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Saturday, 26 March 2016

Great expectations! Peregrine chicks could be on the way

Peregrine falcons have taken up residence in Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales national park for a new season – and some chicks are expected to be on their way.

Staff and volunteers from the RSPB and the national park authority are setting up a viewpoint at the foot of the cove where visitors can watch the spectacular birds through high-powered telescopes

National park wildlife conservation officer Ian Court said: “The wet weather last spring meant it was a very poor year for peregrines in many areas, but the Malham pair did us proud by raising three young. We hope that it will be another successful year for the birds and all the visitors that we are looking forward to welcoming this year”.

Jon Carter, of the RSPB, said: “It’s brilliant to be able to offer visitors to Malham Cove the chance to see the peregrines up close, as they are such incredible birds to watch.

“Once again, we are hoping plenty of people will visit the viewpoint during the Easter weekend and throughout the season as it really is a great opportunity to discover more about these fascinating birds of prey.”

As in previous years, people 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 218,900 people have visited the viewpoint, which will be open from 10.30am to 4.30pm Saturdays to Wednesdays inclusive depending on weather from today (Saturday 26 March) until 31 July.

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.

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