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 2014|
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 (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 (Gerona)© Teresa Farinoas 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 (Cantabria)© Teresa Farino
Although I would probably describe myself as a botanist first and foremost, I am fascinated by all aspects of Iberian wildlife, and particularly passionate about wildflowers, 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 fifth edition) and – with Mike Lockwood – Landscapes 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 (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.
In 2014 I will be organising and leading my usual series of wildlife tours in the Picos de Europa, focussing on general natural history, orchids and other wildflowers, and butterflies and moths, as well as spring trips to the Western Canaries, Almería and Extremadura, during which we can expect to encounter all manner of animals and plants. Red Fox Vulpes vulpes (Jaén)© Teresa FarinoCome early summer, Grazalema (Western Andalucía) is once again on the agenda, at an excellent time of year for butterflies, birds and the endemic flora, and at the end of June, Jeff Clarke and I will once again be running our 10-day jaunt to the Picos de Europa and Páramos of northern Castile.
My annual trip to the Catalan Pyrenees is scheduled for mid July in 2014, thus focussing on La Cerdanya's phenomenal range of butterflies and dragonflies, as well as the superb alpine flora, and come the end of the summer I will be repeating our highly successful week in the Somiedo Natural Park (Asturias) to observe some of the last Cantabrican Brown Bears, in conjunction with the very knowledgeable agents from the Fundación Oso Pardo.
Autumn sees me heading off to Cádiz once again for an invertebrate extravaganza in Andalucía, followed by two long weekends dedicated to the autumn moths of the Picos de Europa.
Micromelo undata© Teresa Farino
Spring in the Western Canaries
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
6 - 13 March 2014
The Canary Islands are an ideal destination for people who like a little bit of everything, including winter sun! Almost every animal and plant we might find in the wildlife-rich arid coastal badlands, semi-tropical laurel forests and stately Canary Pinewoods will be new to UK naturalists. Opportunities to snorkel, plus cetaceans & seabirds on the ferry crossings. (Maximum 8 clients)
Trithemis annulata© Teresa Farino
Wildlife of Almería
Wildflowers, butterflies, birds and general natural history of the arid south-eastern corner of Spain
1 - 8 May 2014
The arid badlands, varied coastal habitats and rugged volcanic mountains of Almería's Cabo de Gata Natural Park are the perfect spring destination for the all-round naturalist, harbouring unique communities of flora, butterflies, dragonflies and other invertebrates, plus reptiles galore and some of Europe's most charismatic birds. We'll also be exploring other legendary protected areas nearby, such as Tabernas and Punta Entinas-Sabinar. (Maximum 8 clients)
Pleurodeles waltl© Teresa Farino
Springtime in Extremadura
A profusion of flora, invertebrates, reptiles & amphibians and birds in the environs of the Monfragüe National Park and the Llanos de Cáceres
13- 20 May 2014
A visit to Extremadura in the spring surely has to rate as one of Europe's finest all-round wildlife experiences, providing a wealth of photographic opportunities. Not only are the raptors and other birds simply out of this world, but the array of less 'popular' creatures is also fabulous, and all set against one of the most colourful spring floral displays in Spain. (Maximum 8 clients)
Zerynthia rumina© Teresa Farino
Sierra de Grazalema
Late-spring wildflowers, butterflies, birds and other wildlife of western Andalucía
29 May - 5 June 2014
The Sierra de Grazalema is one of south-western Spain's natural wonders. In early June, the flora and fauna of these magnificent limestone mountains is perhaps at its best, offering us the opportunity to track down some of the unique plants that occur here, as well as a good range of butterflies and dragonflies, many reptiles & amphibians, and a fine selection of colourful Mediterranean birds. Don't forget your camera! (Maximum 8 clients)
Aquilegia vulgaris© Teresa Farino
A Feast of Flowers
Orchids and other botanical treasures of the Picos de Europa
10 - 17 June 2014
Flower-rich haymeadows, ancient forests and high-altitude rock-gardens in the spectacular limestone mountains of the Picos de Europa harbour 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 ninth year. Early booking is advisable as there are only a few places left. (Maximum 8 clients)
Hieraaetus pennatus© Teresa FarinoNatural History of the Picos de Europa & Páramos of Northern Castile
