Welcome to Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group we cover the whole of Derbyshire including part of the Peak District National Park.
Our group aims to promote the study and conservation of the amphibians and reptiles of Derbyshire and their habitats. We achieve this by:
We hope our website will help you to find the information you are looking for, but if you still have a query, please contact us and we will do our best to help.
Derbyshire ARG always welcome new members to the group, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to join. There is currently no membership subscription required, though that is reviewed at every AGM..
We are very grateful for any records of amphibians and reptiles in your local area that you can pass to us as it helps in mapping the distribution of species and protecting their known habitats. Either contact us directly or use the Record a sighting tab on this website.
The group is run by a committee which is elected at the AGM each year. For 2017 - 2018 the committee elected at the AGM on 4th March 2017 are:
Chair - Christian Murray-Leslie, Vice Chair - Kelvin Lawrence, Secretary - Chris Monk, Treasurer - Jayne Thompson
Committee members - Bev Bowman, Richard Fenn Griffin, Lisa Lawrence, Matt Liston, Iaian Stafford, Trevor Taylor
See our last newsletter here 2016_Autumn-Winter.pdf
The Group ran a series of pond surveys this spring to monitor amphibians, particularly great crested newts but also palmate and smooth newts, in ponds in the White Peak area of the Peak District National Park. These involved 9 ponds on 3 different nature reserves belonging to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to add to their species monitoring data. Also we visited 6 ponds on two different farm holdings at the request of their owners and the Peak District National Park Authority farm advisers. In addition for the second year running we visited the pond near Hartington which had been randomly selected by Freshwater Habitats Trust for their PondNet great crested eDNA survey. The surveys were also advertised to people who had been on our great crested newt training courses so that they could gain more field experience in bottle trapping, torchlight surveys and eDNA water sampling.
Derbyshire ARG has been working with the Moors for the Future project to launch their Scales and Warts survey http://www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk/community-science/scales-and-warts the latest in their HLF funded Community Science surveys for the public. The launch was held at Hathersage on Thursday 6th April and 86 people attended to hear talks by Sarah Proctor, Community Science Project Manager for Moors for the Future, Kim Strawbridge from the Eastern Moors Partnership and Chris Monk from Derbyshire ARG. The survey joins existing surveys on bumblebees, butterflies, sphagnum & mosses, hares and others where people are asked to look out for just a few of the species that occur in the area. So far several hundred records have been received for the earlier surveys, the aim being to feed in data about species distribution that will be used to see how the ecosystems are coping and to determine how they will respond to climate change.
People can collect reply paid postcards to fill in and post back from Visitor Centres & other venues around the area, enter sightings via the surveys web form or download the free MOORWILD phone & tablet app available for both Apple & Android, links to download are on the MoorAPPS page where other apps for moss, plants and landscape are also available. Data about possible adder and common lizard distribution is particularly lacking from the northern & western Dark Peak and the South Pennines and it is hoped this survey will locate new sightings. The app and the web form also allow people to upload photos to aid in verification, which is particularly valuable for determining if a reported snake is an adder or a grass snake as these are often mis-identified.
Due to unforeseen circumstances our speaker for the spring meeting had to cancel so prior to the AGM the secretary updated the members on the October 2016 Vanishing Viper adder conference and also on the Natural England GCN District Level Licensing Project that was the subject of a presentation at the 2017 Herpetofauna Workers Meeting in February at Nottingham.
It is hoped to reschedule the grass snake and adder research talk to later in the year.
Our Spring meeting on Saturday 4th March starting at 2pm will feature a talk by Kevin Palmer from Reaseheath College in Nantwich on the research activity that has been taking place at the College, including work with both adders and grass snakes. The meeting is free & open to anyone and will also cover Natural England's proposals on District Level Licensing for great crested newt, followed by a brief AGM for Derbyshire ARG members.
The meeting is being held in the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Whistlestop Centre at Matlock Bath Railway Station just off the A6 road. There is a large pay & display car park at the station.
The Freshwater Habitats Trust have sent out the results from the analysis for great crested newt eDNA of their Pond Net samples earlier this year. Members of Derbyshire ARG had a field trip to a pond near Pilsbury in the Peak National Park which was the square allocated to us in the PondNet survey. A previous visit by FHT in 2015 was apparently negative for GCN eDNA but our sample from May 2016 has come back as positive for the presence of great crested newts.\r
Two other ponds near Hartington where we went on to take further eDNA samples for analysis by ADAS (and paid for by Derbyshire ARG) had already come back as positive for great crested newts. The farmer who owns one of the ponds would like us to survey all his 4 ponds in 2017 so it is planned to organise surveys there and at another farm near Pikehall next spring.
Once again Derbyshire ARG is intending to have a stand at this popular weekend show organised by the County Council's Countryside Service at the wonderful Elvaston Castle Country Park just outside Derby. Come along and visit us, tell us about your sightings of amphibians and reptiles, learn more about them, colour in the ARGUK colouring sheets (for children of all ages). Entry free but car parking charge applies. Open from 10am to 4pm both days