Peregrines at Malham Coveby Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com Apr/2012
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Peregrine falcons are nesting at Malham Cove this spring, for the 19th year in a row. Temporary access restrictions have been imposed around the nest site for walkers and climbers. Meanwhile, if you're a twitcher you'll love the free telescopes at the viewpoint.
As in previous years, visitors to Malham are being asked to stay away from the nest site and the BMC has once again agreed to publicise temporary rock climbing restrictions in the vicinity.
'The restrictions are in effect just on the right hand side of the Left Wing from Hangover rightwards and including all of the Caveat Wall' says the BMC's local access rep Dave Musgrove.
'The routes on Terrace Wall are unaffected but at some stage the National Park will put signs and a barrier across the top of the gap leading down on to the terrace to discourage tourists congregating on the ledge near to the nest. Climbers should be able to access the Terrace Wall routes from here on condition they don't linger near the central gap. But do try to avoid accessing the central ledge at peak tourist times of the day to avoid encouraging sight-seers to follow.'
'It would probably be sensible to speak to the RSPB watchpoint volunteers to inform them of your plans before accessing Terrace Wall this way.'
Walkers should bear in mind that an area at the top of the cliff, which is Open Access land, has also been sealed off.
Bird enthusiasts might note that the RSPB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) have teamed up for the 10th year running to provide high-powered telescopes so visitors can watch these amazing birds as they spend the summer in the Cove. Their free 'peregrine watch' viewpoint will be open from Saturday April 7 until July 31, and will be manned (on and off) by RSPB and YDNPA staff and volunteers.
This year could see the total number of visitors to have used the viewpoint top 170,000 according to Ian Court, the YDNPA's Wildlife Conservation Officer:
'In the 10 years we have run the peregrine watch site, more than 150,000 people have come to see the birds and we are hoping – if we get good weather this summer – for another successful season.'
'The peregrines are fantastic birds to watch, especially when you think that they are the fastest animals in the world and they have been recorded at speeds over 200 miles an hour – roughly three times as fast as a cheetah.'
Carolyn Jarvis, the RSPB's People Engagement Manager for Northern England, said:
'Last year the peregrines raised three chicks and we are hoping they will keep up the good work in the coming months.'
'Seeing them play out their lives – hopefully with some new arrivals later in the year – against the incredible backdrop of the Cove is a real treat.'
Peregrines started nesting at the Cove 19 years ago and since then they have raised 40 young. Nationwide their numbers crashed in the 1960s due to the impact of pesticides, but they have now recovered to about 1300 breeding pairs in the UK.
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 accessible for everyone to see. More information about the Malham Peregrines can be found on the National Park's website
For a full list of bird-nesting climbing restrictions in England and Wales see the BMC website