by Marissa Ellis-Snow
Tailormade wildlife holidays are an opportunity for dragonfly enthusiasts to see new and well-known species in their wild habitats all around Europe. Top destinations include Bulgaria, the Neusiedler See National Park in Austria and Hungary, the island of Sardinia and the Camargue region in France.
Bulgaria's varied habitats are home to a stunning array of dragonflies. Whether searching the bogs and rivers of the Balkans, walking around the Smolyan Lakes in the Rhodope Mountains, or exploring the hot springs near Melnik, tailormade wildlife holidays to Bulgaria are sure to satisfy the dragonfly enthusiast. Possible sightings include Goldenrings, Little Tiger Blue, Eastern Festoon, Northern Damselfly, Downy Emerald, Black Pennant, Odalisque Damselfly, Bulgarian Emerald (only discovered in 1999), and many more. The landscapes of Bulgaria are truly stunning and there are many other animal and plant species to look for, including raptors, butterflies and orchids.
Austria and Hungary
Spanning the steppe and wetlands of Austria and Hungary is Neusiedler See National Park, one of Europe's lesser-known locations for observing flora and fauna. The range of bird life is spectacular, from water birds to raptors, but the highlight for dragonfly enthusiasts will be flitting closer to the wild flowers that cover the steppe. Stunning in their own right, the wild flowers are home to numerous dragonfly species. From a base, location, tailormade wildlife holidays take groups on daily excursions under the guidance of an expert naturalist, in search of the finest possible sightings. It is also possible to enjoy a Puszta Nacht: a night of traditional local dinner and entertainment.
The large Mediterranean island of Sardinia is an especially recommended destination for dragonfly enthusiasts on tailormade wildlife holidays. Its habitats encompass coastal lagoons, limestone hills, mountains and forests, and its location not far from Africa makes it the home of some particularly special species. It is the habitat of about 35 species - most of which cannot be seen in the wild in the United Kingdom. Enthusiasts can look for the endemic Island Bluetail or the delightful Copper Demoiselles, which rest in photogenic lines of four or five on reed stems. Sardinia itself is a splendid island to visit, with plenty to enjoy, including natural wonders and ancient ruins - nuraghi, domus de janas, Roman ruins and more - throughout the landscape and urban areas.
The Camargue (France)
One of the best-known wetlands in Europe, the Camargue - on the Mediterranean coast of France - is a superb base site. From the saline habitats and reed beds of the Camargue to the stony steppe of La Crau and the herb-covered limestone hills of Les Alpilles, this area is a real treat. Under the guidance of an expert naturalist, dragonfly enthusiasts can look out for the courtship displays of Copper Demoiselles, the summer immigrant Vagrant Emperor, and many other species, including Goblet Damselfly and Green-eyed Hawker. Over 30 species live in the area and, as in Sardinia, many are not found in the United Kingdom.
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you're looking for tailormade wildlife holidays Naturetrek specialises in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to polar expeditions and tours to other spectacular regions on Earth.
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