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.
Anyone wishing to get involved, seeking advice or supplying records are very welcome. Please contact Mike Brown at email@example.com
For our fourth habitat management weekend of the Winter, on the Birkdale dunes, we were joined by Mark Barber and Richard Pond from SWWARG, as well as John Gramauskas and four of his volunteers from Sefton's Ranger Service. A considerable amount of invasive Sycamore, Poplar, Willow and Birch trees were cut down, also Sea Buckthorn scrub. We were able to burn some of this and all the stumps were treated with herbicide, to, hopefully, prevent regrowth.
The aim of this work is to provide better habitat for Sand Lizards and Natterjacks, linking up remaining colonies. We are planning to follow this work up with the creation of patches of bare sand in the Spring.
Habitat management weekend January 31/February1
Posted on Sunday 1st February, 2015
For our third big habitat management weekend of the Winter, in part of the Birkdale and Ainsdale Sandhills local Nature Reserve, we were again joined by our friends from SWWARG, Pete Hill and Richard Pond, with their chainsaws, as well as some volunteers from Sefton's Coast and Countryside Ranger Service, with a total of 18 people attending for at least part of the weekend.
The work entailed the removal of some sizeable trees, especially alien Sycamores, which were shading parts of an area important for Sand Lizards, also the cutting down of a considerable amount of invasive Sea Buckthorn and other scrub. We managed to drag most of the brash into piles and then burn it in three separate fires (see photos above).
The roaring fires and almost continous sunshine helped to counteract the cold, brisk wind, and hopefully everyone found it much more enjoyable and rewarding than being stuck indoors!
Again many thanks to John Gramauskas, from the Sefton Ranger Service, for so efficiently organising the fires.
Habitat management weekend January 10/11
Posted on Tuesday 13th January, 2015
Our second habitat management weekend of the Winter was successfully completed on the Birkdale dunes, despite the howling gales of the weekend. With tremendous help from a dozen members of ARGSL, led by David Orchard, and John Gramauskas from the Sefton Coast Ranger Service, we were able to clear a considerable area of scrub and trees, helping to restore the habitat where Sand Lizards previously thrived, as well as improving the terrestrial habitat of Natterjacks. The resulting brash was burnt in a number of fires, helping to keep us warm on a cold weekend!
Stray turtles on the beach
Posted on Thursday 25th December, 2014
An unusual rarity has turned up on the local beaches in the last few days. Kemp's ridley sea turtle is the smallest and rarest sea turtle in the world and is critically endangered. However, one (or possibly two separate individuals) have been found stranded on the Merseyside sea shore (see photo above), far from their normal habitat in the warm, shallow waters of the western Atlantic ocean. In fact, most of the world's adult population of these two feet long turtles breed on one 16 mile long beach in Mexico.
Unusual weather patterns are thought to have brought these turtles to our cold shores, with other specimens found on Walney Island in Cumbria and in the Netherlands. Anyone finding a stranded turtle on the beach should contact the local RSPCA or the Ranger Service, who will arrange its rescue and, hopefully, recovery. The turtles should not be returned to the sea, as the water is far too cold. They require shelter and warmth.
Winter habitat management gets underway
Posted on Thursday 18th December, 2014
Our first habitat management task of the Winter was undertaken on the weekend, 13/14 December, when we were joined by our three chainsaw wielding friends from SWWARG, Pete Hill, Richard Pond and Mark Barber, who helped us clear an enormous clump of sea Buckthorn on one of our fixed dune Sand Lizard and Common Lizard sites. The resulting brash was disposed of by dragging into several large, roaring fires, very efficiently organised by John G. from the Sefton Coast Ranger Service. (See the pictures above).
We also removed some smaller scrub and small trees from other parts of the site and we plan to remove more of this during the remainder of the Winter.
Many thanks to everyone who helped with this task, including the burning of the brash, which carried on into the following week.
NMARG's first volunteer habitat management weekend of the current Winter will be on November 25 - 26, on the Sefton Coast, when we will be tackling an area of Sea Buckthorn scrub which is invading valuable Sand Lizard and Natterjack habitat at Ainsdale. The work will involve cutting down, dragging off and burning this highly invasive spiky shrub and is vitally important for the continued survival of the Merseyside Race Sand Lizard and the maintenance of suitable terrestrial habitat for Natterjacks. This task will be undertaken in conjunction with ARC's Gems in the Dunes project and the Sefton Council Ranger Service. Anyone interested in helping out, please contact Mike Brown by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.