Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group
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About us

About Us

Welcome to CPARG - Cambridgeshire and Peterborough's local Amphibian and Reptile Group. ARGs are local, grassroots amphibian and reptile conservation groups spread out throughout the UK, usually organised by county. As a volunteer run group we get up to a whole range of activities – newt surveys, frogspawn counts, advice service, liaison with planning authorities and consultancies, data collection/collation, training, chytrid swabbing, talks and presentations. The opportunities are endless! Events are held on nature reserves and throughout the wider landscape, and while our focus is on Cambridgeshire there are good links between neighbouring ARGs with access to shared away-days, conferences and training available.

We are run by and for volunteers, and we'd like you to join. We're looking for members – people who might be interested in surveying, receiving training, attending talks, sharing their knowledge and experience, or getting involved in any way with amphibian and reptile conservation locally. We're also looking for new committee members to help with the running of the group, most importantly in organising and/or running events (surveys, training, talks, habitat management etc).

Map of some sites we work on:

Click Here

Membership Documents

Before you download and fill out your membership form, please read the ARG UK Generic Risk Assessment and ARG UK Lone Working Procedures. The membership fee is £5 and payment instructions can be found on the membership document below.

ARG UK Generic Risk Assessment - Click Here

ARG UK Lone Working Procedures - Click Here

CPARG Membership Form - Click Here

To find our about how CPARG is operated, please feel free to read the CPARG Constitution.

CPARG Constitution - Click Here

Social Networking

Facebook

Please join our Facebook for discussions with other members.

Twitter

Please follow us on Twitter for all of our latest updates.

Blog

Please follow our blog for updates on our events and activities!

News

News

Volunteers needed for the Big Spawn count!

Posted on Monday 14th March, 2016

It’s that time of year again – soon many garden ponds across the country will be bubbling with hundreds of croaking toads and frogs, and your help is needed to record all that spawn!

Amphibians are commonly found breeding in garden ponds, and data gathered by volunteers is vital in better understanding just how important gardens are for these species. Spawn counts can be used to estimate population sizes and species distributions, an important way of monitoring the status of our amphibians and identifying ways to better conserve them!

It’s really simple, all you have to do is fill in some basic information online; the size and depth of your pond, whether the pond has fish in it, and how much spawn (frog or toad) you can see!

 

Check out the Fresh Water Habitats website here for more details!


Cambridge toads are on the move!

Posted on Tuesday 8th March, 2016

As the evenings are very slowly getting warmer, toads have been awakening from their sleepy slumber and are now on the move! Their migration from hibernacula to natal spawning ponds can however be lengthy and pretty treacherous. Unfortunately many breeding ponds are now surrounded by an urban environment, making road crossing a necessary, but perilous task.

Toads on Roads and Toad Size are two projects aiming to alleviate and better understand the risk of roads on toad populations. Volunteers collect toads from road sides and help them safely reach their pond for breeding. The level of traffic flow and number of deceased individuals found is also recorded. The Toad Size project involves the measuring of male toads at these road sites to determine whether road mortality is influencing the age structure of populations. Preliminary results show the importance of frequent toad patrols for reducing mortality and enabling a more varied age structure, and the impact of crossing distance on toad size.  Further research is however needed from more sites across the country.

So we at CPARG have just begun Toad Patrol and Toad Size activities for the year, with three outings so far. This is the second year of Toad on Road activities at this specific site, and the first year we have been collecting data for Toad Size.  Our first visit resulted in 152 males safely delivered to the pond. Visit two was on a fairly cold night and resulted in a much more modest number of 19, with 1 of these being scooped out from the depths of a drain, whilst visit number 3 saved 119 toads.

Have you been out helping toads cross roads? Or have you seen sites that could do with some assistance? Let us know! For more information about these projects, check out the website links below, or for more specific Cambridge related queries, contact our Toads on Roads Officer Mark Goodman at digital.chameleon@hotmail.co.uk.

Find more information about the Toads on Roads Project here and the Toad Size Project here.



CPARG volunteers help manage ponds for great crested newts (and other amphibians!)

Posted on Tuesday 8th March, 2016

Careful pond and land management is needed to ensure the persistence of amphibian populations in the UK, especially for the Great crested newt (GCN), a species that has seen rapid declines in the past 50 years.  Threats facing amphibians in the UK are largely linked to agricultural intensification, pollution, disease and the introduction of non-native species such as ornamental fish.  Great crested newts have been largely effected by these changes due to their specialist habitat requirements.

The cement-lined ponds at Cambridge city crematorium have been monitored for amphibians since 2013. It was then that CPARG investigated a possible GCN sighting and were pleased to confirm a breeding population of the species, as well as a healthy population of smooth newts.

