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Peregrine chicks steal the show at Dove Stone

Last modified: 27 June 2013

Female peregrine at nest feeding chicks

Image: Chris Gomersall

Congratulations are in order for Dove Stone’s pair of resident peregrines, who after two unsuccessful breeding attempts, have at last produced a beautiful, fluffy brood of three.

The chicks hatched among the crags at Ashway Gap in late May and staff at Dove Stone are now anxiously waiting for the young trio to take their first flight.

Ashway Gap, with its secluded rocky outcrops, has provided an ideal home for generations of peregrines over the last 15 years. To enable visitors to Dove Stone to see the peregrines up close, the RSPB has set up a special Date with Nature stand at Ashway Gap picnic area, where people can use powerful telescopes and binoculars to watch these impressive birds of prey.

Staff and volunteers will also be on hand to provide information about the peregrines, as well as other wildlife and the conservation work being carried out in partnership with United Utilities to give nature a home at Dove Stone.

Date with Nature Assistant Mandy Hodkinson said: “Peregrines always provide a ‘wow’ factor – not only are they amazing to look at, they’re the fastest birds on the planet and can reach speeds over 200 miles per hour during their stoop, when they dive earthwards for airborne prey.

“The chicks will be ready to fledge very soon and we are waiting with baited breath to see this happen. If you’re visiting Dove Stone, you might be lucky enough to catch their first flight.”

The Date with Nature, which is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, runs from Thursday to Sunday from around 12–3 pm, through to the end of September – weather and staff / volunteers permitting.  In addition to watching the peregrines, families can also take part in a number of activities most weekends.

As summer progresses, visitors can watch out for the colourful butterflies and bees which are attracted to the wildflowers, growing in areas fenced off from the sheep.

Dove Stone reservoir is owned by United Utilities and the water company works in partnership with the RSPB, who manage the estate.  The partnership aims to encourage public access and recreation, while protecting water quality and wildlife for future generations. 

How you can help

Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.

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