The group parked at Malham Tarn Quarry car park (SD882672), walked to Watersinks Car Park and then drove down to Malham to enjoy the bird life at the cove.
Turning right out of the car park and along the road for a few metres, there is on the left, the gate entrance to Pot Hole Lane. This delightful tree-lined path is where we started our day of bird observation. The mature trees provided a wonderful feeding ground for busy parents feeding noisy youngsters. Willow warblers collecting mouthfuls of insects and flying off to nests hidden in the shrubs of Tarn Moss. Great Tits with fledglings flitting along beside us. Blue Tits, Robins, and Wrens amongst the flowering hawthorn and swallows swooping over the buttercup-yellow meadows. Curlews and pheasants were in the fields and a rotten dead tree trunk was the home to a colony of jackdaws with squawking young popping in and out the holes. Black headed and common gulls swooped high above us in the blue sky.
Progress was slow as there was so much to hear and see and the setting and weather was idyllic. At the end of Pot Hole Lane we turned right towards Tarn House.
Stopping at the hide where Canada Geese, a pair of Great Grebes, Sand Martins, Mallards and Tufted Ducks provided us with our coffee stop entertainment. Sitting in the hide out of the righthand window is a nesting box on the nearest large tree trunk. Two days previously we had watched a male and female Redstart darting in and out of the box with beaks full of food. The group were lucky enough to see the Redstarts still in evidence in the woodland outside the hide. In the distance a buzzard circled overhead.
Following up the road to the Field Centre and towards the gate which opens out onto the edge of the tarn and the non-wooded expanse, we were lucky enough to spot Tree creeper, Nuthatch, and Blackcaps, to name but a few. Once out in the open, the Meadow Pipits and Skylarks came into view.


A real highlight was a pair of Yellow Wagtails appearing along the roadside on our way down to Malham, the Wheatears flitting over the stone walls and the Oystercatchers amongst the sheep.

Yellow Wagtail

A Swallow on her nest in the porch of the Visitor Centre was another delight.

Barn Swallow

At the cove we were treated to a sighting of the Peregrine, and as we lay on the grass in the shade of the trees some wonderful views of the Redstarts.


In all, 38 species were sighted.

Report: Stella Hughes

Photos: Ian Hughes