As appropriate management of remaining GCN populations is important, in early January CPARG volunteers gathered at this GCN site to give the ponds some TLC. An ideal pond for GCN has both extensive submerged and floating aquatic vegetation as well as more open areas for males to woo the ladies with their mating displays. To improve these ponds we therefore dragged out dead vegetation that had been clogging them up, reducing the quality of the habitat and making population monitoring difficult.

We carefully checked and recorded all the material being removed from the pond for life; we found an array of invertebrates including water boatmen and dragonfly larvae, as well as two GCN, three smooth newts and one common frog.

Now the dead vegetation has been removed and the live vegetation trimmed a little, the plants needed for newt egg laying will be able to better flourish and hopefully we’ll see the benefits of our labour later this year during the survey season!

 

Do you know of any great crested newt populations? Let us know! For more information about how to effectively manage your garden pond for amphibians, check out the Froglife website here.


Frogwatch – Big Garden Spawn Count Volunteers Needed!

Posted on Saturday 28th December, 2013

Do you have a garden pond?  Do you ever see frogs in your garden?

 

Lots of people would answer yes to at least one of these questions but unfortunately conservation organisations know very little about where frogs are found or how well they’re doing.  But as urban dwellers as well as rural, frogs offer a great opportunity for the public to get face-to-face with wildlife and to contribute to its wellbeing.  For two years the Freshwater Habitats Trust (formerly Pond Conservation) has been running a simple project to make this link. 

Members of the public who are lucky enough to spot frog spawn in their ponds are asked to fill in a simple online record form which then gets logged with others across the country to help answer these questions!  This survey will also pick up on any toadspawn present…but it doesn’t look out for newts so we should still promote either Record Pool or CPERC to capture these records:

http://www.freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/projects/big-pond-dip/big-pond-spawn-count/

http://groups.arguk.org/CPARG/ or http://www.cperc.org.uk/submit-records/submit-single.php

The data from this survey will then be shared with county-based organisations to help fill in some of the gaps on their local frog maps.

This year Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group (CPARG) will be promoting this project within our Cambridgeshire patch, contributing both to answering the big questions nationally (e.g. what sort of ponds do frogs like) and providing our partners at CPERC with up-to-date records of breeding frogs.

We’re looking for a team of confident volunteers to send out press releases to local media (online, papers, radio and TV) and to be available for interview to promote this project, CPARG’s other survey opportunities, and amphibian and reptile conservation generally.

If you might be interested in pitching this conservation message to local media please email us on candparg@googlemail.com and CC in paul.furnborough@sjc.oxon.org or call Paul for an informal chat on 07508020437.

This project would suit confident, friendly-sounding people either with or who would like to get some media experience.

Frogs could start breeding as early as February – or even sooner if we have a mild winter/early spring – so we’d like to have people signed up and ready to be interviewed by the end of January if possible.  Good luck spreading the frog-count word!


Castor Palmate Project

Posted on Saturday 28th December, 2013

CPARG is looking for one or two dedicated volunteer to co-ordinate the Castor Palmate Newt Project – aiming to see how far beyond the known population at Castor Hanglands National Nature Reserve (NNR) this species’ distribution might reach.

 

Palmate newts are very rare in Cambridgeshire with only two records showing on the CPERC database from 1950-2012!  One of the few sites this species is known at is Castor Hanglands NNR, managed by Natural England.  In 2012 CPARG led an amphibian ID and survey session which inspired a group of us to go on and survey all the ponds here for palmates.  Castor Hanglands once again earned its reputation as a top site, with all five widespread amphibians found and several ponds showing palmates, even on these late-season surveys.

Palmate newts are easily overlooked and can be mistaken for the more common smooth newt, but we know they’re present in the area and a skilled or trained eye can pick out the differences easily.  This year we’d like to spread our net wider than the nature reserve and see whether the newts are surviving in the wider countryside.

The co-ordinator post would involve the following jobs.  These can be split between individuals either by stage or within each stage.  CPARG or the CPARG Committee can advise and assist with any of the actions listed – and of course, if as you get into the project you find that there are further avenues you’d like to pursue then the project can evolve under your direction.

