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Featured Article: Wildlife in the Peak District
The Peak District offers an abundance of natural beauty, intriguing wildlife and attractions to take in. There’s all sorts of rare and common creatures to be seen, all dotted about this huge national park which covers a whopping 555 square miles of land. The following are just a few of the wildlife species which you can see in this awe-inspiring place of natural beauty.
Birds of Prey
Secretive, intimidating and rarely seen, there are a large amount of birds of prey to be seen in the Peak District including owls, buzzards and kestrels.
The elusive barn owl can be seen here hunting late at night though they are a rare sight as they hunt silently and like to keep a low profile. However, once glimpsed, their unmistakable shock of white feathers are an unforgettable sight.
On the other hand, their much smaller but more sociable cousin - the little owl - can be seen throughout the day. Though they are harder to spot because of their small stature and grey feathers, they generally hang around long enough for a photo opportunity so get your camera finger ready.
In addition to the birds of prey, there are a range of common birds to be found in the Peak District including the blackbird, robin, woodpecker, sparrow, starling and goldfinch.
There are also some unusual characters that you may not find in your back garden at home like the meadow pipit which looks similar to a thrush, but puts on a magnificent aerial display whilst performing its distinctive song.
The nuthatch is also another bird you may not spot straight away. It’s the size of a great tit and is also known for its acrobatics which involve hanging upside down from branches and on the side of trees.
Keep your eyes peeled for the unusually named Ring Ouzel as well it’s got a distinctive white ring around its neck and only visits the park from March to September. It can be found mainly in the rocky areas and is also part of the thrush family.
As with most UK countryside locations, the Peak District has its fair share of cattle, sheep, foxes and hares that can be spotted frequently.
One of the most distinctive creatures you may see roaming around are the Highland cattle which have a long shaggy coat and prominent horns. Their unusual coat is designed to protect them from the wet weather and harsh climate of some of the more mountainous areas of the Peak District. In addition to this unusual type of cattle, you’ll see plenty of farm cows grazing in fields.
Hares are also in abundance here but don’t mistake them for rabbits! These fast and mystical creatures can be found all over the Peak District, popping up in the gardens of the various cottages, and are a lot livelier in the spring time when it’s their mating season. Their huge ears and prominent eyes make them easy to distinguish from their much smaller rabbit counterparts.
If you can’t seem to spot any animals on your adventures exploring through the Peak District, there are a few sanctuaries which you can visit including the Chestnut Centre which is home to otters, wildcats and deer.
The Tropical Butterfly House has a wide selection of birds of prey and meerkcats in addition to the butterflies from which it takes its name. And for something a little different, the Twycross Zoo features primates, penguins, elephants and giraffes something you certainly won’t see roaming around the Peaks!