Newsletter: June 2018


Train Weekend 21st & 22nd July

Just a quick reminder that the next train weekend is just a few weeks away. Remember to check the GCR’s website for details and booking information. Further details are also available on our website.

Brake Van

Brake Van with letteringExcellent progress has been made with the restoration work. All the bodywork cladding has been fitted and painted, new veranda flooring installed, and replacement running boards fitted. External metal furniture has been restored and refitted.

Mechanically a set of four new springs have been installed and replacement axle box oil pads sourced from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Canvas sheeting has been kindly donated to enable the roof to be recovered as per the original, and we are currently looking to have replica axle box covers made locally.

Internally the storage box is still to be reinstated and perspex window glazing replaced.

Nunckley’s Nature News

“Wow – what’s the expression – “flaming June?”. Well it’s certainly lived up to the saying this year.

From the cold, wet and windy start to Spring, to red hot, dry, Sahara-like heat – it’s certainly been a challenging time for our Eco volunteers.

Through the end of May and into June, the Red Campions all around the Nunckley Trail have been spectacular with their pink flowers in abundance. In late June the showstopper became the explosion of Oxeye Daisies, masses of which border the path leading all the way down into the quarry bottom.

Oxeye Daisy banner

Earlier, Great Tits and Blue Tits were frantically nest building. Around the trails, visitors have enjoyed hearing the ‘piping’ of young chicks everywhere as they called for food. Over a dozen nest boxes have been used and chicks fledged. A good number for a small area as every pair has its own territory. At the bird feeding area next to the woodland picnic area, we have continued to feed the birds with sunflower hearts and mixed seed and some suet. Supplementary feeding is still important, especially in Spring when wildflower seed around field margins has been depleted. We do not feed whole peanuts during this period. Whole peanuts can be fatal to young nestlings. However, they are a great source of energy and we will resume feeding peanuts during the Winter months.

Woodpeckers, both Green and Great Spotted, and Nuthatches have been heard calling throughout June. Pairs have been spotted regularly indicating nesting activity nearby. The two syllable call of the Chiffchaffs and melodious tones of Blackcaps which arrived in April, can still be heard around the site. Our regulars eg the Blackbirds, Robins , Woodpigeons, Wrens, Pheasants, Jackdaws, Dunnocks and Goldfinches are always with us (look out for Goldfinches feeding on Thistle seed-heads alongside the quarry road). A pair of Ravens now appears to have become a Nunckley feature. Their call – more like a “honk” – is unmistakable.

The last 6 weeks have been almost rain-free. Like most of the country, the ground is rock hard. Nunckley wildflowers are struggling so we are concentrating on watering the plants and seeds sown this year. Let’s hope we have rain soon. Meanwhile, volunteers continue to care for the site’s wildlife and a walk around the site remains a joy. In full flower for the first time at Nunckley, we have a gorgeous deep blue wildflower, the Viper’s Bugloss (a magnet for several varieties of Bumble Bee). Look out for the two large specimens at both ends of the Stonemasons’ huts.

Last but not least, the annual Big Butterfly Count is taking place from 20 July – 12 August. Our Eco team will be busy counting at Nunckley. If you would like to join in at home then check out our Big Butterfly Count page. Nationwide, our butterflies and moths are disappearing at an alarming rate. At Nunckley, we constantly try to provide both butterflies and moths (and bees of course) with the wildflowers they need to feed and breed. As Sir David says “The Big Butterfly Count is about more than just counting butterflies – we’ll be taking the pulse of nature.”

During July, look out for the Small Tortoiseshells, handsome Red Admirals, Large and Small Whites, russet coloured Commas with their jagged wing shapes, bright showy Peacocks, dark brown Ringlets and the soft brown colours of the Meadow Browns on the butterfly walk just alongside the patio and around the Trails. The Speckled Wood butterflies prefer the dappled shade of the woodland walks. Many brilliant blue damselflies and the first of our dragonflies have been spotted too – so happy hunting!”