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
Habitat management task, Sunday December 11th, 2016
Posted 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
Posted 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
Posted 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!
Posted 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
Posted 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.
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.