Butterflies, Moths and Wildflowers in the Picos de Europa and Western Portugal
    Wildflower, butterfly & birdwatching tours in Iberia: Spanish & Portuguese wildlife at its most memorable
 
Teresa Farino © Wendy Wilson

Teresa Farino

Wildflowers, butterflies & moths and general natural history holidays throughout Spain and Portugal, in particular the Picos de Europa.

Teresa is an all-round naturalist and author with a special interest in the flora, lepidoptera and odonata of the Iberian peninsula. She lives in the Picos de Europa and has been leading wildlife tours in Spain and Portugal since 1989.

View Teresa's wildlife holidays for 2019

A little bit about me…

I fell in love with the Picos de Europa, in northern Spain, during a university field trip in 1985, and promptly abandoned a career in nature conservation in Britain to eke out a precarious existence as an environmental journalist, just so that I could live in these magnificent mountains. In 1989, I started Mountain Houseleek – Sempervivum montanum © Teresa FarinoMountain Houseleek
Sempervivum montanum (Huesca)
© Teresa Farino
leading natural history tours to the region, in order to share the extraordinary wealth of wildlife to be found in the Picos de Europa with the rest of the world… and have been doing so ever since.

In the meantime, I grabbed every possible opportunity to explore the rest of the Iberian peninsula, marvelling at how one – relatively – small area could harbour so many different ecosystems, each home to a unique assemblage of plants and animals, Southern White Admiral – Limenitis reducta © Teresa FarinoSouthern White Admiral
Limenitis reducta (Gerona)
© Teresa Farino
as well as at the specific way of life selected by our ancestors to exploit the resources of each in a traditional manner.

I have written about these experiences in many books and articles concerned with the natural history of Spain and Portugal, most notably Travellers' Nature Guides: Spain (co-authored with Mike Lockwood; Oxford University Press, 2004), which gives a comprehensive account of hundreds of prime Spanish wildlife destinations and their flora and fauna.  As this book is now out of print, we are in the process of preparing a series of more detailed regional guides, in conjunction with Náyade Editorial.  By contrast, my most recent book – Wild Spain (New Holland, 2009) – was designed with the armchair naturalist in mind, and is lavishly illustrated with both my own photographs and images from renowned wildlife photographer Carlos Sánchez.

Aesculapian Snake – Zamenis longissimus © Teresa FarinoAesculapian Snake Zamenis longissimus (Cantabria)© Teresa Farino

Although I started life as a botanist, I am fascinated by all aspects of Iberian wildlife, and am nowadays particularly passionate about invertebrates, especially butterflies and moths; since 1988 I have been compiling a database of the Lepidoptera of the Picos de Europa. Over the years I have also built up an extensive photographic library of the landscapes, flora and fauna of Spain and Portugal, with an emphasis on flowers, invertebrates and herptiles, a few examples of which can be seen on these pages.

In addition to contributing to magazines such as BBC WILDLIFE and British Wildlife, as well as to most books currently in print that deal with Spanish wildlife, I have also written Landscapes of the Picos de Europa (now in its seventh edition) and – with Mike LockwoodLandscapes of the Costa Brava (2003/2006), both for Sunflower Books. These two books are walking guides with an added natural history element. Andalusian Funnel-web Spider – Macrothele calpeiana © Teresa FarinoAndalusian Funnel-web Spider
Macrothele calpeiana (Cádiz)
© Teresa Farino
Other books of a more general nature include The Living World (1989), Sharks – the ultimate predators (1990) and The Photographic Encyclopaedia of Wildflowers (1991), all for Colour Library Books, Godalming.

Over the years I have led wildlife holidays to many Spanish and Portuguese destinations apart from the Picos de Europa, including the Algarve, western Portugal, the Canary Islands, Extremadura, Grazalema, Almería, along the length of the River Ebro, the Páramos of Northern Castile and the Catalan and Aragonese Pyrenees.

That said — and this probably won't come as a surprise to anyone — I regret that due to the uncertainty surrounding BREXIT I have decided to take a year's sabbatical in 2019 to concentrate on Lepidoptera research.

As a result, I will only be organising a very few 'formal' tours next year: the Western Canaries in March (by popular request), two from my home base in the Picos de Europa – A Feast of Flowers and the Autumn Moth Weekend — and the Moon Moths and Monkey Orchids trip to Navarra, because these already have firm bookings (further details in the table below). If you are interested in joining any of these trips please ask me to send you a pre-departure information pack.

Red Fox – Vulpes vulpes © Teresa FarinoRed Fox Vulpes vulpes (Jaén)© Teresa Farino

However, I would also be happy to consider running a few tailor-made holidays for groups of 3–8 people for a week or more to any of my usual destinations next year, on a first-come, first-served basis. The price per person would be around 1500€ per week, excluding flights. Destinations that are close together geographically — for example, the Picos de Europa and the Páramos of Northern Castille — may be combined. Please do get in touch if you might be interested in such an arrangement.

