- Fly from London to Bergerac where we meet our guide. From here it is about a half-hour drive down to our riverside hotel in Mauzac-et-Grand-Castang.
- Accommodation: Mauzac, 7-nights on full board basis.
- We start along the main river and adjacent streams where we should be able to find all four demoiselle species and various featherlegs. The local canal also offers opportunities for other damselflies including the migrant spreadwing. The village ponds and small lakes provide further habitats where we hope to find small red and goblet-marked damselflies, blue chaser and perhaps the violet dropwing. There is a range of commoner butterflies including map near the river whilst in the hills there is the possibility of baton, Reverdin’s and turquoise blues.
- The pine and mixed forests of the Landais region north of Bergerac are full of ponds. Dragonfly species here include downy and brilliant emeralds, broad scarlet and scarce emerald damselfly. Elsewhere there are southern, keeled, white-tailed and black-tailed skimmers, as well as three species of feather-leg damselfly: blue, orange and white. Lesser purple emperor and white admiral inhabit this area along with both short-tailed blue species.
- At Causse de Terrasson there is a good range of limestone butterflies in a superb range of dry habitats. Cleopatra and spotted fritillary are often common whilst there are also rare species including Escher’s blue, great sooty satyr, southern small white, large wall brown, sloe hairstreak and Provençal fritillary. These stony grasslands might not be where one would expect to find dragonflies but they do come up from the adjacent river to feed. Clubtails and pincertails can be found, and species include the Dordogne speciality - the pronged clubtail plus yellow and western clubtails, as well as large and small pincertails. We will visit several hotspots notably for butterflies and other insects in the area.
- Not far away from Mauzac is a forested plateau capped with tertiary sands called Bessède. Provençal short-tailed blue can be common, alongside such species as white admiral and southern white admiral. If we are lucky we may find false ringlet and large chequered skipper. Where streams flow off the plateau, there are hidden meadows which harbour lesser purple emperor, as well as high brown and heath fritillaries and even the rare woodland brown. Small streams can hold golden-ring dragonflies.
- There are several reservoirs in the south of Dordogne and we will visit at least one where a good variety of dragonfly, butterfly and a range of other insects can be found in a lovely setting.
- On the dry stony hills of the Causses, Adonis blue butterflies are often very common and there should be a good mixture of other butterflies such as wood white, Berger’s pale clouded yellow, ilex hairstreak, knapweed, weaver’s, glanville, marbled and Queen of Spain fritillaries, pearly heath, various graylings and maybe even great sooty satyr.
- We will also visit the pretty Céou valley and the main River Dordogne nearby for dragonflies such as the pincertails, orange-spotted emerald and demoiselles. In hot weather butterflies come down to ‘puddle’ on the mud at the water’s edge.
- The Vézère is a beautiful winding valley with rocky crags and we aim to visit a number of interesting sites along its course. One of the rarest species we hope to see is the woodland brown butterfly – only discovered here a couple of years ago. Elsewhere we will keep a sharp eye out for the great sooty satyr and the twin-spot and lesser marbled fritillaries. The wet meadows also hold large copper, false heath fritillary and various grasshoppers and crickets. Here we should find the golden-ring dragonfly along with the copper demoiselle and southern damselfly amongst a wide range of other dragonflies by the streams and ponds.
- We should have time for a brief morning trip after breakfast and before returning to Bergerac for our flight home.
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
We are based at the cosy riverside Hotel Le Barrage at Mauzac, just upstream from Lalinde, an excellent venue with comfortable rooms, good food and excellent hosts. All rooms are en suite.
All main meals are included. Dordogne is noted for its excellent cuisine. Breakfast and dinner will be taken at the hotel and lunches in auberges, to sample the local cuisine ‘du terroir,’ or as picnics, depending upon the weather.
Although we concentrate on dragonflies, this is a good time of year for birds too.
- Honey buzzard
- Golden oriole
- Turtle dove
Dordogne is an excellent venue for a dragonfly watching holiday with over 60 species recorded. They can be found across a diverse range of wetland habitats: ponds, canals, lakes, fens and of course the great Dordogne River itself, together with smaller tributaries, streams and springs.
- Copper demoiselle
- Violet dropwing
- Orange-spotted emerald
- Scarlet darter
We will also keep an eye out for butterflies; the region has around 120 species recorded, twice the number of the UK.
- Lesser purple emperor
- Woodland grayling
- Spotted fritillary
- Short-tailed blue
The area is dominated by the classic Dordogne oak forest and limestone meadows, cut through by the majestic River Dordogne. Our tour also takes us into a number of other interesting habitats including river cliffs, arable plains, heathlands and wetlands. The region is studded with pretty honey-coloured villages, ancient churches, chateaux and caves.
Price includes return scheduled flights London – Bergerac – London.
Ground transportation is by minibus, with driver.