Wildlife Holidays in the Picos de Europa with Iberian Wildlife Tours
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Picos de Europa:
a naturalist's paradise - part 5

by Teresa Farino

Puerto de San Glorio

Pyrenean Snakeshead - Fritillaria pyrenaica Pyrenean Snakeshead
Fritillaria pyrenaica
© Teresa Farino

This 1,609m pass on the N-621 essentially divides the Picos de Europa from the neighbouring Cordillera Cantábrica. High-level haymeadows here house acid-loving flowers such as common bistort, horned pansy, great yellow gentian, large self-heal, Pedicularis mixta, Narcissus pseudonarcissus ssp. nobilis and Pyrenean snakeshead, plus vanilla, pale-flowered, elder-flowered and frog orchids. Slaty screes host Teesdaliopsis conferta and Phalacrocarpum oppositifolium, both unique to northern Iberia, while boggy areas are populated by aconite-leaved Pearl-bordered Fritillaries - Boloria euphrosyne Pearl-bordered Fritillaries
Boloria euphrosyne
© Teresa Farino
buttercup, hairy stonecrop, starry and yellow mountain saxifrages, water avens, grass-of-Parnassus, snow gentian, large-flowered butterwort and white false helleborine.

Pyrenean desmans are known from the many small streams of the San Glorio area, while the surrounding forests are home to high densities of wildcat and Eurasian badger. Wolf and brown bear are the most noteworthy mammals of the mountains to the south of the pass, with red deer frequent in winter. Whitethroats, red-backed shrikes and rock buntings occupy the scrub, as do Cantabrican vipers, often sporting melanic coloration. In terms of the butterflies, San Glorio is a classic locality for Chapman's ringlet (endemic to the central Cordillera Cantábrica) in June, along with marsh, pearl-bordered and Queen of Spain fritillaries, with July bringing Apollo, Esper's marbled white, rock grayling and purple-edged, purple-shot and scarce coppers.

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.

Natural history tours in the Picos de Europa:

A Feast of Flowers - botanical trips to the Picos de Europa
Spring Butterflies & Moths of the Picos de Europa
Natural History of the Picos de Europa & Páramos of Northern Castile
A Family Wildlife Holiday in the Picos de Europa
Autumn Moth Weekend in the Picos de Europa
Daily wildlife excursions in the Picos de Europa

Reports from past trips to the Picos de Europa:

Picos de Europa trip report 2013
Picos and Páramos trip report 2012
Picos de Europa trip report 2011
Picos de Europa trip report 2010
A Feast of Flowers in the Picos de Europa - 2009 trip report
Butterflies & moths of the Picos de Europa - 2008 trip report
Butterflies & moths of the Picos de Europa - 2006 trip report
Butterflies & moths of the Picos de Europa - 2005 trip report
BSBI Botanical Tour of the Picos de Europa - 2004 trip report

Related information:

Complete list of orchids for the Picos de Europa
Complete list of butterflies for the Picos de Europa
Read about Teresa Farino
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