NEW data on the North York Moors shows a flourishing raptor population on Grouse Moors for the third year running.

The data, published by the Moorland Association, showed that Spaunton Estate saw a total of 1,552 raptors in its annual count, double the number recorded in 2018.

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The most common species recorded was the Buzzard, which clocked up 726 sightings during the year.

The number of Kestrel was also high, with 103 sightings and tow nests on the estate, a species that are amber-listed as being a species of moderate conservative concern, with a declining population in the UK.

With 163 sightings, the Barn Owl was also populous, with 85 of Sparrowhawk, 84 of Peregrine and 75 of Goshawk.

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George Winn-Darley of Spaunton Estate, said: "It is another encouraging year for birds of prey here at Spaunton. Buzzards are doing particularly well and are a daily sight while up on the moors.

“The White-Tailed Eagle was unheard of even three years ago in the North York Moors. It is a hugely impressive bird and seeing one in flight is stunning.

“The number of Barn Owls is also a pleasant surprise - this species has made a huge recovery recently."

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