06 June 2020 -
14 June 2020
The tour starts at Bulgarian capital city of Sofia with a transfer to the little old-time town of Melnik . Accommodation at a small local hotel for 3 nights. While travelling to Melnik there will be a short stop in Kresna Gorge. Likely species to be seen are Krueper's Small White (Pieris krueperi) , Iolas Blue (Iolana iolas), Eastern Baton Blue (Pseudophilotes vicrama schiffermuelleri) , Southern White Admiral (Limenitis reducta schiffermulleri), Jerusalem fritillary ( Melitaea ornate ) , Nettle Tree Butterfly (Libythea celtis), Frivaldsky’s White-banded Grayling (Pseudochazara anthelea amalthea), Balkan Marbled White ( Melanargia larissa ) , Sandy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus cinarae), Little Tiger Blue (Tarucus balkanicus), Hemaris croatica.
Walk and observations in the area of the town of Melnik and Rozhen Monastery. We'll look for the following species: Plebeius sephirus, Hungarian Glider (Neptis rivularis), Cardinal (Argynnis pandora), Nettle Tree Butterfly (Libythea celtis), Lattice Brown (Pararge roxelana), Eastern Rock Grayling (Hipparchia syriaca), Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus). Night at the Melnik hotel.
Observations in the area of an extinct volcano known as Kozhuh Hill - a rocky and very dry place. The local flora and fauna are classified as xerophilous. The area abounds in hot mineral springs. More interesting species likely to be seen are: Powdered Brimstone (Gonepteryx farinosa), Freyer’s Purple Emperor (Apatura metis), Scarce Tortoiseshell ( Nymphalis xanthomelas ), Tree Grayling (Hipparchia statilinus), Freyer's Grayling (Hipparchia fatua), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupina), Russian Heath (Coenonympha leander), Oriental Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus orientalis), Inky Skipper (Erynnis marloyi), Mediterranean Skipper (Gegenes nostrodamus), Little Tiger Blue (Tarucus balcanicus), Large Copper( Lycaena dispar).
Driving to Trigrad village for observations. On the road first stop is in Popovi Livadi–meadows with many of flowering orchids. Species to observe are Mountain Apollo (Parnassius Apollo), Clouded Apollo (Parnassius Mnemosyne), Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Common Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), Lycaena candens, Alcon Large Blue ( Maculinea alcon) , Turquoise Blue (Polyommatus dorylas), Polyommatus nephohiptamenos, Heath Fritillary ( Melitaea athalia ), Balkan Fritillary (Boloria graeca), Ottoman Brassy Ringlet (Erebia ottomana), Eastern Large Heath (Coenonympha rhodopensis). One more stop for observation will be near the Roman Bridge– in meadows near a stream and a pine forest. There, the interesting species are Balkan Copper ( Lycaena candens) , Scarce copper (Lycaena virgaureae), Mazarine Blue ( Polyommatus semiargus), Large Blue (Maculinea arion) , Idas Blue ( Plebeius idas ), Northern Brown Argus ( Aricia artaxerxis) , Knapweed Fritillary ( Melitaea ploebe) , Glanville Fritillary ( Melitaea cinxia), Heath Fritillary ( Melitea athalia) , Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria silene), etc. Accommodation at local hotel for 2 nights.
Observations near Trigrad village. The Trigrad Gorge is part of Rodopi Mountains. The first thing that hits you when you climb down from the couch are the huge cliffs towering above, and the deep rocky valley, where the meandering Trigrad river can hardly be seen. Strange trees of a local subspecies of Black Pine (Pinus nigra) grow right out of the rocks without any soil for their roots. All the time while we are there we cannot help but stand in awe before the nature’s grandeur. Unfortunately, this is only a poor and sketchy description of this extraordinary place with its caverns and the rumble of its waterfalls. One can hardly imagine the gorge beauty if one does not see it with one's own eyes. The place is at an altitude of 1200 m asl. More interesting species likely to be seen in the area: Apollo (Parnassius apollo), Mountain Small White (Pieris ergane) , Balkan Copper (Lycaena candens), Large Blue (Maculinea arion) , Alcon large blue ( Maculinea alcon) , Blue Argus (Aricia anteros), Zephyr Blue ( Plebeius sephirus) , Higgins’s Anomalous Blue (Polyommatus nephohiptamenos), Esher’s Blue ( Polyommatus esheri) , Poplar Admiral ( Limenitis populi), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia), Balkan Heath (Coenonympha rhodopensis), Woodland Ringlet (Erebia medusa), Bright Eyed Ringlet (Erebia oeme), Chequered Skipper ( Carterocephalus palaemon) . If lucky, we can see an endemic species for Rhodopi Mountains: Polyommatus orphicus. Night at the Trigrad hotel.
