50 butterfly species in a single day! To see this, you don’t have to go to the tropics. Instead, visiting one of the best butterfly habitats in Slovenia will do! After the first day on the flower-rich Slovenian meadows, we will keep adding species by visiting different habitats, altitudes and even climate zones. We organise this tour in the best part of the season, in the last days of June. In this way, it should be possible to see over 100 species of day-butterflies in a single week! But even though we aim to see many different butterfly species, we do not try to set a record. Instead, we travel at a slow pace and take our time to enjoy seeing whichever species we encounter. In this way, there will also be a lot of time to take photographs, and of course also to look at flowers and the beautiful landscapes which we visit. One evening, we invite a specialist on nocturnal butterflies (moths) who will set up UV-lights which bring an astonishing diversity of moths close to us.
Our Butterfly Tour is planned from 26st of June until the 3rd of July 2018.
Day 1: arrival day
Day 2: Introduction to the Butterflies of the Slovenian Karst Region: Sveta Trojica mountain top and internmittent Lake Petelin
Day 3: Marshland and night-butterfly excursion (moths): Cerknica valley
Day 4: In search of Ringlets and Large Coppers: Mount Nanos and the Nanoščica valley
Day 5: In search of the Apollo butterfly, above the Vipava valley
Day 6: In search of Mediterranean Buttterflies: Dry Karst and the Dragonja Valley
Day 7: Dragonfly Day: Bloke plateau and surroundings
Day 8: departure day
We arrive by airplane either in Ljubljana or Venice, where our Dutch guide Paul Veenvliet will be waiting for us. From here we drive to our accommodation in Southern Slovenia. Depending on our flight-scedule we visit one or more nature-areas on the way, where we get a first impression of the diversity of the Slovenian flora and fauna.
We start our day in an extensive and near-natural forest where we stop at an »average« clearing along a silent, unpaved road. Immediately we see the first butteflies including Silver-washed Frittilary, Woodland Brown and White Admiral. Each buttefly species has its own habitat requirements and during this tour we will visit very different areas in order to see a high diversity of butterflies.
In the middle of the forest we reach a mountain top (1000 m asl) with an open vegetation full of flowers. Here we encounter a markedly higher diversity of buttefliy species including Swallowtails, Scarce Swallowtails and many Blue-spot Hairstreaks. Today is also a test for our hiking shoes: the unpaved road to the mountain top goes markedly upwards and has sometimes loose stones.
Today we stay close to our accommodation, in the surroundings of intermittent Lake Cerknica. The number of butterflies is not especially high in the extensive wetlands, but here we hope to find some rare speciues which are difficult to see elsewhere. We also encounter the first dragonfly species of the tour.
In the evening, we invite moth specialist Stanislav Gomboc, who will set up small tents which have a strong UV-light inside. This attracts moths, which then sit on the outside of the tents where we can see them. Besides moths we can expect to see grasshoppers, beetles and caddisflies, which are also attracted by the light. At the end of the evening the light goes off and the insects fly away.
In the morning Slovenian butterfly specialist Kaja Vukotić joins the tour, who will accompany us for the coming three days. Together we go to an open mountain slope in search of Ringlets, Frittilaries and Blues: buttefly species which can be notoriously difficult to identify. With her help, this becomes considerably easier. The area which we visit, Nanos, is known for it’s high diversity of butteflies and it is possible to find over 50 different species here.
In the afternoon we go to the direction of Postojna where we search for the rare Large Copper. Females of this species are restless and constantly fly in search of Marsh Dock, the foodplant of Large Copper catterpillars. The fiery orange coloured males are territorial and defend small parts of the wet meadows against male conspecifics.
After a somewhat longer drive (90 min) we arrive at spectacular inland cliffs. The highest peaks reach just over 1000 m asl, but because of the open, rocky landscape we find many Alpine plants here, including White Stonecrop, the food-plant for the catterpillars of the Apollo butterfly. Especially to see this species we plan this tour a week earlier than our 2017 Butterfly Tour. In 2017 the summer was exceptionally hot and dry and butterflies were active earlier in the season than normal. Will we succeed in 2018? In the same area we also have a chance to find Clouded Apollo while it is hard to miss Swallowtails and Scarce Swallowtails which gather around the peaks.
In Slovenia, it is possile to visit very different climate zones on a single day. Today we drive in the direction of the sea, to the Submediterranean Climate. The markedly drier and hotter climate is reflected in the butterfly species which we encounter: here we may find Mountain Small White, Nettle Tree Butterfly and hopefully the very last Southern Festoon of the season (this spectacular species has a main flying time in early spring). We smell and taste the rich fragrance of local herbs and have a longer break in the hot midday. Also butteflies are less active in the middle of the day here and like them, we extend our day towards the evening. By nightfall we may then see large hawkmoths hovering around the flowers.
