NMARG
North Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group

About Us

NMARG was formed in 2005 and is a group of about 30 members who are mostly involved with the conservation and monitoring of the reptiles and amphibians found in the area, especially the rarest two species, the Sand Lizard and the Natterjack Toad. During the Winter months, we undertake habitat management work, in partnership with other ARG groups and the Sefton Coast and Countryside Ranger Service. In the Spring and Summer months we spend a large amount of time recording and monitoring the rarer species.

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 mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk
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09/02/12

News

Amphibian and Reptile Training 2016

Written on Thursday 5th May, 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.


Training days

Written on Monday 11th April, 2016

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

Written on Tuesday 29th March, 2016
NMARG has completed a total of five habitat management tasks on the Sefton Coast during the Winter of 2015-16. These mainly involved the removal of invasive Sea Buckthorn, especially regrowth in areas previously cleared. Although it will be necessary to go over many of these areas again next Winter, the start of the Spring bird-nesting season means that we can no longer do this work and will now turn our attention to renovating sand patches, in order to provide suitable places for Sand Lizards to lay their eggs in Summer. There will be several tasks involving this kind of work during the period mid-April to the end of May, and they will be advertised on the Events page in due course.

Scrub control on the Sefton Coast, 24/01/2015

Written on Sunday 24th January, 2016
For our second scrub control session in the Ainsdale dunes, six of NMARG's members were joined by a team of eight from Sir John Moores University's Conservation Society. We managed to clear quite a large area of sea Buckthorn suckers and regrowth in, and adjacent to, one of the largest slacks in the Ainsdale LNR, as well as completing the area cleared in the previous task. This will greatly improve the habitat for foraging Natterjacks, as well as sand Lizards on the adjacent slopes.

Habitat Management Winter 2015-16

Written on Sunday 6th December, 2015

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).


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Photo Gallery

North Merseyside ARG Gallery
Early breeding Natterjacks
This pair of Natterjacks were spawning on April 3rd 2016, an early...

Sea Buckthorn Clearance, Ainsdale
Clearing Sea Buckthorn suckers and regrowth, January, 2016

Recently excavated Natterjack 'Scrape'
One of the new pools excavated by machine, organised by Sefton...

Sea Buckthorn invasion
This plant is a massive threat to Sand Lizard and Natterjack Toad...

 
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Mike Brown (chair), 20, Pirrie Road, Liverpool, L9 6AB

 

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Latest News

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... read more >>