Roam the Greek Rhodopes and discover a landscape rich in spring flora and wildlife!
Rising to 2231m (Falakro) and Pangeio (1965) are two isolated mountains in northern Greece, squeezed between the Bulgarian border and the Aegean. They consist mostly of marble or limestone and have a distinct and interesting flora. The mountains rise steeply from the plain and host a variety of habitats from Mediterranean to Alpine. They are forested with Pinus nigra, Juniper and extensive areas of beech. Many plants of the Bulgarian mountains reach their southern limit here. We will visit early in the season to see the early alpines but also to see the many orchids lower down.
Pangaio lies 20 km from the coastal town of Kavala and one is in sight of the Mediterranean sea and the island of Thasos. The lower slopes are therefore heavily influenced by the Mediterranean climate and we expect to see plants such as Cistus creticus, Vicia bythinica, Matthiola fruticolosa, Lathyrus venetus, Asphodeline lutea, Muscari commosum, Paeonia officinalis, Dactylorhiza sambucina, Verbascum rupestre, Cephalanthera longifolia, Orchis mascula. Higher up we can expect to find Viola perinensis, Myosotis alpestris, Globularia meridionalis, the yellow-flowered Saxifraga ferdinardi-coburgi, Saxifraga sempervivum, S. juniperinifolia, Campanula orphanidea. Snow-melt plants include Scilla bifolia, Crocus veluchensis, Crocus chrysanthus, Fritillaria drenovskyi and Corydalis solida.
Falakro lies further north, closer to the Bulgarian border. We can expect to find Viola delphinensis, Viola perinensis, Haberlea rhodopensis, Fritillaria drenovskyi, Orchis purpurea, Orchis tridentata, Globularia bisnagarica, Androsace villosa, Iris reichenbachii, Saxifraga ferdinardi-coburgi, Saxifraga stribmyi, Erythronium des-cani, Gentiana verna, Orchis palens and Pulsatilla halleri.
Resident birds include Lesser spotted eagle, Bonelli’s eagle, Ortolan buntings, Green and Syrian Woodpeckers, Black-eared Wheatear, Golden Orioles, Red-backed Shrike and Sub-alpine Warbler.
Butterflies to be seen include Southern Festoon, Powdered Brimstone, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Green-underside Blue, Eastern Baton Blue, Chequered Blue, Brown Argus, Adonis Blue, Weaver’s fritillary, Queen of Spain, Glanville and Knapweed Fritillaries.
We shall spend 3-4 nights at each of two locations, in hotels on or very near the mountains, to explore all the different habitats at a leisurely pace.