Wildlife Tour with Greentours to Corsica for Spring Flowers, especially Orchids and Bulbs, also Birds and endemic Butterflies
Scenically stunning Corsica has long held an interest to naturalists, there are many elegantly penned articles from a bygone era with prose redolent of aromatic maquis and dramatic gorges.
Brick pink granitic cliffs sweep down to the sea west of Ajaccio, where yellow Calicotome villosa dominates maquis that has a rich flora including Convolvulus sicula and Succowia balearica. Southern coastal limestone is home to beautiful Erodium corsicum, endemic Morisia monanthos, and fine hummocks of Astragalus massiliensis. Orchids include Orchis laxiflora and bee orchids such as Ophrys morisii, Ophrys marmorata and Ophrys lutea corsica. Corsican Dappled White and the Corsican Swallowtail are on the wing as we stop by roadsides dotted with Green-winged and Pink Butterfly Orchids.
Cytinus hypocistus’s yellow flowers glow from crimson bracts amongst Cistus, and in meadows there are displays of Serapias hardly matched elsewhere in the Mediterranean with large-flowered Serapias cordigera and Serapias neglecta and the common Serapias lingua. In the mountainous interior extensive Corsican Pine forests are home to the endemic Corsican Nuthatch, and a second endemic bird, Corsican Finch, is rather common, especially amid Sweet Chestnut woods. Endemics continue with the rare Tyrrhenian Tree Frog, European Leaf-toed Gecko, and Pygmy Algyroides.
We'll visit some of Corsica's most beautiful gardens including the botanical garden of the Couvent Saint Francois near Oletta and the Jardin Botanique Fruitier in Avapessa. A real treat lies in wait for us in the Calvi area on the northern coast where we’ll visit the outstanding Parc de Saleccia.
In the south Kerry Lily blooms, and the broomrapes Orobanche rigens and Orobanche sanguinea are both beautiful richly-coloured species. Narcissus tazetta and Romulea requienii decorate rocky crevices and shorelines have much Matthiola tricuspidata, Medicago marina,and purple-streaked Silene sericea. Moving inland we’ll find Brimeura fastigata and Pancratium illyricum, which unlike its more widespread European cousin flowers far up into the mountains. Cyclamen repandum blooms at all altitudes, with Corydalis pumila at higher passes amid a selection of gageas, and slopes covered with pretty lilac Crocus corsicus, the outside of the flowers etched with deep purple lines. Fabulous mounds of Saxifraga cervicornis adorn shaded rocks in a narrow gorge where Armeria leucocephala, Saxifraga corsica, Arenaria balearica, and Orchis olbiensis bloom. On the east coast we will see the endangered Anchusa crispa at one of its remaining sites. Our hotel in the Gorges du Restonica sits beside the cascading river, Helleborus argutifolius flowering abundantly nearby.
Flowers and Gardens. Also Butterflies and Birds.
Relaxed and easy. Up to two or three miles a day and always at a slow pace.
Included in the Price
All flights. Transport, accommodation and all meals in Corsica. Services of the leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature including travel insurance, are not included.
One leader for a group of up to 12, two leaders up to the maximum group size of 30.
We start with a night in the L’Hôtel La Pinède (3-star), a little along the coast towards Parata from Ajaccio. The hotel is in a lovely spot with pleasant gardens and is right by the sea. The rooms are large and comfortable. Next we’ve four nights in the central mountains in the magnificent scenery of the Gorges du Restonica. Our hotel, the lovely Dominique-Colonna (4+ star equivalent), is set in a well-wooded stretch of the gorge and right by the rushing river, a very lovely setting indeed. We finish the holiday with two nights at the Hôtel U Libecciu (3-star), beautifully situated amongst oaks and Strawberry Trees at the head of the Gulf of Figari. The hotel is a stylish modern place with large and airy rooms. All rooms on this holiday have en suite WCs and showers/baths.
UK return flights are from Edinburgh to Ajaccio via Nice, returning from Bonifacio, also via Nice. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Variable but mostly clear and sunny with daytime temperatures between 15°C and 28°C. Rain is likely at some point and is occasionally prolonged.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. Flower, bird, butterfly and odonata checklists are available.