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In Quest of the „Flying Flowers" (Hungarian butterfly trip)"
Slovenia-Croatia butterfly special with 4 Large Blues pre-extension
Butterflies of Montenegro
Butterflies of Serbia with False Comma
Sri Lanka: Butterflies, Leopards, Blue Whales
Nepal: Butterflying at the Foothills of the Himalaya
Ethiopian Butterfly & Wildlife adventure with Tribal extension
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irdwatching
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Mediterranean Odyssey (Slovenia, Croatia)
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The Butterflies of Montenegro

Summary and recommendation: This tour is focusing on photography and butterfly-twitching in Montenegro's Durmitor NP, Tara Canyon and around Lake Skhodra and Kotor Bay... being probably the most attractive and beautiful area of the entire Balkan.

Notes: We are expecting up to 115-120 species on this trip. The tour is excellent for raptile- and dragonfly-enthusiasts as well, offering breathtaking rarities, eg. Bladetails. This tour was run as a "fundraising tour" in cooperation with the European Interest Group of the Butterfly Conservation, UK. The tour resulted 104 species with 5 field days.


 

 Destination countries: Montenegro. Arrive and depart to Dubrovnik/Croatia.

Next schedule:
- 01-08 August, 2022 (2 places left)
- 10-18 August, 2022 (FULL)

Duration: 9 days

Photos:
-
For some nice 4 Large Blue pictures, please click here!
- Iolas Blue pictures, click here!
- Woodland Brown pictures, click here!
- Poplar Admiral pictures, click here!
- Some birdies here and here!

Price: 1199 GBP +110 GBP single supplement. Price includes: accommodations and meals (lunch is typically picnic!), drinking water, vehicle hire with fuel and driver guide, park entrance fees and ranger guides. The price exclude: bank transfer loss, international flight, visa, tips, drinks, personal travel insurance and any other activities of personal request e.g. laundry, toalet fees, phone calls, etc.

Accommodation: Three-star hotels with all rooms en suite.

Numbers: Minimum 3 person, max. up to 6.

Transport: 4WDs, or 9 seats minivan.

Description: "...Montenegro is a country not well known to naturalists, but has a lot going for it. In the words of the Lonely Planet guide to Eastern Europe: “Imagine a place with sapphire beaches as spectacular as Croatia’s, rugged peaks as dramatic as Switzerland’s, canyons nearly as deep as Colorado’s, palazzo as elegant as Venice’s and towns as old as Greece’s and then wrap it up in a Mediterranean climate and squish it into an area 2/3 the size of Wales and you start to get a picture of Montenegro”. The plan is to fly to Dubrovnik and spend the first day exploring the offshore island of Lokrum where there is a botanical garden. Moving on to Montenegro, we will split our time between national parks. Durmitor national park is huge covering 39,000 ha and includes Tara Canyon which is the deepest in Europe. The whole area is a world heritage site with 48 mountain peaks over 2000m and a rich flora and fauna. It boasts of one of the greatest variety of butterflies in all of Europe with over 140 species so far recorded. We shall spend several days here exploring some of the alpine meadows and limestone valleys before moving on midweek to Lake Skadar (Skhodra) in the east which is renowned for its birdlife with 264 species recorded, including concentrations of Dalmatian Pelicans. The surrounding hills and forests which abut Albania are rich in wildlife and the whole area has been a national park since 1983. Finally we will spend some days around Kotor Bay and Lovcen NP, being among the Top 10 scenery of the World, before returning to Dubrovnik for our return flight..."