Discover the fabulous mid-summer diversity of birds, butterflies & moths, dragonflies and wildflowers of northern Spain, in association with professional ornithologist and photographer Jeff Clarke
22 June - 1 July 2014
The timing of this two-base, ten-day tour will enable us to encounter many of the more emblematic mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies and moths, dragonflies and wildflowers that thrive in the Picos de Europa, complemented by the very different community of animals and plants that inhabits the limestone plateaux further south. (Maximum 14 clients)
Deilephila elpenor© Teresa FarinoButterflies and Moths of the Southern Valleys of the Picos de Europa
Two bases in stunning mountain landscapes, for 100+ butterflies and several hundred macromoths
3 - 12 July 2014
We will investigate first the meadows, forests and alpine habitats of the Cantabrian sector of the Picos de Europa (154 species of butterflies & more than 750 macromoths, with my terrace frequently coming in the top half-dozen sites in Europe during European Moth Nights), followed by four nights in the Valdeón valley - another Picos Lepidoptera hotspot - further west. Photographic opportunities abound! (Maximum 8 clients)
Araschnia levana© Teresa Farino
Wildlife of the Catalan Pyrenees
butterflies, dragonflies, flowers and birds of La Cerdanya
17 - 24 July 2014
This part of the eastern Pyenees is considered to be one of the richest parts of Spain for wildlife, hosting an exceptional flora typical of both limestone and acid bedrock. Notable birds include Lammergeier, Citril Finch and Rock Thrush, for example, with Alpine Marmots in boulder chokes and an unbelievable wealth of butterflies (more than 100 species, guaranteed!), day-flying burnet moths, dragonflies and other invertebrates closer at hand. (Maximum 8 clients
Rosalia alpina© Teresa FarinoA family wildlife holiday in the Picos de Europa
Introduce your children to the plants and animals of the mountains of northern Spain this summer
2 - 9 August 2014
A fun-filled family holiday designed to bring children into close contact with the abundant wildlife of the spectacular limestone mountains of the Picos de Europa. Although the emphasis is on invertebrates, particularly butterflies, beetles, crickets and dragonflies, there will also be plenty of opportunity for encounters with mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, as well as to swim in a mountain lake and spend a day at the beach. 20% discount for children under 14. (Maximum 8 clients)
Allophyes alfaroi© Teresa Farino
Autumn moth weekends in the Picos de Europa
Four-night stays in a superb locality for nocturnal lepidoptera, with daily excursions in search of butterflies, orthoptera and other wildlife
25 - 29 September 2014; 23 - 27 October 2014
Simply the best of the autumn moth fauna! The 2013 September trip turned up almost 200 macromoths, including such emblematic species as Jersey Tiger, Clifden Nonpareil (+9 other Catocala species!), Feathered, Bordered & Beautiful Gothics, Orache Moth, Smoky Bloom and Pyrenean Runic Carpet. Plenty of autumn butterflies too. (Maximum 8 clients)
Borbo borbonica© Teresa Farino
Autumn in Andalucía
An invertebrate extravaganza in Cádiz, SW Spain, with birds, reptiles, amphibians and autumn-flowering bulbs on the side
7 - 14 October 2014
The primary focus of this tour is to take a close look at the butterflies, moths, dragonflies and other invertebrates of the region, with expected highlights including Green Hooktail, Orange-winged & Violet Dropwings, Long Skimmer, Northern Banded Groundling, Zeller's Skipper, Monarch, Plain Tiger, Two-tailed Pasha and Mediterranean, Dwarf European & Giant African Mantises. Mandrakes, Sea Squill and several species of autumn-flowering narcissus among the flora. (Maximum 8 clients)
Libelloides coccajus© Teresa Farino
Daily Wildlife Walks in the Picos de Europa
Daily excursions in search of birds, butterflies and wildflowers
If you're on holiday in the Picos, why not join me to explore the natural wonders of these mountains for a day? Children are particularly welcome.
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 get in touch.
Flora & Fauna of the Picos de Europa
Dericorys lobata luteipes (Fuerteventura)© Teresa Farino
Over the past 25 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 and vascular plants ever recorded the Picos de Europa, plus summaries of each of these groups and an eight-page introduction to the natural history of these mountains. If you would like to purchase a copy, the price is 17.50€, excluding postage and packaging; alternatively, a copyrighted PDF document sent by email costs 11.50€. Please contact Teresa for further details or to place your order.
|Address: ||Apartado de Correos 59|
|Office: ||(+34) 942 735154|
|Mobile: ||(+34) 656 337129|