Today, after breakfast, we leave the Trigrad Gorge and head east. We will make some observations in the surroundings of ‘Smoljanski ezera’ lakes, located at an altitude of 1500m asl. Species likely to be observed there are Scarce copper ( Lycaena virgaureae) , Holly Blue ( Celastrina argiolus) , Large Ringlet ( Erebia Euryale) , Arran Brown (Erebia ligea), Eastern Large Heath ( Coenonympha rhodopensis) , Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne) , Weaver's Fritillary ( Boloria dia) , Marbled Fritillary ( Brenthis daphne), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrias aurinia) , Amanda's Blue ( Polyommatus amandus), etc. After lunch follows transfer to Krumovgrad town. This town is located in Eastern Rodopi Mountains. This part of the mountains differs radically from their central part. It is of volcanic origin, with huge crags and rocks all over the area as far as the eye can see. There are not big forests here, stubby and sparse broad-leaf groves, shrubs and grassy vegetation prevail. Accommodation at a local hotel for 3 nights.
Observations in the area of the village Studen Kladenets. The landscape is very unusual and at places resembles the moon surface. The high-water river Arda cuts across the area. We are in the real crater of an extinct volcano - everything around is covered with basalt. Thickets of shrubs grow here and there with sparse grass vegetation covering the ground. Vultures and Black Storks soar high above our heads. The view is so gorgeous that you will remember it for life. More interesting species likely to be seen there: Eastern Wood White (Leptidea duponcheli), Southern Small White (Pieris mannii), Kreuper’s Small White (Pieris kreuperi), Small Bath White (Pontia chloridice), Lesser Fiery Copper (Lycaena thersamon), Little Tiger Blue (Tarucus balkanicus), Freyer’s Grayling (Hipparchia fatua).
Today we’ll visit the town of Madzharovo and its surroundings and the area along Arda River valley. This place differs somewhat from the one we visited the previous day-there is more greenery and small deciduous woods where the oak trees dominate. And yet the huge basalt cliffs are still around us. More interesting species likely to be seen: Eastern Pale Clouded Yellow (Colias eratе), Blue Argus (Aricia anteros), Southern White Admiral (Limenitis reducta schiffermulleri), Cardinal (Argynnis pandora), Twin-spot Fritillary (Brenthis hecate), Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma), Melitaea punica, Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Glanville Fritillary (Melitaea cinxia), Lattice Brown (Pararge roxelana), Eastern Rock Grayling (Hipparchia syriaca), Tree Grayling (Hipparchia statilinus), Freyer’s Grayling (Hipparchia fatua), Balkan Marbled White (Melanargia larissa). Birds: Egyptian, Griffon, and Black vultures, Long-legged buzzard.
After an early breakfast follows transfer to Sofia. And here our tour ends.
06 June 2020 -
14 June 2020
Bulgaria is located in the central and eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula and covers a surface area of about 111000 sq. km. On this relatively small area is the greatest displacement of the peninsula-0 to 2925 m a.s.l. which, along with the two clearly manifested climatic zones (continental and transitional-Mediterranean) determine the great diversity of habitats: from transitional-Mediterranean to high-mountain (alpine) ones. The present butterfly fauna has formed itself as a consequence of diverse climatic conditions, relief, texture and vegetation as well as the presence of refuges where, during the ice age, relic species have been preserved or endemic species have formed. This fauna of Bulgaria is the richest one among all European countries outside the Mediterranean zone-currently 215 species have been reliably registered for our country.
5 - 15
2 - 4
During the period of the tour the weather is warm and steady, days are still quite long and rainfalls are far from being as frequent as in the spring. Temperatures often reach 30C .
It's summer. Wear light clothes - T-shirts and shorts rather than long trousers, sandals, sunglasses, and those who wish bathing suits too. Hats to protect against the sun and face cream in case of burns. It is advisable to have a pair of comfortable walking shoes (for the mountainous areas) and raincoats or jackets in case of summer showers.
3-4 km per dayavailable