 9, 20th July: Transfer to Erzurum airport and the tour ends.

New holiday for 2017 so testimonials will follow later

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