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Easter start to peregrine falcon watch

Last modified: 01 April 2015

Adult peregrine at Malham

Image: Phil Smith

Visitors to Malham Cove this weekend will have an extra Easter treat – the chance to watch two peregrine falcons in action.

A pair of the beautiful birds – the fastest animals on the planet – have built a nest on the cliff face and will hopefully produce some post-Easter eggs.

Yet again, RSPB and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) staff and volunteers will be staffing a special, free viewing point where visitors to the cove can watch the spectacular birds through high-powered telescopes.

It will be open from Saturdays to Wednesday inclusive between 10.30 am and 4.30 pm (weather permitting) until 2 August.

National Park Authority Wildlife Conservation Officer, Ian Court, said: “This year is the 50th anniversary of the 268-mile-long Pennine Way trail, which runs up the steps at the side of the Cove on its way from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.

“The National Trail is always a popular challenge and we are expecting even more walkers will celebrate its special anniversary, so a chance to see the peregrines at close range will be the icing on the birthday cake for them.

“The birds have recorded speeds of more than 200-miles an hour, which makes them a fantastic crowd-puller for the village of Malham and they certainly help boost the local economy.”

Jon Carter, RSPB Face to Face Area Manager, said:“The peregrines really are incredible birds to watch and it’s great to be able to offer visitors to Malham Cove the chance to see them up close.

“Last year they raised four chicks, so fingers crossed they will be successful again – providing us with another season of exciting activity to follow.

“We are hoping plenty of people will visit the viewpoint over the Easter weekend and throughout the season, as it’s a great place to not only watch the Peregrines, but also find out more about the story of these fascinating bird of prey.''

As in previous years, visitors are being asked to stay away from the nest site and the British Mountaineering Council has once again agreed to impose temporary, voluntary rock climbing restrictions around it. An area at the top of the cliff has also been sealed off and visitors are asked to follow any on-site signage.

Since it started in 2003, more than 200,000 people have visited the viewpoint.

As well as the peregrines, green woodpeckers and great spotted woodpeckers are frequent visitors and the first house martins and redstarts are expected any time now, along with swallows and little owls.

The Malham project is run in partnership with the YDNPA as part of the RSPB’s Date with Nature programme of events, which makes rare and spectacular birds and animals accessible for everyone to see.

Volunteers at the viewpoint will be providing weekly updates on a special National Park Authority website at www.malhamperegrines.org.uk and the birds are featured on Twitter using @malhamperegrine and on the RSPB’s Facebook pages - RSPB North Yorks & East Riding.

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