Sadly I have decided to abandon my autumn holidays in Cádiz (SW Spain) and Extremadura for the moment because these areas have experienced a pronounced summer drought and uncertain autumn rains in recent years, making it extremely difficult to locate sufficient wildlife to make such trips worthwhile.

I sincerely hope that by 2020 the BREXIT situation will have resolved itself, and that I will be back in business as usual.

Male & female Alpine Newts Ichthyosaura alpestris (Asturias)© Teresa Farino

Teresa Farino – Trip Listing for 2019

Canary Red Admiral – Vanessa vulcaniaCanary Red Admiral
Vanessa vulcania
© Teresa Farino

Wildlife of the Western Canaries

The Macaronesian islands of Tenerife and La Gomera offer an exceptional diversity of wildflowers, butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles and birds, many of which are found nowhere else in the world

4 – 11 March 2019

The Canary archipelago is the ideal destination for people who like a little bit of everything, including winter sun! Because of the high level of endemism, almost every animal and plant we encounter in the wildlife-rich arid coastal badlands, semi-tropical laurel forests and stately Canary Pinewoods will be new to UK naturalists. (Maximum 8 clients)

Spanish Moon Moth – Actias isabelaeSpanish Moon Moth
Actias isabelae
© Teresa Farino

Moon Moths and Monkey Orchids

Our base in Navarra is home to fabulous Spanish Moon Moths, many unusual spring butterflies, a plethora of orchids and a good selection of charismatic birds. Macro photo opportunities galore!

27 May – 2 June 2019

The mosaic of grasslands, garrigue, broadleaved and coniferous forest and cereal fields on calcareous soils around Pamplona boasts a unique assemblage of flora and fauna, quite unlike that found anywhere else in Spain. The principal focus of the tour is undoubtedly the superb Spanish Moon Moth, but the array of spring butterflies and 30+ species of orchids found here are also exceptional. (Maximum 8 clients)

Lizard Orchid – Himantoglossum hircinumLizard Orchid
Himantoglossum
hircinum
© Teresa Farino
A Feast of Flowers

Orchids and other botanical treasures of the Picos de Europa, plus a good helping of other wildlife

6 – 13 June 2019

The mosaic of flower-rich haymeadows, ancient forests and high-altitude rock-gardens in the spectacular limestone mountains of the Picos de Europa harbours more than 1500 species of vascular plants, including orchids galore at this time of year, as well as many plants unique to northern Spain. Enabling us to observe a wealth of animal life too, this very popular spring botanical tour is now in its fourteenth year (Maximum 8 clients)

Spanish Character – Cilix hispanicaSpanish Character
Cilix hispanica
© Teresa Farino

Autumn moth weekend in the Picos de Europa

A five-night stay in a superb locality for nocturnal lepidoptera, with daily excursions in search of butterflies, orthoptera and other wildlife

26 September – 1 October 2019

Simply the best of Spain's autumn moth fauna! This trip regularly turns up around 200 species of macromoths, including such gems as Jersey Tiger, Clifden Nonpareil (plus 9 other Catocala species!), Feathered, Bordered & Beautiful Gothics, Orache Moth, Smoky Bloom and Pyrenean Runic Carpet. Plenty of autumn butterflies, grasshoppers & crickets too. (Maximum 8 clients)

Martagon Lily – Lilium martagonMartagon Lily
Lilium martagon
© Teresa Farino

Daily Wildlife Walks in the Picos de Europa

Daily excursions in search of birds, butterflies, wildflowers and any other wildlife that might cross our path

throughout 2019

If you're holidaying in the Picos, why not join me to explore the natural wonders of these mountains for a day? Children are particularly welcome.

Alpine Pasque-flower – Pulsatilla alpina ssp. cantabrica © Teresa FarinoAlpine Pasque-flower
Pulsatilla alpina ssp. cantabrica (León)
© Teresa Farino

Please click on the tour that interests you for more details and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

I have also organised many private excursions over the years, with the emphasis on wildflowers, butterflies and moths, birdwatching and even Romanesque architecture. As such, I would be happy to discuss the possibility of designing a tour focused on your particular interests, so if the idea appeals to you, please do get in touch.

Flora & Fauna of the Picos de Europa
Over the past 30 years, Teresa Farino has compiled a report (more than 100 A4 pages) that includes lists of all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, grasshoppers & crickets, spiders and vascular plants ever recorded the Picos de Europa, plus an eight-page introduction to the natural history of these mountains. If you would like to purchase a PDF copy, the price is 12 € (or the sterling equivalent). Please contact Teresa for further details or to place your order.
Dericorys lobata luteipes © Teresa FarinoDericorys lobata luteipes (Fuerteventura)© Teresa Farino


Teresa Farino – Contact Details

Address: Apartado de Correos 59
39570 Potes
Cantabria
Spain

E-mail:
Office: (+34) 942 735154
Mobile: (+34) 656 337129
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