Target species of the tour:

Papilionidae:
Scarce Swallowtail, European Common Swallowtail, European Southern Swallowtail, Clouded Apollo, Apollo
Pieridae:
Black-veined White, Orange Tip , Eastern Dappled White, Eastern Wood White , Real's Wood White , Wood White, Large White, Balkan Green-veined White, Green-veined White, Southern Small White, Mountain Small White , Brimstone, Cleopatra, Powdered Brimstone, Berger's Clouded Yellow, Pale Clouded Yellow, Clouded Yellow, Eastern Bath White, Balcan Clouded Yellow
Libytheidae:
Nettle-tree Butterfly
Riodinidae:
Duke of Burgundy Fritillary
Nymphalidae:
Lesser Purple Emperor, Purple Emperor, Queen of Spain Fritillary, , Two-tailed Pasha, White Admiral, Southern White Admiral, Poplar Admiral, Hungarian Gilder, , Comma Butterfly, Southern Comma, Large Tortoiseshell, Small Tortoiseshell, Cardinal, Silver-vashed Fritillary , High Brown Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Niobe Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary, Scarce Fritillary, Shepherd’s Fritillary, Spotted Fritillary, Nickler's Fritillary, Lesser Spotted Fritillary, Knapweed Fritillary, Glanville Fritillary, Heath Fritillary, Weaver's Fritillary, , False Heath Fritillary, Marbled Fritillary, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Titania’s Fritillary, Twin-spot Fritillary , Lesser Marbled Fritillary
Lycaenidae:
Little Tiger Blue, Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Long-tailed Blue, Iolas Blue, Holly Blue, Green-underside Blue, Blue Argus, Alpine Mountain Argus, Brown Argus, Mountain Argus, Chequered Blue, Idas Blue, Reverdin's Blue, Mazarine Blue, Large Blue, Balkan Alcon Blue, Damon Blue, Ripart's Anomalous Blue, Amanda's Blue, Escher’s Blue, Adonis Blue, Chapman's Blue, Eros Blue (Polyomattus eros), Short-tailed Blue, Eastern Short-tailed Blue, Osiris Blue, Little Blue, Green Hairstreak, Blue-spot Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, White-letter Hairstreak, Ilex Hairstreak, Sloe Hairstreak, Turquoise Blue, Silver-studded Blue, Balcan Copper, Sooty Copper, Grecian Copper, Small Copper, Lesser Fiery Copper, Scarce Copper, Purple-shot Copper, Meleager's Blue
Satirydae:
Wall Brown, Large Wall Brown, Northern Wall Brown, Meadow Brown, Dusky Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Woodland Brown, Grayling, Woodland Grayling, Eastern Rock Grayling, Delattin’s Grayling, Small Heath, Southern Gatekeeper, Chestnut Heath, Eastern Large Heath, Pearly Heath, Marbled White, Esper's Marbled White, Balkan Marbled White. Potential Erebias: Yellow-spotted Ringlet, Woodland Ringlet, Water Ringlet, Silky Ringlet, Scotch Argus, Ottoman Brassy Ringlet, Mountain Ringlet, Large Ringle, Dewy Ringlet, Common Brassy Ringlet, Bright-eyed Ringlet, Black Ringlet, Arran Brown, Almond-eyed Ringlet, Nicholl’s Ringlet
Hesperiidae:
Dingy Skipper, Mallow Skipper, Marbled Skipper, Tufted Marbled Skipper, Southern Marbled Skipper, Small Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Silver-spotted Skipper, Safflower Skipper, Alpine Grizzled Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Yellow-banded Skipper, Large Grizzled Skipper, Olive Skipper, Oberthür's Grizzled Skipper, Orbed Red-underwing Skipper, Persina Skipper, Large Skipper, Large Chequered Skipper, Essex Skipper, Chequered Skipper, Mediterranean Skipper, Pygmy Skipper, Sage Skipper


Itinerary

Day 1: After arrival in the late afternoon we check into our hotel, just 4 miles south of Dubrovnik. Our village is one of the loveliest place of the Dalmatian coast with a fantastic and uncrowded beach just in front of our hotel. After a welcome dinner in the hotel’s seashore restaurant we might drive for a little to see the illuminated city of Dubrovnik from a great lookout point. The location is perfect to have a late night dip in the sea for those so inclined or enjoy some coffees and drinks. Overnight near Dubrovnik/Croatia.

