Some of our members are also involved with the highly successful Sand Lizard Captive Breeding and Release Programme coordinated by Amphibian & Reptile Conservation. Our group helps with the releases of the hatchlings at various sites in Merseyside and North and West Wales and also helps to subsequently monitor their success.
Anyone wishing to get involved, seeking advice or supplying records is very welcome. Please contact Mike Brown at email@example.com
Amphibian and Reptile Training 2016
The third part of the amphibian and reptile survey training, a joint venture between the Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Biodiverse Society Project and NMARG, took place on Saturday, April 30th, with two sessions, one in the morning near Liverpool and the other in the evening in the Sefton Coast Dunes.
During the first session we placed some refugia in locations which looked good for reptiles and also investigated a suitable looking pond for amphibians. Back on the Sefton Coast in the evening, we netted some pools in the dune slacks for newts and found a Natterjack Toad under an item of refugia. However, the best was reserved for a later torchlight survey, when we were surrounded by the resonant calls of the Natterjacks, finding several individuals and also an amazing number of Great Crested Newts, literally under our feet, as well as Smooth Newts and Common Toads.
NMARG and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Biodiverse Society Project jointly organised a training day for their members and volunteer surveyors of the local herpetofauna on April 3rd. This included a practical session out in the Sefton dunes, when we managed to find a very early pair of breeding Natterjacks (see picture above), as well as several Great Crested Newts, Smooth Newts and Common Lizards.
This training is to be continued on April 16th, when we have another classroom session, followed by another session in the field, looking for lizards.
Scrub Control, Sefton Coast, Winter 2015-16
Scrub control on the Sefton Coast, 24/01/2015
Habitat Management Winter 2015-16
NMARG is arranging a series of volunteer habitat management tasks during the Winter of 2015-16 on the Sefton Coast sand dunes. The aim of these tasks will be to improve the habitat for Sand Lizards and Natterjack Toads by clearing invasive scrub and trees, which will otherwise shade out basking areas for the lizards and invade the very short vegetation required by hunting Natterjacks. This scrub and tree control will also benefit many other rare wildlife and plants on the Sefton Coast.
The biggest problem is the Sea Buckthorn, a very spiky shrub which is not part of the native flora of the Sefton Coast, but has established itself quite widely across the more fixed dunes and can spread very rapidly, if not controlled and, ideally, eradicated. Although ARG volunteers, together with the Sefton Coast Ranger Service and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, have tackled some quite extensive areas of Sea Buckthorn and other scrub and trees on the Sefton Coast during the past few Winters, there is always some regrowth, suckers and new seedlings to contend with. The aim of many of the tasks this Winter will be to return to the areas which have been cleared previously and remove all the regrowth. Its rather like gardening on a larger scale really - always a lot of unwanted vegetation growth which needs regular visits to try and keep under control.
For the first task, on Sunday, December 20th, we tackled patches of Sea Buckthorn growing close to the recently excavated Natterjack pools, attempting to remove the regrowth there before it becomes too prolific again. Subsequent tasks will take place at regular intervals at various locations on the Sefton Coast during the remainder of the Winter (see 'Events' section for details).
Record your Sightings
Mike Brown (chair), 20, Pirrie Road, Liverpool, L9 6AB
We'll announce our events here...