06 June 2011

Photograping wild Peregrine Falcons in Yorkshire!

Yorkshire has some truly fantastic sites for wildlife photography, but perhaps none quite as exhilarating as Malham Cove during the breeding season. Last Friday saw me on top of the cove watching a pair of wild peregrines flying against the perfect deep blue sky. These kind of mornings are what gets the blood flowing... truly inspiring... a special wildlife spectacle, played out in a majestic landscape. Peregrines have nested on the cove for the last few years, and whilst they are protected near the nest by law, here it's possible to photograph them from the public footpath.

These flight shots have only had slight cropping - showing just how close the peregrines can be! All were shot with a 300mm lens and 1.4 converter. I always think that trying to use a tripod or monopod is just a waste of time... these birds are so fast that you really need to handhold to follow them effectively. Still, it's tough..! A peregrine can be on the other side of the valley one minute and then right above your head the next. These images were taken on ISO 400 at shutter speeds between 1/1250 and 1/2000 of a second. I slightly decreased the aperture for some to increase depth of field - which seemed to improve the image a little.

Watching these birds drop like a stone then rise steeply above the cove is an incredible experience. I had a number of chances as both birds performed against the crystal clear blue sky - lit by bright sun.

The conditions were just perfect, and I'm itching to get back before the young fledge. Last year I pretty much missed the whole thing, so I'm more than happy to have these shots in the bag..

Next year I am planning to run a workshop concentrating on the bird life of Malhamdale - to include the peregrines. If you're interested in this wildlife photography workshop then send me an email or give me a call. It's certainly one of the most exciting wildlife shoots you'll ever have!!


  1. WOW that looks amazing - and SO CLOSE too!! Never thought you could get this close to wild peregrines..!!

  2. Stunning shots Paul.

  3. Hello all,

    Really, you have created a nice site! The Peregrine Falcon has a body length of 34 to 58 centimetres and a wingspan of around 80 to 120 centimetres. The male and female have similar markings and plumage, but as in many birds of prey the Peregrine Falcon displays marked reverse sexual dimorphism in size, with the female measuring up to 30 percent larger than the male. Thanks a lot.....