North Yorkshire wildlife watching

Yorkshire wildlife is varied and relatively easy to spot, if you know where to go. There are lots of excellent places in North Yorkshire you can visit to watch wildlife in its natural habitat.

We love nothing more than spending an afternoon wandering through our gorgeous countryside and coastline looking out for red squirrels, whales, peregrine falcons, puffins, dolphins, pine martens and many more incredible creatures.

red kite in North Yorkshire

Where to spot Yorkshire wildlife

Take a look at some of our favourite places to get close to nature and enjoy the creatures we share this beautiful part of the world with.

Red kites

You’ve got a very good chance of spotting red kites flying over the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. Visit as day is turning into night to see them swooping around in the dusk.

Wykeham Forest raptors

You can find some of the rarest wildlife in Wykeham Forest in the North York Moors. If you’re in the right place at the right time, you’ll be able spot goshawks, honey buzzards, ospreys passing through, and if you’re very lucky, turtle doves.

Whales and dolphins

If you visit the Yorkshire coast between June through to October and November, make sure you take to the sea. Dolphins and whales follow North Sea mackerel and herring south and you can catch boats to watch them from places like Staithes, Filey Brigg and Whitby.

humpback whale on the Yorkshire coast

Red squirrels

Deep in the Yorkshire Dales at Snaiseholme, the wooded valley is specifically protected to support wildlife. Here, you’ll be able to see the bright rusty coats of red squirrels as they make their way through the trees. You might even catch a glimpse of red deer too.

Common and Grey Seals

You’re able to spot seals all over the Yorkshire coast, but in June and July, common seal pups are found all over Ravenscar beach. You’ll also likely see grey seal pups there in November too! Please don’t disturb the nesting colonies when you go to see them and don’t bring dogs along as they scare the young seals.

Peregrine falcons at Malham Cove

Malham Cove is an incredible reminder of the ice age that shaped our landscape and is worth a visit at any time of year. However, if you come in the late summer, you’ll be able to spot adult peregrine falcons teaching their young to fly and hunt.

kingfisher on a branch


There are a few good spots to see kingfishers in North Yorkshire. One of the best spots to see them is on a delightful walk between Howsham Bridge and Kirkham Abbey. You’ll likely hear them before you see them, so listen out for their high-pitched call.


There’s something very special about spotting the very elusive otter. However, you’ve got very good chances of seeing these curious creatures in Tophill Low Reserve in Driffield.


You are guaranteed to see some incredible seabirds if you visit the chalk cliffs at Flamborough and Filey. From April to August, more than 400,000 birds flock to RSPB Bempton Cliffs. You’ll see gannets, puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills.

What Yorkshire wildlife have you spotted as you explore our gorgeous coastline and countryside? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.