A VIEWING point for a bird of prey nest has seen its visitor numbers reach the 200,000 mark since it opened in 2003.

The peregrine viewing scheme at Malham Cove, a partnership between the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the RSPB, has seen four chicks raised this season.

Visitors to Malham Cove are able to see a range of upland bird species but it is the nesting peregrine falcons that are the star attraction.

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Project staff and a dedicated group of volunteers have been on hand with telescopes in all weathers to showcase the spectacular birds of prey as they raise their chicks.

Authority Wildlife Conservation Officer Ian Court said: “It’s a huge achievement to reach this landmark figure and we are really pleased, especially as 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the creation of the National Park.

“The popularity of these birds has never waned. As well as first-time visitors, many people have made several visits to the cove during the season and come back year after year to keep track of their progress.

“And the figure includes more than 35,000 children who have stopped to see a peregrine – many for the first time.”

The viewpoint will be open from Saturday to Wednesday until Sunday, August 3 so visitors still have an opportunity to see the peregrines at the cove this season.

As well as the peregrines, green woodpeckers and great spotted woodpeckers are frequent visitors along with house martins, redstarts, swallows and little owls.

Volunteers at the viewpoint provide weekly updates at www.malhamperegrines.org.uk and the birds are featured on Twitter using @malhamperegrine and on the Malham Peregrine Watch Facebook page.