Stage 1:

  • ·         Identifying from googlemaps (both aerial and map views) ponds in the surrounding area: http://goo.gl/maps/qbUkq
  • ·         Identifying further ponds from OS maps (which CPARG can provide)
  • ·         Identify landowners for these ponds
  • ·         Contacting landowners to request permission to survey
  • ·         Updating the CPARG Committee on progress or problems

 

 

 

 

Stage 2:

  • ·         Organise an amphibian/palmate newt survey and training day for CPARG members
  • ·         Undertake and/or co-ordinate sufficient and varied newt surveys at each of the sites to confidently confirm presence/absence of palmates
  • ·         Collate and digitise all data from this project
  • ·         Share the data with CPERC

 

 

 

To express interest in this project please email candparg@googlemail.com and cc paul.furnborough@sjc.oxon.org or call Paul on 07508020437 for an informal chat.  


Events

Events

Past Events

Show Upcoming Events

Herper Chronicles: Of Kings and Dragons

Tue 22nd August, 2017 - Tue 22nd August, 2017

About: Join herpetologist Noel Thomas of NParks as he speaks about his herpetological explorations in Singapore and elsewhere in south-east Asia. The talk is free for anyone to attend.

When: 22nd August at 7pm

Where: LAB003, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road


Woodwalton Fen Survey 2

Mon 8th May, 2017 - Wed 10th May, 2017

Terry and Helen have been asked to to survey the 20 experimental ponds on Woodwalton Fen again this year. Unfortunately for them it is quite a big job for two people and so they would like some help from willing volunteers. This year there will be 2 surveys approximately 3 weeks apart depending on the weather and availability. The second and last of these will be the best day of either the 8th, 9th or 10th May. If you'd like to help, then please get in touch with Terry. When getting in touch please also state whether or not you currently hold a great crested newt licence and if you have an appropriate survey torch. Appropriate survey torches are a 500,000 or 1,000,000 candle power torch and not an LED torch (you get too much reflection with LED torches).

You don't need to have any of these or previous experience of newt surveys to be a useful member of the team on the night. Terry will then get in touch nearer the time to confirm dates and meeting arrangements.It is not for the faint hearted as the ponds are over a mile from the entrance over fairly rough ground. However there are usually other wildlife rewards besides newts.


Woodwalton Fen Survey 1

Tue 18th April, 2017 - Wed 19th April, 2017

Terry and Helen have been asked to to survey the 20 experimental ponds on Woodwalton Fen again this year. Unfortunately for them it is quite a big job for two people and so they would like some help from willing volunteers. This year there will be 2 surveys approximately 3 weeks apart depending on the weather and availability. The first of these will be the best day of either the 18th or 19th April. If you'd like to help, then please get in touch with Terry. When getting in touch please also state whether or not you currently hold a great crested newt licence and if you have an appropriate survey torch. Appropriate survey torches are a 500,000 or 1,000,000 candle power torch and not an LED torch (you get too much reflection with LED torches).

You don't need to have any of these or previous experience of newt surveys to be a useful member of the team on the night. Terry will then get in touch nearer the time to confirm dates and meeting arrangements.It is not for the faint hearted as the ponds are over a mile from the entrance over fairly rough ground. However there are usually other wildlife rewards besides newts.


CPARG AGM 2017

Thu 9th March, 2017

When: Thursday 9th March at 7pm.

Where: Wildlife Trust BCN Headquarters, The Manor House, Cambourne

The 2017 CPARG AGM will take place at the Wildlife Trust BCN Headquarters, after the usual procedure of electing the committee and running through the various reports, Katharine Banham and Gwen Hitchcock will be presenting a talk titled 'Settling Slow Worms: a translocation project five years in’.

We are looking for new members to join the committee and if you're interested, then please get in touch.

Refreshments will be provided, please remember that in order to vote in the committee elections that you need to be a paid up member of CPARG. If you're not already, you can do this on the night.


Upton Pond Work Party

Sat 25th February, 2017 - Sun 26th February, 2017

We have yet another work party planned for this winter, this time concerning the Upton village pond. Upton is a small village near Huntingdon and the work is being carried out for the local Parish Council. Refreshments will be provided.

The work carried out by volunteers will improve the appearance of the pond for residents, increase biodiversity and maintain the breeding habitat for great crested newts. Work will start around 10 am each day (weather dependent) and the plan is to work throughout the day. The reeds are now very dense and we will remove what we can towards the front of the pond using a digger and by hand. A skip will be positioned near the pond so we will need wheelbarrows to take the reeds and mud to the skip, rakes will also be helpful.

Please wear old clothes/waterproofs and wellies as the work will be quite messy.  Rubber/vinyl gloves should be worn; the Parish Council has a stock of these that you can borrow.  The Parish Council also has several sets of waders that volunteers may borrow.

Please let Leslie know by text/phone/e-mail (07743946386) and Steve Parnwell by email if and when you can attend.


