Twice in the last week I’ve been in the company of that noisy and busy bird the peewit, or lapwing as it is more commonly known outside the dales. I trundled over part of Mastiles Lane one day, the bit above Malham Tarn which heads down towards Kilnsey. By the site of the former Roman fort a pair of peewits fussed around and made a real racket, dipping in and out of the tussocky grasses. Maybe they were warning me off their nesting site or perhaps it was the docile highland cattle now grazing on that stretch of land who they were trying to ward off. A couple of days later I drove over that superb road from Kettlewell in Wharfedale to Coverdale. Stopping to take in the amazing long-distance views I sat quietly… well, I was quiet anyway. Two pairs of peewits circled, landed, circled and landed, all the while screaming like fishwives. The RSPB say that lapwing numbers have declined dramatically over the last 30 years, probably due to changing farming practices. Thankfully at least two parts of our wonderful Dales are supplying the right conditions.

Photo: Chris Hopkins 

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