Day 2: This morning we walk through to the fabled city of Dubrovnik towards its old harbour. Dubrovnik’s motto is “Libertas” (liberty), because for several centuries the city-state of Dubrovnik (the so-called Ragusa) managed to preserve its independence while the coast fell under the sway of foreign powers. We take a boat to Lokrum or Lacroma, one of the islands off the city of Dubrovnik. Lokrum sits about 700 metres from the coast and stretches from the northwest to the southeast. Its highest point above sea level is just 91m. The island is covered with thick Mediterranean flora and woods: laurel, oak, pines, cypress and black pines. There are also olives, agaves, cacti, magnolia and palms. In 1959, a Botanical Garden was founded which contains native and imported, tropical and subtropical plants, and other vegetation originating from Australia to South America. We hope to bag here many species with preferences for warmer areas including Two-tailed Pasha, False Comma, Southern White Admiral, Southern Swallowtail, Mountain Small White, Cleopatra, Long-tailed Blue, Eastern Rock Grayling and Balkan Marbled White. Bird enthusiasts should look today for Mediterranean birds like Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Tawny Pipit, Eastern Orphean Warbler and Red-backed Shrike. With some luck, we might also see Rock Partridge, Mediterranean Shearwater, Eleonora's Falcon, Audouin's Gull or even Lanner Falcon. After a full afternoon journey with some stops, we arrive at the foot of the famous Durmitor NP to our next base, the mountain resort of Zabljak (1450 metres). Overnight in Zabljak/Montenegro.

Day 3-5: Montenegro, one of the hidden pearls of the Adriatic, the smallest state of former Yugoslavia which gained its independence in 2006. Montenegro is a maritime, but also an extremely mountainous, country with some of the grandest and most pristine scenery of Europe and only 600.000 inhabitants. The combination of cultural, historical and natural values makes it one of the most attractive - and still hidden – parts of the continent. The fact that Montenegro declared itself in 1991 an “ecological state” should be emphasized because it made the protection of natural resources one of the priorities of the state. First we will visit and explore Durmitor NP, incl. the area of the the so-called Black Lakes, which gets its names from the surrounding dark pine forests. The lake and the surrounding area is of glacial origin, made up of Quartenery and Jurassic formations. Typical habitats and biomes are mostly coniferous forest of boreal type, pastures, snow-patches and avalanches of Alpine and High-Nordic type. Durmitor massif is bordered by the many narrow and deep canyon valleys of the Tara, Piva, Susica and Komarnica rivers and is surrounded by many high plateaus with more than 30 peaks rising above 2000 meters, Bobotov Kuk being the highest at 2522 meters. One special feature of the national park is its 12 lakes known as “Mountain’s Eyes”. We also explore the Tara river canyon, which is 144 km long, the longest river of Montenegro, a fact reflecting the small size of the country. Its canyon is 78 km long and 1300 metres deep. The whole area was proclaimed a national park covering 32.000 hectares and is included in the Unesco World Heritage List. Butterfly-wise the area is virtually unknown, so we can have high hopes for unexpected species. We should look for Clouded Apollo, Eastern Dappled White, Poplar Admiral, Titania’s and Shepherd’s Fritillaries, Marsh Fritillary, Scarce Fritillary, Large Blue, Blue Argus, Damon Blue, Balkan Copper, Eros Blue, Alpine Heath, Eastern Large Heath and Esper’s Marbled White just to name a few. For the birders the National Park offers many coniferous-forest’ birds, including Three-toed Woodpecker, Crested Tit, Firecrest, Nutcracker and Common Crossbill. The dwarf pine area should provide Ring Ouzel and Alpine Chough, while the high alpine regions are home to Shore Lark, Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor and Snowfinch. Raptors also represented well, including Goshawk, Golden Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and Peregrine. Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrikes are common in the region, too. Overnight in Zabljak/Montenegro.

Day 6 : A full day slow driving and butterflying towards Lake Skhodra, stopping an route several places, especially so-called "polje"-s, for a variety of midd-altitude butterflies. Finally we arrive at our base in Virpazar, which is the most important port and fishing village of the lake, located at an important crossroads between the shore and inland. Overnight in Virpazar/Montenegro.

