From Barcelona to Sedbusk in Upper Wensleydale came Paco Valera, a photographer who is "in love" with the Yorkshire Dales and its wading birds.

He is one of a number of artists to have collaborated on "Cry of the Curlew", the latest special exhibition at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

Paco Valera’s photography is shown alongside new work by experienced and highly regarded North Yorkshire artists including Judith Bromley, Hester Cox, Robert Nicholls and Sally Zaranko.

The exhibition, which opened formally last Thursday, February 15 during a "meet the artist" event, also features paintings of curlews by school children from the Craven area, an impressive taxidermy curlew on loan from the Foxglove Covert Nature Reserve in Catterick, and a 12-minute video featuring dairy farmers from Clapham describing their efforts to conserve the wading bird.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Paco Valera in front of his work at the ’Cry of the Curlew’ exhibition

"Cry of the Curlew" is timed to coincide with the return of curlews to their upland breeding grounds.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is an international stronghold for the endangered bird.

Paco Valera said: “When I met my wife Babs, the writer of the poems in the exhibition, the first thing we did was come to the Dales. I was in love with the Dales. That’s it. It was love at the first sight. And then the birds. Those were what attracted me. I’ve been here for nearly 25 years, coming very often [to Sedbusk]. So I need to give something back to this place.

“If we want to contribute to the curlews coming back each year, we need to collaborate. We try to gather here all of the artists. We are not competing. I encourage everybody to come here to see this spectacular exhibition.”

Sally Zaranko, from Whashton near Richmond, spent a year watching curlews with her daughter. She has produced linocuts, weaving and watercolour paintings. “My part has been to spend a year following curlews from the coast back to the moors and back to the coast again, looking at how they migrate and nest," she said. "They literally come back to same field and same partner.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Artists who have worked on ‘Cry of the Curlew’ gather around the bird taxidermy, from left, Sue

“When they come back from the coast they mark their territory through calling and display flights. The bubbling call is when they are kind of announcing, ‘This is me, I’m back’.

“Through my art I feel I have a social responsibility to draw people’s attention to birds, especially those that are endangered. I am so fortunate: I can hear the curlew every day when they are back. It’s one of those sounds that can’t be allowed to disappear. So if my art makes somebody go, ‘Oh so that’s a curlew, maybe I need to find out a little bit more’, then it might help keep them here for the next generations.”

Derek Twine, of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which runs the Dales Countryside Museum, said: “This is a brilliant exhibition. On the one hand it shows the threats to the curlew, which include many human behaviours. But on the other hand you’ve got the beauty of the bird, its gracefulness, and this gives us the incentive to do more to protect the curlew.”