Talk: A Herpetologist's Adventure in Borneo

Tue 7th February, 2017

Steve Allain will be giving an illustrated talk about his visit to Malaysian Borneo last year and the activities he completed whilst he there. He will also disuss conservation issues and conflicts concerning the reptiles and amphibians of the region.

When: 7.30pm

Where: All Saints Church Hall, Church Lane, Milton. 

The talk is free for existing paid-up CPARG members, although the talk is a great chance for those who haven''t joined to do so. Guests have two options, they may either pay a £2 entrance fee or they can pay the £5 membership fee and be free to attened future CPARG events throughout 2017.

Please note that parking is lmited at the church so please park carefully in Fen Road or Coles Road.


Logan's Meadow LNR Work Party

Sun 5th February, 2017 - Sun 5th February, 2017

**PLEASE NOTE THIS WORK PARTY WAS ORIGINALLY PLANNED FOR 15TH JANUARY**

This winter CPARG will be conducting some work parties at a number of local nature reserves (LNR) in collaboration with Cambridge City Council. The aim of these work parties is to improve the current habitats for reptiles and amphibians. We''ll return in the spring to begin surveys to see how successful we've been.

The last of these will be held at Logans Meadow LNR on 5th February. All the equipment needed will be supplied but please wrap up warm and bring your own packed lunch. Work will be begin at 10am and the session will wrap up at about 3pm. Please feel free to join us at any time during the session.


Cambridge City Crematorium Work Party

Sat 4th February, 2017

Since 2013 CPARG has been monitoring the population of great crested newts (and other amphibians) at Cambridge City Crematorium. The crematorium has four ornamental ponds within it's gardens which are home to a range of amphibiains. In the winter months the ponds need to be raked to remove some of the leaves and the vegetation needs and annual cut back.

The work party will start at 10am and finish at approximately 3pm. To get to the crematorium, head toward Bar Hill on the A14, it will be signposted once you leave Cambridge. Make sure to wrap up warm, wear appropriate footwear and to bring a packed lunch. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided on the day.


Stourbridge Common LNR Work Party

Sun 29th January, 2017

This winter CPARG will be conducting some work parties at a number of local nature reserves (LNR) in collaboration with Cambridge City Council. The aim of these work parties is to improve the current habitats for reptiles and amphibians. We'll return in the spring to begin surveys to see how successful we've been.

The second of these will be held at Stourbridge Common LNR on 29th January. All the equipment needed will be supplied but please wrap up warm and bring your own packed lunch. Work will be begin at 10am and the session will wrap up at about 3pm. Please feel free to join us at any time during the session.

To find out more about Cambridge's LNRs then please follow this link.


Cambridge City Crematorium Work Party

Sat 28th January, 2017

*PLEASE NOTE THIS WORK PARTY HAS SINCE BEEN POST-PONED AND IS BEING RE-ARRANGED*

Since 2013 CPARG has been monitoring the population of great crested newts (and other amphibians) at Cambridge City Crematorium. The crematorium has four ornamental ponds within it's gardenswhich are home to a range of amphibiains. In the winter months the ponds need to be raked to remove some of the leaves and the vegetation needs and annual cut back.

The work party will start at 10am and finish at approximately 3pm. To get to the crematorium, head toward Bar Hill on the A14, it will be signposted once you leave Cambridge. Make sure to wrap up warm, wear appropriate footwear and to bring a packed lunch. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided on the day.


Photo gallery

Photo Gallery

Jun 16, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
Jun 16, 2013

Contact us

Contact Us

To join our email list please email: 

candparg@googlemail.com and CC steve.allain@student.anglia.ac.uk

To discuss projects or partnerships please contact Steven Allain, Chair or telephone 07472235469.

Membership

To join CPARG please contact Helen Moore, our Membership Secretary.

Volunteering

Please see contact details for specific volunteering opportunities in the Events tab.  Alternatively, for regular fixed sessions see contacts below.

For information about local toad crossings or any toad crossing related queries please contact Mark Goodman, our Toads on Roads Officer.

Regular fixed sessions coming soon.

Photos

To submit photos of events, species or habitats to our gallery please email Ali North or upload them to our Facebook page and make it clear you'd like to see the photos posted on the website.

Advice

For general herp advice please check these excellent FAQs:
http://www.froglife.org/advice/FAQs/index.htm
http://www.arc-trust.org/advice/

If the answer you need is not there please contact our Advice Officer, Malcolm Busby.

If you've seen what you suspect to be a non-native species then please contact Gary Miller.

We have a small team dealing with possible wildlife crimes committed against herp species - please contact Steve Parnwell who will liaise with the team.

 

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Upcoming Events

Upcoming events will be listed here.


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