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Sardinia's Dragonflies

Tour Code: ITA11

An 8-day holiday on the scented Mediterranean island of Sardinia, in search of its exotic dragonflies, birdlife and endemic reptiles and amphibians.

8 days from £1495(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1345 SRS: £165


Sardinia’s coastal lagoons, forests, mountains and limestone hills provide habitats for a rich variety of plant, insect and birdlife, including a number of endemics. Sardinia has about 35 species of dragonfly, most of which are not found in the UK, and its proximity to Africa means it hosts some rather exotic species. For the real dragonfly enthusiast there are exciting endemics such as the Island Bluetail, while the Copper Demoiselles which line up four or five in a row on reed stems, are rather easier to spot, and a gift to the photographer! Spring flowers, birds and a ubiquitous aromatic scent all add to the island’s many charms.

  • Copper Demoiselle mating displays around small streams
  • Banded Groundlings (an African species) ‘buzzing’ around our feet
  • Green Hooktail, Bladetail & Lesser Emperor
  • Violet Dropwing, Orange-winged Dropwing & many more species
  • Up to 16 species of orchid including Sawfly, Milky, Man & Dense-flowered
  • Bee-eater, Golden Oriole, Barbary Partridge & Eleonora’s Falcon
  • Curious Bronze Age stone tower monuments called ‘nuraghi’
  • Led by expert naturalist guide

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels with en suite facilities.

Violet Dropwing (Andy McGeeney)

Violet Dropwing (Andy McGeeney)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Alghero; transfer to Porto Torres

Day 2/3 Daily programme of wildlife excursions from Porto Torres

Day 4/5 Gennargentu National Park and lakelands from Abbasanta

Day 6/7 Daily programme of wildlife excursions from Pula

Day 8 Fly London

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean and lies in the Tyrrhenian Sea, south of Corsica. It is a land of contrasts, ranging from beautiful white sandy beaches and coves to a rugged mountainous interior and quieter southern areas. Great care has been taken to ensure that Sardinia has escaped the ravages of tourism which many other Mediterranean islands have suffered. The natural scenery is extremely varied, providing a wide range of habitats for the plants, animals and birds that live here. For the naturalist it is the island’s abundant coastal lagoons, extensive forests, mountains and rugged limestone hills that are of particular interest, as they are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Human settlements have existed here for thousands of years and Sardinia is studded with traces of ancient civilisations, such as the curious stone tower monuments called nuraghi, built by Bronze Age inhabitants.

This tour visits the island’s wild and little visited western coast and, if you love dragonflies, this is the trip for you! There are some amazingly colourful dragonflies here — indeed you would need to travel to Africa to see some of these species elsewhere. At this time of year more than 20 species can be seen, most of which are not found in Britain, including Green Hooktail, Bladetail, Banded Groundling, Island Bluetail and Long Skimmer. The island also boasts a rich diversity of other wildlife and is home to many endemic species; we will explore its marshes, lakes and other wetland areas in search of a tapestry of southern European insects, amphibians, reptiles and birds. Above us, the majestic outlines of Griffon Vultures will rise into the deep summer-blue sky. Closer to the ground we will be hoping to encounter some of the island’s smaller inhabitants, such as the Tyrrhenian Tree Frog and Italian Wall Lizard, while Red and Fallow Deer and Wild Boar live in the scrub and forests. In summer the aromatic maquis delivers scents of thyme, myrtle, rosemary and lavender which blow across the island and flamingoes, known to the locals as ‘rose-coloured folk’, strut about in the numerous lagoons. Turquoise sea and lovely beaches also help provide a marvellous backdrop to our main quest — dragonflies!

After a flight to Alghero we will transfer to Porto Torres in the north-west of the island for a 3-night stay. The Sardinian coastline offers secluded inlets, golden sand dunes, wild lilies and Cistus as well as rugged cliffs that plummet to the sea, and from our base in Porto Torres we will visit nearby lakes and marshes that are excellent for birding and dragonfly watching. Numerous Banded Groundlings will be flying around our feet as we walk along, making the ground appear to shimmer underfoot. Island Bluetails, Lesser Emperors and Long Skimmers will be among the special dragonflies to look out for in these wetlands, darting around the long pink legs of Black-winged Stilts which pick their way daintily through the shallows here.