Today we welcome another Slovenian biologist: dragonfly expert Nina Erbida will join us ion the field. We go to the Bloke plateau, which is situated at 750 m asl. This is one of the areas where we may find where we may find Scarce Large Blues, close to the small stream Bloščica. Although we certainly find time to admire and photograph these rare butterflies, our main goal is to find dragonflies, of which more than 50 species have been observed here. With their blue –shimmering black wings demoiselle damsleflies are hard to miss. Harder to find are the true mountain stream specialists like Small Pincertail, Large Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Common Clubtail. This promises to be zet another day with many species which have become rare in Wstern Europe.
Depending on our flight-scedule we still visit a butterfly-rich area on our way to the airport. Here we depart from a tour with many highlights and a country which we will not soon forget.
Please note that collecting and/or killing butterflies and dragonflies is not permitted during this tour. Our Slovenian experts may catch some of the species for identification purposes, after which they are released unharmed. The data which are collected during the tour will be included in the Slovenian databaseso that they can be used for the conservation of butterflies and dragonflies.
Some small moths (micro’s) are impossible to identify to species level in the field. For this purpose, the Slovenian moth-specialist may in exceptional cases decide to collect specimens for further research, for which he has an official permit.
Many different buttefly species (up to 100 species possible).
Moth excursion with over 100 species possible in a few hours time.
Dragonfly Day with rare dragonfly species of mountain streams.
Guided by a Dutch biologist who is living in Slovenia, in cooperation with Slovenian experts.
A chance to see rare species including Large Copper, Alcon Blue, Mountain Alcon Blue, Scarce Large Blue and Apollo.
Highly diverse nature with flower-rich meadows.
Beautiful landscapes with wide views from mountain tops.
Delicious food including local dishes.
For our Butterfly Tour, we made reservations at the Logar Tourist Farm with whom we cooperate for over 15 years. The farm is located in Žerovnica, in southern Slovenia. The accommodation consists of rooms in two authentic village houses and a third, newer building which is made in the local style. Both older buildings are fully restored to accommodate guests. Each of these has two rooms on the lower floor and two rooms on the first floor. Because these rooms are made in old farmhouses, there is a shared bathroom on each floor. The newer building has en-suite facilities. Please indicate what are your wishes so we can divide the rooms accordingly.
Besides good rooms and quality service, Logar Farm offers other advantages:
Depending on airplane scedules, you arrive in Slovenia either via the Ljubljana (Brnik) airport or the Venice (Marco Polo) airport. Here, the guide will wait for you with a van. During the whole tour, the Tour Guide will also be the driver of the van. This gives us a maximum of flexibility: how long we would like to stay at each place is up to us.
When Paul first came to Slovenia in 1998, he immediately realised how beautiful and unique this place is. Now that he is living in the Notranjska region, he got to know the countryside pretty well, but he never ceased to admire everything he sees. As a biologist and former lecturer in Wildlife Management, he is an engaged speaker, known for his enthusiasm. He started out as herpetologist but is an all-round naturalist with a broad knowledge, which includes butterflies. In Slovenia, he is working on a variety of nature conservation and education projects. He recently returned to nature guiding and nature conservation projects as part of his activities. Paul is fluent in English, Dutch, Slovenian and German.
In the evening of day 3 we invite Slovenian Moth Specialist Stanislav Gomboc who will set up his UV-lights at Lake Cerknica to attract a high diversity of moths.
On day 4-5 a Slovenian butterfly specialist Kaja Vukotić will join the tour to assist with identifyling difficult species like Blue’s, Frittilaries and Erebia’s.
Slovenian Dragonfly Specialist and chair of the Slovenian Dragofly Study Group Nina Erbida will join the tour on day 6 to give us insight in the fascinating world of Dragonflies.
This cooperation with local reserachers and specialists is unique for this tour: you will meet some of the most experienced local specialists! They will also ensure that the observations of rare species will be included in the Slovenian databases and be used in nature conservation projects.
Our Butterfly Tour is moderately difficult: In the whole day, we will walk up to 8 kilometres at an easy pace. We will follow unpaved roads and also smaller paths.
During the Butterfly Tour, we make long days: generally, we have breakfast between 7 and 9 a.m. and dinner at 18.30 h. Some days we drive back to the accommodation only after dinner. On one evening we stay up especially late as we set up UV lights to attract moths. This is expected to take until midnight!
In 2016, we organised a highly succesfull 8-day Butterfly Tour in Slovenia Tour with a similar itinerary. During this tour we observed the following species: 2017 list of observed butterflies.pdf
For price-information and booking of our Butterfly Tour, please see the website of our partner agency Inezia Tours (the Netherlands)