[S]taff and volunteers running a special peregrine falcon viewpoint at Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales National Park are eagerly waiting for their first sighting of some new arrivals.
The viewpoint team from the RSPB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) know the falcons have some chicks but, so far, the youngsters have not put in an appearance.
National Park Authority Wildlife Conservation Officer Ian Court said: “The peregrines have done a fantastic job of incubating the eggs throughout the recent cold, wintry weather.
“We have been watching them carefully and we’ve seen the adults taking food into the nest. That tells us they have chicks but we don’t know how many as it isn’t possible to see into the nest.
“We are looking forward to seeing an increase in activity from the adult birds over the coming weeks as they provide food for their rapidly growing young.”
Visitors to the Cove can watch the spectacular birds through high-powered telescopes at the free viewpoint at the foot of the rock face.
Jon Carter, RSPB Face to Face Area Manager, said: “The recent bad weather has made life very challenging for the peregrines so it’s a big relief and great news that they’ve successfully incubated the eggs and now have chicks.
“There’s going to be lots of peregrine action at the site over the coming weeks so I’d definitely recommend a visit to anyone who enjoys watching these magnificent 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 (weather permitting) until July 31.
As well as the peregrines, the viewpoint offers an excellent opportunity to see some of the other wildlife found in the Cove including green woodpeckers, house martins, redstarts and spotted flycatchers.
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.yorkshiredales.org.uk/peregrines and the birds are featured on Twitter using @malhamperegrine and on the RSPB’s Facebook pages.