Day 7: Lake Skhodra is the biggest lake in the Balkans, divided between Albania and Montenegro. The living world here is very rich both in aquatics (22 species of fish) and birdlife (279 recorded so far). The lake sits in a so-called crypto depression, because the lake basin is 28 meters below sea level, and the surface is 6 m above. The lake is part of a national park which covers 44.000 hectares and included in the Ramsar List of important wetlands. The lake is home to thousands of birds, including many endangered Pygmy Cormorants, and is the westernmost nesting place of the also endangered Dalmatian Pelican. We also might see Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Ferruginous Duck, herons and egrets, Spoonbills, Whiskered Terns, Rock Nuthatch and Red-rumped Swallows. We stop en toute at the majestic Rijeka Cronejovica river-gorge for more breathtaking scenery, passing Cetinje, the royal town of the former Montenegrin Kingdom, before we continue our scenic drive to the high meadows of Mt. Lovcen. The steep rivershore make this landscape unforgettable, especially on rainy days, when myriads of colours reflect on the lake - the only place in Europe which uniquely resembles some of the great Chinese river gorges.Target butterflies for today are Iolas Blue, Lang’s Short-tailed Blue, Mediterranean Skipper, Pygmy Skipper, Sage Skipper, Grecian Copper, Lattice Brown, Southern Gatekeeper, Delattin’s Grayling and many more. The area offers incredible number of good dragonflies, incl. large population of Bladetails. Overnight in Kotor/Montenegro.

Day 8: Full day exploring the mountain meadows of Kotor Bay and Mt. Lovcen NP. From the high craggy pass of Mt. Lovcen we obtain an incredible view over Kotor Bay, the southernmost “fjord” in all Europe. It looks exactly like a giant fjord, however with a different origin, being an enormous flooded river estuary. This is one of the most heartstopping and magnificent landscapes in the whole world, also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are about 80 species of butterflies know from the area, which is surely a much lower number than it should be, so we might see some surprises here. There is some debate here about the occurrence of Fenton’s Wood White, which definitely could be the butterfly of the trip. Powdered Brimstone, Southern Small White, Hungarian Glider, Shepherd’s Fritillary, Twin-spot Fritillary, Escher’s Blue, Balkan Copper, Lattice Brown, Balkan Marbled White and Alpine Grizzled Skipper are all possible. Amongst the birds, the place holds some Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Thrush, Rock Nuthatch, Black-eared Wheatear, Cirl and Rock Buntings, and Golden Eagle are all possible here. To complete our tour, we enjoy a farewell dinner in the Old Town, which is probably the most beautiful coastal town of the Adriatic, tucked in the embrace of high mountains and bent over a deep bay of the Mediterranean sea, rivalling Dubrovnik in its beauty. The old city is again part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a backdrop of rocky coastal mountains. Kotor’s Old Town is a maze of white houses with red tiled roofs and beautifully-shuttered windows that glisten in the sparkling light. Overnight in Kotor/Montenegro.

Day 9: Departure day. This morning we leaving Kotor and drive around the magnificent Kotor Bayback towards Dubrovnik airport. Once we cross the border and see our progress, we still can spend some good butterfy-time closer to the airport, concentrating on some dry coastal hillsides or the machair of to the seashore.
Those returning to the UK will be dropped off at the airport in plenty of time to catch their late afternoon flight while those undertaking the Orseg NP (Hungary) "4 Large Blues"-extension will travel on to their overnight destination.



Upcoming trips & Expeditions

Bears and Butterflies o Transylvania. With Danube Clouded Yellow and High Carpathian extension; 2x July trips, 2022)

Slovenia butterflying (21 - 28 July, 2022)

Montenegro butterflying (01 -09 Aug., 2022)

Late summer birding trip (Hungary, 21-31 Aug., 2022)

Full tour calendar


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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