50 butterfly species in a single day! To see this, you don’t have to go to the tropics. Instead, visit one of the best butterfly habitats in Slovenia! 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 butterfly season, in the last days of June. This way, it is 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. There is also enough time to take photographs, and of course also to look at flowers and the beautiful landscapes 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.
2 Hours Before Flight Time
175 € per person
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.
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 database that they can be used in planning future conservation actions.
Some small moths are not possible 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.
We arrive by aeroplane either to Ljubljana or Venice, where our Dutch guide Paul Veenvliet will be waiting for the group. From here we drive to our accommodation in Southern Slovenia. Depending on our flight-schedule 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 butterflies including Silver-washed Frittilary, Woodland Brown and White Admiral. Each butterfly 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 mountaintop (1000 m asl) with an open vegetation full of flowers. Here we encounter a markedly higher diversity of butterfly species including Swallowtails, Scarce Swallowtails and many Blue-spot Hairstreaks. Today is also a test for our hiking shoes: the unpaved road to the mountaintop goes markedly upwards and has some loose stones.
On this day 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 we hope to find some rare species which are difficult to see elsewhere. We also encounter the first dragonfly species of the tour.
In the evening, we invite Slovenian 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: butterfly species which can be notoriously difficult to identify. With her help, this becomes considerably easier. The area which we visit, Nanos, is known for its high diversity of butterflies 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 caterpillars. 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 caterpillars of the Apollo butterfly. 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 mountain tops.
In Slovenia, it is possible to visit very different climate zones on a single day. On this day, 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 during 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. Around sunset we may then see large hawkmoths hovering around the flowers.
Today we welcome another Slovenian biologist: dragonfly expert Nina Erbida will join us in the field. We have a short drive to the Bloke plateau, which is situated at 750 m asl. This is one of the areas where we may find Scarce Large Blues living on extensive meadows along the small stream Bloščica. Although we certainly find time to admire and photograph these rare butterflies, our primary goal is to find dragonflies, of which more than 50 species have been observed here. With their blue-shimmering black wings, demoiselle damselflies are hard to miss. Harder to find are the true mountain stream specialists like Small Pincertail, Large Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Common Clubtail. This will certainly be another day with many species which have become rare in Western 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.
Moderately difficult and occasionally demanding. During the tour, we will walk slowly and stop many times, but terrain can be difficult, rocky and occasionally steep, without real climbing. At other places, it may be muddy and we may encounter dense and thorny vegetation as well. Please make sure that you have good hiking shoes and sturdy trousers!
We will be out all day in sunny weather with temperatures up to, and above 30 oC. Please take a sun-hat and suncream.
During the tour, we will be staying at a countryside hotel or agritourism in the middle of the region which we visit. In this way, we keep travelling time to an acceptable minimum.
We travel by airplane from Amsterdam (Schiphol) to Ljubljana (Brnik). Here we meet our Dutch guide. During the week we travel in a minibus which has 9 seats (driver/guide, local expert and up to 7 participants), which also determines the maximum number of participants during the tour. This gives us a maximum of flexibility: how long we like to stay at each place, is up to us.