• 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.The local area is most attractive, and we can walk down to the barrage while black kites float overhead and black redstarts sing from the rooftops. After supper we may step out to the riverside, where nightingales sing and green frogs cackle in the gathering dusk.
    • Accommodation: Mauzac, 7-nights on full board basis.
    • This is David’s local patch, and he will know exactly where to find the many orchid species that are in flower, including violet limodore, woodcock, fly and lady orchids. Butterflies can abound, and include Berger’s clouded yellow, black-veined white and red-underwing skipper.
    • River cliffs and clifftops further along the Dordogne offer more variety, with crag martin, wood lark, Bonelli’s warbler and several fritillary butterflies to be found.
    • The Faux plateau is an excellent site for butterflies, with knapweed and Glanville fritillaries plus mazarine and green-underside blue, as well as several orchids. The Causse de Daglan is a European Natura 2000 site and one of the top butterfly sites in Dordogne. Last year we found around 40 species in a day.
    • We plan to take a trip on the river in a traditional ‘gabarre’ boat. This should provide us with excellent views of nesting black kites as well as species such as kingfisher and grey wagtail.
    • Villages are both picturesque and good wildlife sites in their own right: ponds can sometimes be excellent for amphibians, including marbled newt and midwife toad.
    • We should have time for a morning in the Dordogne and a farewell lunch before returning to Bergerac for our flight to London.

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Guided activities

Accommodation

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.

Meals

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.

Birds

On our tour we will be keeping an eye open for a diverse range of birds, such as turtle dove, nightingale, melodious warbler, Bonelli’s warbler, golden oriole, cirl and corn buntings, rock sparrow, crested lark, stone curlew, hen harrier, honey buzzard, black-winged kite, hobby and hoopoe.

  • Hoopoe
  • Golden oriole
  • Melodious warbler
  • Stone curlew

Insects

Many species which are rare or extinct in the UK can be seen including European swallowtail, marsh fritillary and black-veined white. Southern species attracted by the warmer climate include scarce swallowtail, Cleopatra, turquoise blue, Berger’s clouded yellow and spotted fritillary. We will also look out for early dragonflies and other interesting insects.

  • Marsh fritillary
  • Turquoise blue
  • Scarce swallowtail
  • Cleopatra

Flora

At this time of year the flora of the Dordogne is outstanding and orchids abound with over 30 species recorded. British rarities can be found alongside exotics. Especially rich are the many limestone habitats.

  • Lady orchid
  • Sombre bee orchid
  • Violet limodore
  • Long-tipped tongue orchid

Scenery

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.

Boat trips

River conditions permitting, one day we take a cruise on the River Dordogne to appreciate birds of prey soaring overhead, including black kites, dragonflies flitting over the river and the stunning landscape.

Photography

Our tour is designed as a gentle introduction to the riches of the region. There will be ample opportunities for photography which we can review each evening at the hotel.

Archaeology

Dordogne is a centre of prehistory. The Vézère Valley around Les Eyzies is a world heritage UNESCO site containing many caves with engravings and paintings, both mono and polychromatic, cliff shelters and troglodytic settlements dating back at least 15,000 years. We plan to visit the Rouffignac Cave with it’s famous Mammoth paintings and engravings.

Flights

Price includes return scheduled flights London – Bergeac – London.

Ground transport

Ground transportation is by minibus, with driver.

  1. May 2016
  2. May 2015
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