BIRD watchers in the Yorkshire Dales are celebrating news that a pair of peregrine falcons has hatched two chicks at the popular Malham Cove beauty spot.
Delight at Malham chicks
A pair of the world's fastest flying bird are nesting in a cave high up on the limestone cliff at the awesome Cove - and their every move is being watched by thousands of visitors who are flocking to Malham to catch a glimpse of the spectacular birds of prey at a vantage point set up by the RSPB and the National Park Authority.
The two chicks made their public debut last Friday, when they were seen at the mouth of the cave for the first time. The chicks are at least two weeks old and the falcon watch team have named them 'Clint' and 'Gryke', after the limestone blocks and fissures of the Malhamdale landscape.
With a perfect sense of dramatic timing, the two chicks made their first appearance just as BBC's Countryfile Summer Diary were filming the Falcon Watch project on Friday afternoon. They will feature in the series to be broadcast later in the summer, and Countryfile presenter, Adam Henson, was one of the first people to see the chicks.
As they get older they will start venturing out of the nest and learning to fly so there will hopefully be plenty of opportunities for people to see them
Ian Court - YDNPA Wildlife Conservation Officer
Ian Court, YDNPA Wildlife Conservation Officer, said: "This is excellent news, particularly as there were no chicks hatched at Malham last year. As they get older they will start venturing out of the nest and learning to fly so there will hopefully be plenty of opportunities for people to see them."
Dave Freer of the RSPB's Falcon Watch team, added: "We're thrilled to have had our first glimpse of 'Clint' and 'Gryke' and to know that both chicks are doing well. The Falcon Watch is proving very popular with visitors and there is lots of interest in the nesting peregrines among people of all ages.
"Peregrines are spectacular birds that live life on the ledge, and there are sure to be lots of twists and turns in this particular animal drama in the coming weeks."
To see the peregrines - listed in Guinness World Records as the world's fastest animal with a flight speed of up to 217 mph - visitors can just go along to the viewpoint at the foot of Malham Cove any time daily from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm and it's all free.
My sister and I went along to the Cove and watched the Peregrines - it was a wonderful sight, and as a bonus there was a big tawny owl on view in one of the trees.
The volunteers were really welcoming and friendly and were patiently pointing out the nest and the chicks to everyone who turned up.
Well done to Clint and Gryke - but I would also like to thank the people who have looked out for them all year and are now taking the time and trouble to help the rest of us to see them.
Marion Armstrong - Settle