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This unique butterfly tour, to thebeautiful mountains and forests ofCroatia, has been introduced tocomplement our popular spring bird andbotany holiday to the region. An impressivetotal of 190 species of butterfly has beenrecorded in Croatia. Species familiar tothose who have explored southern Europe,including Cleopatra, Camberwell Beauty,Large Tortoiseshell and Southern Festoon,flutter alongside butterflies with a distinctlyeastern flavour such as Little Tiger Blue,Southern Comma, Hungarian Skipper,Balkan Marbled White and Great SootySatyr. A few surprises are also assured, forthis is a region rarely visited by butterflyenthusiasts and we will be exploring areaswhere, even today, few lepidopterists havetrodden! With a leisurely pace, warmAdriatic sunshine, beautiful upland sceneryand mountain panoramas at every turn,this exciting tour has become a popularaddition to our programme of butterflytours. Our holiday begins with a flight toZagreb, the capital of Croatia, fromwhere we drive to our first base in theenchanting Plitvice Lakes NationalPark. Founded in 1949, Plitvice is aUNESCO World Heritage Site, apicturesque forested karstlandscape, fed by the clear waters ofthe River Korana and dotted with lushmeadows and lakes. The centre-piece ofthe park is a series of stunning turquoise-coloured lakes which are set amidstwoodland and stepped one above theother, over which roaring waterfalls tumble.We will explore the park via its network ofmarked trails from which we can expect tosee a range of exciting butterflies,amongst them Southern Festoon, Scarceand Common Swallowtail, EasternDappled White, Ilex Hairstreak, LargeCopper, Osiris, Short-tailed andChapman's Blue, Nettle-tree Butterfly,Purple Emperor, Camberwell Beauty,Cardinal and Great Banded Grayling.Next we will explore the limestone gorgesof the Paklenica National Park, just astone's throw from the blue waters of theAdriatic Sea. Paklenica is drier and morerugged than Plitvice, less wooded, but withsome fine karst scenery. We will spend ourtime here enjoying leisurely walks throughlimestone habitats that often teem withbutterflies. Paklenica is blessed with aselection of typical 'Mediterranean'species, such as Southern Swallowtail,Balkan Green-veined White, Cleopatra,Duke of Burgundy, Eastern Baton Blue,Silver-washed and Dark Green Fritillaryand Eastern Rock Grayling. With a littleluck we may also find a few rarities,perhaps Bright-eyed Ringlet or theendemic Dalmatian Ringlet. As we havelearned from our spring visits, Paklenica isalso superb for birds and we will keep an eye open for Rock Partridge, RockNuthatch and Subalpine Warbler. Reptilessuch as Dalmatian Algyroides, EuropeanGlass Lizard and Dalmatian Wall Lizardalso occur. For our final two nights we will move fromthe Dalmatian coast into the VelebitMountains, in particular into the VelebitNature Park, a UNESCO biospherereserve. The Velebits will provide yetanother contrast to the areas alreadyexplored, being more montane in naturethan both Plitvice and Paklenica. En routewe can also enjoy the impressive viewsover the many islands, of every shape andsize, that dot the waters of the turquoiseAdriatic Sea. The Velebit Mountains arepart of the Dinaric Alps, a mountain chainthat forms the rugged backbone of Croatiafrom the north-west to the south-east. The highest areas(Vaganski Vrh at1,757 metres beingthe highest peak) arealpine in nature with barelimestone and dolomitepeaks, rocky screes and forestedbasins. The fauna and flora here areinfluenced by both Mediterranean andAlpine forces along with the 'Bura', a chillywind that occasionally blows in from thenorthern Adriatic. Over 130 species ofbutterfly have been recorded here,amongst them Silver-spotted Skipper,Clouded Apollo, Mountain Small White, arange of blues (including Large, MountainAlcon, Amanda's and Meleager's), bothTwin-spot and Nickerl's Fritillary and,possibly, the rare Balkan Copper. Herds of Chamois balance on precipitous slopes and even Wolf still live here, though the latter are shy and rarely seen.The herpetologists among us will alsohope to see the attractively markedLeopard Snake or perhaps the endemicHorvath's Rock Lizard.Finally, we must leave the mountains andhead for Zagreb and our flight home,having been spoiled by the impressivemontane and coastal scenery, stunninglandscapes, curious folklore, warmhospitality and diverse habitats that allcombine to make Croatia such a specialbutterfly and wildlife destination. 10% DONATIONTOAdriatic coastlineTwin-spot FritillaryOsiris Blue45Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Zagreb; transferPlitvice National Park.Day 2Plitvice National Park.Day 3/5Paklenica National Park.Day 6/7Velebit Mountains.Day 8Fly London.Accommodation Comfortable hotels, all with privatefacilities.FoodAll included in the price. GradingGrade A/B. Gentle-paced walks ofbetween 5 and 10 kilometres eachday. FocusButterflies and general naturalhistory. LeadersGerard Gorman and Terry Goble.Single room supplement£140.Web quick search: HRV01SPLITZAGREBPAKLENICANATIONAL PARKVELEBITNATURE PARKPLITVICE LAKESNATIONAL PARKBOSNIASLOVENIAHUNGARYCROATIAADRIATIC SEABook direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationButterflies of CroatiaA unique 8-day butterfly holiday, run in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation, to Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park, Paklenica National Park and the seldom-visited Velebit Mountains.Monday 10th June - Monday 17th June Cost: £1,495

