It’s that time of year when we’re all glued to our TV screens to enjoy the nightly nature soap opera of Springwatch.
Whatever the weather, there’s always plenty of feathered and furry characters to fall in love with over an action-packed three weeks. But did you know you can enjoy some of its wildlife stars right here in Yorkshire? Tom Marshall from the Yorkshire Nature Triangle tracks down some of our favourites.
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We’ve all been seeing red with the incredible antics of red kites – also the largest resident bird of prey to be found here in Yorkshire. Whilst nests like that on Springwatch are strictly for the birds, you can enjoy these majestic raptors as they patrol the skies above Harewood House near Leeds. Their distinctive forked tails manipulate the wind with ease, and the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Wolds are another great place to spot them amongst the big skies and rolling fields.
You otter believe it
It wouldn’t be Springwatch without seeking out the elusive otter. Fortunately, these secretive mammals are now firmly at home here in Yorkshire. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Staveley nature reserve near Knaresborough is a great place to try, along with Tophill Low near Driffield which has a dedicated otter-spotting hide! The viewing hide at Wassand Hall near Hornsea also has regular sightings along the reed-fringed shores of Hornsea Mere.
Have you seen the fastest animal in the world? Chances are you’re pretty close to one during your visit to Yorkshire. Peregrine falcons can out-pace a Formula 1 racing car in a dive, and now is a great time to watch the action. Their clifftop homes can be viewed with special projects run by the RSPB and others at Malham Cove and Scarborough Castle, whilst a visit to Bempton or Flamborough Cliffs may be rewarded too.
Only available in black and white
Badgers have been the stars of Springwatch since the very beginning, but few of us have ever seen one in the wild. Fortunately, Hidden Horizons based in North Yorkshire can remedy that with a chance to spot one in Dalby Forest in their specially constructed Woodland Wildlife Hide with the Forestry Commission. This after dark experience could find you face to face with a badger and some of their other nocturnal neighbours.
King of the river
With their dazzling colours that almost defy belief, few birds are as iconic as the kingfisher. Despite their vibrant attire however, these amazing anglers can be a challenge to track down. A little patience though will likely be rewarded in the Yorkshire Wolds at Tophill Low, or at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Adel Dam nature reserve near Leeds. Wetlands like the RSPB’s Old Moor Nature Reserve near Barnsley or YWT Potteric Carr at Doncaster also provide great opportunities and family-friendly facilities.
Springwatch is on BBC 2 – and now available on iPlayer.