Jun 102012

I travelled to Bulgaria with my good friends Anita, Barrie & Elliott Staley.

Our Butterfly holiday was centred in the East & West Rhodope Mountain range located in the south east part of Bulgaria. An area of outstanding natural beauty, unspoilt and very rich in wildlife. The varied habitats that we visited were full of butterflies, crickets, grasshoppers and spiders. Many birds were also seen during the week but the main emphasis of the trip was focused on the varied selection of Butterflies that Bulgaria has to offer. During the week we managed to find nearly 90 species of Butterfly (we are still working on the final tally) and some 130 species of bird, without really trying. The average temperature throughout the week was a stifling 29 degrees, with several days hitting the 35 degree mark. Exhausting carrying cameras and chasing after “blues” & “fritts” flying about all over the place!!  Still a few bottles of “Studena” Zagorka Beer at lunch-time & evening soon replaced the lost fluid!.

The food was superb and we soon got tucked in to Banitsa, Kavarma, Sirenka, Shishcheta and Soup Topcheta. Wonderful stuff…

Most of the target butterflies were seen although some severe weather conditions during the spring and heavy rain for a few weeks prior to our arrival, seemed to have had some adverse effect on the butterfly species and numbers. It seemed that we were about a couple of weeks too early. However we did see Apollo / Freyer’s Purple Emperor / Southern White Admiral / Eastern Festoon / Yellow Banded Skipper / Kruper’s Small White / Mountain Small White / Eastern Wood White / Little Tiger Blue / Cardinal / Nettle-tree Butterfly / Pearly Heath and many more including 15 species of Fritillary.

Best birds of the trip were – Levant Sparrowhawk / White-backed Woodpecker / Middle-spotted Woodpecker / Grey-headed Woodpecker / Chukar / Sombre Tit / Saker Falcon / Long-legged Buzzard / Olive-tree Warbler / Ortolan Bunting / Black Stork / Griffon Vulture / Egyptian Vulture / Crag Martin / Pallid Swift / Short-toed Eagle / Rock Thrush / Isabelline Wheatear / Black-eared Wheatear / Olivaceous Warbler / Subalpine Warbler as well as many Nightingales / Red-backed Shrike / Bee-eater / Golden Oriole / Red-rumped Swallow and Hoopoe.

Our total mileage for the trip from Sofia back to Sofia was  some 1200 kilometres.

The following are a few images of the trip and a Butterfly Album will follow in due course

Rhodope Mountains – Arda Valley

Eastern Rhodope Mountains

Rhodope Mountains – Dobrostan

Rhodope Mountains

Rhodope Mountains

Rhodope Mountains – Apollo Valley, Dobrostan

Western Rhodope Mountains

Eastern Rhodope Mountains – Arda Valley

Black-headed Bunting, male – Arda Valley

Black-headed Bunting, male – Arda Valley

Black Redstart, male – Chudnite Mostove

Black Stork – Arda Valley

Crag Martin – Madzharovo

Crested Lark – Arda Valley

Crested Lark – Arda Valley

Egyptian Vulture – Madzharovo

Griffon Vulture – Madzharovo

Griffon Vulture – Madzharovo

Griffon Vulture – Madzharovo

Long-legged Buzzard – Arda Valley

Red-backed Shrike, male – Arda Valley

Tawny Pipit – Yerusalimovo

White Stork – Arda Valley

White Stork – Arda Valley

Spanish Sparrow, male – Arda Valley

Spanish Sparrow – Cherven

Spanish Sparrow, male – Cherven

Red-rumped Swallow – Madzharovo

Rock Thrush – Dobrostan Plateau

Apollo – Dobrostan

Freyer's Purple Emperor – Arda Valley

Twin-spot Fritillary – Arda Valley

Queen of Spain – Arda Valley

Orbed Red-underwing Skipper – Arda Valley

Yellow-banded Skipper – Arda Valley, Lyaskovo

Eastern Festoon – Arda Valley

Nettle Tree Butterfly – Madzharovo


 Posted by at 8:59 pm

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