Separated by both politics and religionfrom the south of 'Aphrodite's island',North Cyprus has always retained adistinctive identity, its economy supportedby the production of cereals, grapes, citrusfruits and potatoes on the fertile MesaoriaPlain. The Mediterranean charm of theregion is epitomised by a sprinkling of littlevillages which seem barely to have beenchanged by the passage of time. However,inevitably, as in so many other parts of theMediterranean, the last few years have seenan increase in tourism to the island andplenty of development, although there arestill many areas of outstanding naturalbeauty to be found here, such as thedramatic scenery and forests surroundingthe Crusader castles and the stretches ofpristine coastline at Silver Beach. Inaddition, this is an island that has witnessedover 8,000 years of civilisation and itshistory can be traced through the manyRoman and other monuments and ruins stillevident in the countryside. North Cyprus is renowned in the botanicalworld for the astonishing diversity of itsflora. Over 1,250 plant species have beenidentified, a number of which are endemicto the country. From February to May theland is ablaze with colour, the componentsof this floral mosaic changing in tone andform as the season advances. The 30 or sospecies of wild orchid are particularlycoveted by botanists and representatives ofthis exotic family include the stunningendemic Cyprus Bee Orchid (Ophryskotschyi). The avifauna is also of greatinterest, the north of the island sharing withthe south the presence of two endemicbirds, the Cyprus Warbler and the CyprusPied Wheatear. During the extended periodof spring migration huge numbers of birdspass through Cyprus heading to northernbreeding areas. At such times theinteresting selection of resident species isaugmented by an ever-changing variety ofmigrants, adding an exciting unpredictabilityto every excursion.This is a 2-centre holiday and our first basefor this exploration of North Cyprus is nearthe delightful seaside town of Girne,formerly known as Kyrenia. A lively fishingharbour, around which are scatterednumerous inviting tavernas, and a networkof cobbled medieval streets, lend a timelessattraction to Girne, and these picturesquequalities are enhanced by the peaks of theBesparmak Mountains which rise inlandfrom the town. Our field activities will focusinitially on the abundant flora of the foothillsand wooded slopes of these mountains, butduring our stay we will also be looking formigrant birds at various coastal locationsand wetlands. A wealth of historical sites providesdiversions from the natural history and ourprogramme will be flexible in order toaccommodate a little of the history of theregion alongside our botanical andornithological activities. Towering Crusaderforts and ancient monasteries compete forour attention with reminders of the Romanera, such as the ruins of Salamis city nearFamagusta, which many historians regardas the best preserved examples of Romanarchitecture in the eastern Mediterranean.Flowers thrive here amid the ruins and weshould find such orchids as Serapiasparviflora, S. orientalis, S. vomeracae, Orchissimiaand many Ophrysspecies amongstthe colourful profusion of poppies, CrownDaisies (Chrysanthemum coronarium),endemic Gladiolus triphyllosand handsomespikes of Giant Fennel (Ferula communis).During the second part of the tour we willsearch for migrants on the easternpeninsula, near Cape Andreas. Falls canbe spectacular and we will watch out forpossible Pallid and Montagu's Harriers,Short-toed Larks, Tawny Pipits, warblers, chats, wagtails and perhaps Wrynecks andflycatchers too. On other days we willwander in the Kyrenia Mountains, a stretchof cliffs and pinnacles of hard limestone,dolomite and marble which forms adramatic spine-like formation. On thepeaks Calabrian Pine and Italian Cypressforests are interspersed with valleys oftypical maquis scrub consisting of Arbutus,Myrtus, Laurusand Quercus coccifera.Between the mountains and the richalluvial central plain lies a hilly areacontaining reservoirs which are often veryproductive for birdwatching and aquaticplants. Here we should find Little Crake,Water Rail, Little Bittern, Purple andSquacco Heron, Pied Kingfisher andpossible migrants among the reeds.Late March is one of the best months tobotanise in North Cyprus and among thespecies we will be expecting to find will becarpets of Anemone coronaria, Cyclamenpersicum, Crown Daisy, and many orchidsthat are typical of the easternMediterranean, such as the yellow Orchismorio ssp. syriaca, Ophrys scolopax ssp.lapethica, O. bornmulleri, O. levantinaandof course the endemic Ophrys kotschyi. Atthis season it seems as if every availablespace is occupied by a profusion of wildflowers providing both a wonderfulspectacle and a delight for botanists.Whilst the myriad of blooms are unfurlingto welcome a new spring, it is also aperiod of transition for birds as winteringspecies are replaced by the newly arrivedmigrants from Africa. Spring in North CyprusAn 8-day natural history holiday to the fascinating Turkish part of the island of Cyprus, to enjoy its spring flowers and bird migration. Saturday 23rd March - Saturday 30th March Cost: £1,295(This tour can be combined with our 'The Island of Cyprus' holiday outlined on Page 47)Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Larnaca and transferto Girne.Day 2/4A daily programme ofnatural history walksfrom our base nearGirne.Day 5/7A daily programme ofnatural history walksfrom our base near YeniErenkoy.Day 8Fly London.AccommodationComfortable hotels, all rooms withprivate facilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingDay walks only. Grade A/B.FocusPlants and birds.LeadersAlan Outen (botanist) and AndyHarding (ornithologist).Single room supplement£140.Web quick search: CYP0146Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryNORTHCYPRUSMEDITERRANEAN SEA FAMAGUSTA LARNACABOGAZYENI ERENKOYNICOSIA GIRNE CAPE ANDREAS Cyprus WarblerCyprus Bee OrchidSalamis