North York Moors National Park
The heather moorland of this wonderful National Park is an exhilarating place in springtime. Red Grouse make their choking calls and the red ‘combs’ over the eyes of the males can be seen from afar. Golden Plover calls mix with the bubbling songs of Curlews and the ‘drumming’ of Snipe, while Lapwings twist and dive in their display flights. Handsome Ring Ouzels, usually shy and difficult to see, sit up in trees to sing. Cuckoo, Whinchat and Stonechat are also commonly seen and the Merlin, Britain’s smallest raptor, also breeds here. Adders and Common Lizards can be seen throughout spring and summer. Emperor and Wood Tiger moths fly by day in summer and stunning Dotterel can occasionally be seen on migration. In July and August the different species of heather - Bell Heather, Cross-leaved Heath and Ling - come into flower, turning the moorland into an expanse of breathtaking purple.
In the moister areas June is the month to look for Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies; Golden-ringed Dragonfly, one of our largest and most impressive ‘dragons’, is present throughout the summer and Keeled Skimmer into early autumn. The fens and bogs boast unusual plants such as Butterwort, Round-leaved Sundew, Bog Myrtle, Chickweed Wintergreen and Fairy Flax.
The National Park extends to the coast, where Peregrine Falcons patrol the cliffs. Grey and Common Seals, Harbour Porpoises and pods of Bottle-nosed and White-beaked Dolphins are regularly sighted, especially in summer, along with Minke Whales. Early autumn brings the chance of spotting a larger whale such as Humpback, Sei or Fin.