Pontic Alps – A biodiversity hotspot

8th Aug 2022

Mor Yayla © Ian Green

The Pontic region of Northeastern Turkey is renowned for its plant and butterflies but it has to be said that it is the sheer diversity of everything that really stands out. Here’s a tour where one can expect to see a thousand species of plant, 160 species of butterflies, a wonderful range of insect life generally including some lovely moths, dragonflies and lots of orthopteran diversity, as well as some very special mammals and birds. Here’s some pictures of the first few days of the trip in late July this year.

During these four days we also saw Eagle Owl, Wallcreeper, Lammergeier, Alpine Accentor and Radde’s Accentor. The late spring this year meant that there were still snow patches in reachable areas and so we were able to see plants such as Primula longipesPrimula meyeri and Corydalis connorhiza in perfect condition where Delphinium formosumhad just the first flowers and Delphinium dasystachyum not even that. The alpine meadows were stunning, so colourful. This year we had great sightings of the normally elusive Hewitson’s Ringlet and even more surprising the discovery of a colony of the little-know Diana’s Blue at 3300m above the stunning pass overlooking the seven lakes above Mor Yayla. This pass is at 3200m so it was not a big walk to the Diana’s Blues! More on the rest of an amazing trip shortly.