We will drive to the small reserve of Isola dell’Asinara, home to a large population of the rare Dark Spreadwing. Other dragonflies we’ll hope to see on our guided tour of this uninhabited island are: Small Spreadwing, Broad Scarlet, Dainty Bluet, Blue-eyed Hawker, Southern Darter, Small Redeye and the distinctive Red-veined Darter. We will keep a look-out for the island’s white donkeys, wild horses, Wild Boars and Mouflons, too. Lago Baratz is the only natural freshwater lake on Sardinia and offers one of the best places on the island for dragonfly watching: 15 species can be seen among the reeds and scrub! At the nearby area of Bosa, situated between the west-coast towns of Oristano and Alghero, the small streams are awash with Copper Demoiselles, and we’ll be watching for their fluttery, butterfly-like flight — the males of this stunning damselfly perform dazzling display flights to attract females into their territories! Small Red Damsel, Green-eyed Hawker, and the glorious Violet Dropwing are found near these streams. We’ll hope to round off our time here with views of Griffon Vultures and the romantic sunsets the area is famous for.

For the final part of our holiday we journey three hours south to Pula, near Cagliari. Purple Gallinule, Little Bittern and Red-crested Pochard are among the rare breeding birds we may see in this part of the island and we will visit the Isola di San Pietro, off the south-west corner of Sardinia to see its colony of Eleonora’s Falcons which breeds there every summer. We can hope to add more than 10 species of dragonflies during our leisurely walks in the surrounding countryside, and top of our list of hoped-for last finds will be the Orange-winged Dropwing — a new species for Europe, coming from Africa and only recently discovered in the Cagliari area!

Lesser Emperor, Colin BrownGreen Hooktail, Colin BrownViolet Dropwing, Colin BrownSouthern Skimmer, Colin BrownLesser Emperor, Colin BrownLong Skimmer with bee, Colin BrownDainty Blue, Colin BrownYellow-veined Skimmer, Colin BrownDark Spreadwing, Colin BrownViolet Dropwing, Colin BrownMammoth Wasp, Colin BrownHummingbird Hawkmoth, Colin BrownPainted Lady, Colin BrownLesser Emperor, Colin BrownAudouin's Gull, Colin BrownPaper Wasp, Colin BrownCleopatra, Colin BrownCorsican Heath, Colin BrownBordered Straw Moth, Colin BrownCopper Demoiselle, Colin BrownSwallowtail, Colin BrownSwallowtail, Colin BrownCorsican Dapppled White, Colin BrownBlack-winged Stilt, Colin BrownAvocet, Colin BrownGreater Flamingo, Colin BrownTree Frog, Colin BrownGreater Flamingos, Colin BrownGreen Hooktail (Brian West)Robber Fly feeding on Island Bluetail Damselfly (Brian West)Great Banded Grayling (Brian West)Ann MilesAnn MilesAnn MilesBroad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea) Ann MilesIsland Bluetail (Ischnura genei)Ann MilesAeshna isoceles Green-eyed or Norfolk Hawker (Ann Miles)Ann MilesAnn MilesCopper Demoiselles (Calopterix haemorrhoidalis) Ann MilesAnn MilesAnn MilesAnn MilesArgiope bruennicht Tiger Spider (Ann Miles)Ann MilesAnn MilesAnn MilesAnn MilesSouthern Green Shieldbug (Nezara viridula) Ann MilesBlack-tailed Skimmer (Brian West)
R.A.
Suffolk
Wonderful holiday. Excellent leader.
Dr T.
Cambridgeshire
I learned a lot about the dragonflies and managed to get really good photos of all the species we saw. Accomodation, food, wine, weather were all excellent. History & Culture - I particularly enjoyed the trip to the Nuraghi Bronze Age site.
A.K.
Oxon
The trip for me was superb, we had fantastic leaders who taught us so much throughout and we saw some incredible dragonflies including the Bladetail and Green Hooktail. I could not have asked for more - absolutely brilliant!!! Many thanks
Mr D.
Kent
Gerald and Andrew worked very hard to ensure that the trip was very enjoyable/successful and they were good company throughout. Many thanks to them both.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Sun 3rd June 2018 - Sun 10th June 2018

YES

£1595

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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are limited. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1475 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Italy

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Andy Tucker
Operations Manager

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01962 733051

Tour Focus

Dragonflies

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Tour Reviews

Wonderful holiday. Excellent leader.
R.A., Suffolk