'Clint' and 'Gryke' - hatched at Malham Cove
Photo: Carl Watts/RSPB
VISITORS to Malham will again get the chance to follow the fortunes of the fastest animal on earth - the peregrine falcon - as the Yorkshire Dales beauty spot plays host to a nesting pair.
Last year around 28,500 people, including 3,500 school children flocked to Malham to watch the birds. The peregrines successfully raised two chicks, which were nicknamed 'Clint' and 'Gryke' after the limestone blocks and fissures of the Malhamdale landscape.
It is hoped that the birds will nest on the Cove again this year, and, from yesterday (2 April) a team of RSPB and National Park staff and volunteers will be on hand every day to show visitors the birds. They will be setting up high-powered telescopes so that visitors can watch the progress of the falcons through the season.
The project is part of the RSPB's Aren't Birds Brilliant! Programme of events, which make rare and spectacular birds accessible for everyone to see. As well as the peregrines, visitors to Malham can expect to see green woodpeckers, little owls, redstarts and cliff-nesting house martins.
Ian Court, the YDNPA's species officer, said: "Peregrines are always a real crowd pleaser and we are delighted to be providing this exciting facility in the Dales. The response from the public to last year's Peregrine Watch was fantastic and we hope lots of people will take the opportunity to see these spectacular birds in a stunning landscape. It really is worth a trip out.
"Malhamdale is a special place and peregrine falcons are special birds, so it's great that visitors to the area can now enjoy both by visiting the Dales Peregrine Watch at Malham Cove."
The peregrines provide a fantastic aerobatic display of speed and power
David Hirst - RSPB
David Hirst of the RSPB Northern England Region added: "The Red Arrows have got nothing on these amazing birds. The peregrines provide a fantastic aerobatic display of speed and power for visitors watching from the foot of the cliff. Peregrines are tremendously exciting birds and wherever these fabulous falcons nest there's always something dramatic happening. Lots of holidaymakers, walkers and school groups visit Malham Cove every year and they now have the opportunity to see some stunning birds as well as the sensational scenery.
"We are very grateful to the YDNPA for their help and enthusiasm for the peregrine watch, to the many volunteers who help out with the project and to the people of Malham village for their support."
To see the peregrines, just go along to the viewpoint at the foot of the Cove any day from now until 5 August. The Peregrine Watch team will be present daily from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm. The viewpoint is free, but there is a car park charge at Malham National Park Information Centre.
For more information, visit www.rspb.org.uk/brilliant