North Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group

About Us

NMARG was formed in 2005 and is a group of about 60 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 Merseyside Race Sand Lizard and the Natterjack Toad.

During the Winter months, we undertake habitat management work, in partnership with other ARG groups and the Sefton Council Coast and Countryside Ranger Service. This vital work involves the clearance of unwanted scrub and trees, especially Sea Buckthorn, a highly invasive alien shrub on the Sefton Coast, which would otherwise shade out the precious Sand Lizard and Natterjack habitat. In the Spring, NMARG members also help to create and maintain the patches of bare sand essential for Sand Lizard egg laying.

During the Spring and Summer months we spend a large amount of time recording and monitoring the local reptile and amphibian species, especially the rarer species. NMARG's EPS licensed members also provide training in reptile and amphibian surveying.

Some of our members are also involved with the highly successful Sand Lizard Captive Breeding and Release Programme coordinated by the Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust, which aims to establish new Sand Lizard colonies, often at sites where they historically occured.

Anyone wishing to get involved, seeking advice or supplying records are very welcome. Please contact Mike Brown at mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk



Habitat management task, Sunday December 11th, 2016

Written on Tuesday 13th December, 2016
NMARG's first habitat management task of the Winter, 2016-17 was attended by 10 volunteers, when we successfully cleared scrub and small trees from an important fixed dune Sand Lizard site on the Sefton Coast, in conjunction with the Sefton Coast and Countryside Ranger Service. Some of the scrub removed was regrowth and suckers, but it is essential to keep on top of it, in order to prevent the scrub from re-invading cleared sites. The work will be continued during subsequent tasks this Winter.

NMARG stand at LWT Volunteer Conference

Written on Saturday 8th October, 2016
We were again invited to set up a small stand at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Volunteer Conference at UCLAN, Preston, on Saturday, October 1st (see photo), and this attracted a good deal of interest from  the volunteers attending the conference.

Sand Lizard hatchlings 2016

Written on Saturday 8th October, 2016
Sand Lizard hatchlings have been sighted in the last few weeks at several fixed dune sites where sand patch creation/renovation has been undertaken on the Sefton Coast, proof that our work is paying dividends, despite the wet Summer not being ideal. 

Wet summer has its benefits!

Written on Friday 15th July, 2016
The extremely wet weather of early Summer 2016 has its benefits - the heavy rainfall has ensured that sufficient water has remained in most of the Natterjack breeding pools to enable successful metamorphosis for hundreds of toadlets, which are currently emerging from the pools. This looks like being the best breeding season for Natterjacks for a number of years.

Amphibian Survey Training 2016 continued

Written on Sunday 26th June, 2016

NMARG and the LWT Biodiverse Society Project members paid another visit to the extensive dune slacks of the Sefton Coast on the warm, sunny evening of June 24th and were rewarded with the capture, by netting, of numerous Great Crested Newt larvae, including some very well grown ones. We were able to temporarily place them in trays of water and compare these with their surprisingly less numerous smaller cousins, the Smooth Newt larvae, before releasing them back into their pools.

We then moved onto the frontal dunes, where we found numerous tiny freshly metamorphosed Natterjack toadlets at one particular pool, excavated during the 2012-13 winter. Great care was needed with the placing of our feet!

As always, the survey training was undertaken by GCN and Natterjack EPS licence holders.

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Sat 28 January 2017 - Sun 29 January 2017

Habitat management for Sand Lizards and Natterjacks

This will be our third habitat management task of the Winter on the Sefton Coast, when we will again be helping to control invasive scrub (especially Sea Buckthorn) and trees, which are shading out the open habitats needed by the very rare Merseyside Sand Lizards and Natterjack Toads. For further details, please contact Mike Brown, on mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk


Sat 11 February 2017 - Sun 12 February 2017

Herpetofauna Workers Meeting 2017

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) and Amphibian and Reptile Groups of UK (ARG UK), are delighted to be able to announce the 2017 Herpetofauna Workers’ Meeting, which is to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in central Nottingham on 11-12 February 2017.

Running annually for over 27 years, this popular two-day event occupies the centre stage of the herpetological calendar. Once again, a full and varied programme of presentations and workshops is on offer, with plenty of opportunities to network with the speakers and other delegates. The meeting attracts a diverse audience representing: conservation organisations, ecological consultants, statutory bodies, land managers, academic institutions and students, and enthusiastic volunteers.

In 2017, the meeting will cover a range of topics including: the importance of the new chytrid species, B.sal, for our native amphibians; showcasing a range of novel approaches to reptile mitigation; restoring overgrown farmland ponds; updates from the national statutory agencies; conservation priorities for Adders; using SUDS to help toads; the RAVON approach to monitoring for widespread species in the Netherlands; integrated approaches to Great Crested Newt monitoring, including the use of genetic techniques to understand population dynamics; Aesculapian Snakes; and some interesting examples of how citizen science can support amphibian and reptile conservation, from Cornwall and Scotland.

There is also a strong workshop programme, and topics will include: eDNA surveys for Great Crested Newts; developing a new national widespread species recording scheme; practical tips for restoring overgrown ponds; EPS licensing updates; and developing guidelines for guided public reptile walks. Something for everyone!

  pdf (138 KB) Download the programme here

BOOKINGS ARE NOW OPEN - Please go to the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation website to book your place and select your workshops. There is a reduction in price for ARG members.

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Mike Brown (chair).




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Habitat management task, Sunday December 11th, 2016: NMARG's first habitat management task of the Winter, 2016-17 was attended by 10 volunteers, when we successfully cleared scrub and small trees from an important fixed dune Sand Lizard site on the Sefton Coast, in conjunction with the Sefton Coast and Countryside Ranger Service. Some of the scrub removed was... read more >>