AN injured mother Roe Deer and her two young fawns at Malham Tarn were stunningly filmed in the first of a new television series on the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.
There were also dippers, curlews, grey wagtails and fittingly, a nest of ravens, seeing as the narrator of Yorkshire - a Year in the Wild, currently being shown on Channel Five, is Sean Bean, Ned Stark in Game of Thrones.
The ravens, jammed into a nest near Ingleborough, managed to survive a harsh spring. The largest of the crow family, with a wing span of four feet when mature, and about the same size as a buzzard, their parents, Bean suggested, may even feed them on dead crow - a victim of last Spring’s harsh weather.
Wildlife officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Ian Court, helped with some of the filming of the four part series, which follows the Dales and the Moors over the four seasons, and says he has so far been very impressed. He helped film makers in their location of the ravens, the nesting sites of which are kept low key, as they are sensitive to over inquisitive sight-seers. Ravens, says Ian, are said to be the most intelligent of the crow family, and at this time of the year, will already be bringing up their young. They are, he says, carrion eaters, taking among other things, dead rabbit.
Although he had nothing to do with the locating of the Roe Deer, Malham Tarn being part of the National Trust, the deer are present in other parts of the park, although they do tend to keep to wooded areas. And for anyone over concerned about the future of the young deer and their susceptibility to predators, Ian says fox will take the newborn deer, but only when they are very young. Once they reach the age of the deer in the film, they are are unlikely to fall victim of a passing fox. “It is only when they are very small, or weak and injured, not when they reach the size they were in the film,” he said.
Peregrine Falcons were also filmed for the series, at Malham Cove, and this weekend, the national park, in conjunction with the RSPB will be setting up its viewing area, from where people can safely watch and photograph the birds of prey. Peregrine Falcons - a large, agile and extremely fast bird - have nested at Malham Cove since 1993, and are always a popular sight for visitors to the park. Last year, a young Peregrine Falcon was found, shot dead near Appletreewick. It is not clear whether it was one from Malham Cove however, as the immature birds will fly a considerable distance.
Another bird of prey which ought to be a sight in the national park is the Hen Harrier, but due to persecution, is very rare. Ian, a wildlife officer in the Dales for more than 16 years, says there were once sightings and the habitat is suitable for them, but they are now very few and far between. Once again this year, the RSPB has launched its Hen Harrier Hotline for anyone lucky enough to spot one of the birds of prey to contact.
A pair of adders were memorably recorded mating in the film, but for anyone thinking they may spot one in the Dales, they are a very rare sight, with only a couple of reported sightings in the last 16 years. Red Squirrel, although rarely seen in Craven, are in parts of North Wharfedale, but a lack of footpaths in the area means they will not be seen by the general public. A still familiar sight, meanwhile in the Dales, but facing problems elsewhere are curlews and lapwings.
Dippers - a bird often seen in rivers in the Dales - were filmed underwater, ‘dipping’ for food, while there was some wonderful footage of grey wagtails hovering over the water.
National park chairman, Carl Lis, said he was delighted with the film, which he believed perfectly demonstrated the aims and aspirations of the park authority.
“There was some fantastic filming, the programme gave a wonderful picture of Yorkshire in general, and what the Dales are. It was fantastic to watch, and good to see what wildlife there is in our country,” he said.
So, with the Yorkshire Dales National Park voted the nation’s favourite park in BBC’s Countryfile awards, Yorkshire: A year in the Wild, is sure to bring even more visitors to the area.
l Yorkshire: A Year in the Wild goes out on Tuesdays at 9pm on Channel Five.