North Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group

About us

About Us

NMARG was formed in 2005 and is a group of about 70 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, the Gems in the Dunes project 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 help to 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 mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk

 

News

News

Natterjacks breeding in full swing

Posted on Wednesday 18th April, 2018

With the plenty of water in the Sefton Coast Natterjack breeding pools this year, it looks like being a bumper year for Natterjack breeding, with the dunes resonating to the sound of the croaking males every evening and spawn strings appearing in the shallows of many of the pools now. 

Anyone who would like to go on one of the guided evening walks to see the Natterjacks breeding, please contact gems-in-the-dunes@arc-trust.org

 


More Buckthorn Clearance, 17th December 2017

Posted on Monday 18th December, 2017

On Sunday, December 17th, despite the incessant rain and drizzle, a amll group of NMARG members cleared a further area of Sea Buckthorn, in a dune slack and south-west facing slope adjacent to the area cleared on 26th November, on the edge of the grazing enclosure on the Ainsdale LNR. It is hoped that this will encourage Sand Lizards to spread landwards from the more frontal dunes.


Buckthorn Bashing Day, 26th November, 2017

Posted on Sunday 26th November, 2017

On a bright, but very blustery day, we managed to clear Sea Buckthorn from a 100 metre stretch of south-east facing sand dune ridge at Ainsdale, making the habitat more suitable for Sand Lizards and Natterjacks.


How have our rare herps fared this Summer, 2017?

Posted on Sunday 3rd September, 2017

Our two rare species of herps, the Natterjack and Sand Lizard on the Sefton Coast are always at the mercy of the elements when it comes to breeding success and every year throws up different conditions.

This year, because of the preceding dry Winter, many of the dune slack pools and 'scrapes' were already dry when the Natterjacks arrived to bred in them in the Spring, and others dried up soon after. In consequence, although final figures are not yet available, counts of successfully metamorphosed Natterjack toadlets in the summer were very low this year, with many sites producing none. This is not, however, a total catastrophe, as the Natterjack is a relatively long-lived animal, and experts consider that if one year in four is a good Natterjack breeding year, then the population will remain stable.

Sand Lizards lay their eggs in the sand and are then dependant on warmth and sunshine to hatch them.This year has seen a rather mixed bag of weather during the Summer and only a few hatchlings have been sighted so far. Hopefully, hopefully we will get some warm, sunny weather in September and October, to enable more successful hatching and to enable those hatchlings to feed up well before entering hibernation. In contrast to the Natterjack, Sand Lizard populations cannot be sustained unless there are frequent years of successful breeding.


Reptile and amphibian survey training May 6th 2017

Posted on Monday 8th May, 2017

A dozen people from NMARG and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Biodiverse Society Project attended the latest reptile and amphibian survey training day at Ainsdale on Saturday, May 6th, which included walks out into the dunes for a couple of practical sessions. Unfortunately, due to the dull, cold weather, we were unable to find any lizards, but we did manage to find and compare eggs of Great Crested Newts and Smooth Newts, as well as adults and juveniles of both species. We also found fresh spawn strings and tadpoles of Natterjack Toads and, after dark, a few adult Natterjacks in the 'scrapes' , although it was too cold and dry for any males to be calling.                                    


Events

Events

Past Events

Show Upcoming Events

Rixton Claypits scrub clearance for GCN

Mon 2nd March, 2015 - Mon 2nd March, 2015

ARGSL and Bangor University students are jointly organising a scrub clearance day, in order to open up a Great Crested Newt breeding pond, at Rixton Claypits SAC/SSSI, near Warrington, on Monday, March 2nd., meeting at 10 a.m. Anyone from NMARG who is interested in going along and helping with this is very welcome. Please contact David Orchard at argsl@btinternet.com if you are intending to take part in this important habitat management work, a change from sand dune habitat management !

Detailed directions to the site are below:-

By car from Warrington - follow Manchester Road (A57) out of Woolston, across both M6 roundabouts for approximately mile. Continue past Moat Lane, past the visitor centre about 400 yards on the left, and another 120 yards on the left is the car park. Please note that the visitors centre is set back 30m from the road and not well signposted, so it is easily missed.
From Cadishead- follow Liverpool Road (A57) through the traffic lights at Warburton Bridge Road and continue for another 420 metres. The car park is on the right between Chapel Lane and Moat Lane.

Please park on the main car park, not in front of the visitors centre.


Habitat management weekend, February 14/15

Sat 14th February, 2015 - Sun 15th February, 2015

For our fourth habitat management weekend, in mid-February, 2015, we will be continuing with essential tree and scrub clearance for Sand Lizards and Natterjacks on the Sefton Coast. NMARG will again be assisted by two chainsaw operators from SWWARG for this task. Further details will be given at a later date.


Habitat management weekend at Ainsdale

Sat 31st January, 2015 - Sun 1st February, 2015

Our third big habitat management weekend of the Winter will take place in an area of old relict dunes close to Ainsdale, when we will again be joined by members of SWWARG, armed with their chainsaws. The aim is to clear trees and scrub, especially Sea Buckthorn, in order to encourage the spread of a small colony of Sand Lizards, as well as benefitting the Common Lizard population there. Anyone interested in joining us, please contact Mike at the email address below.

We are also planning to hold our AGM on the Saturday, after the task.


Habitat Management Task No.2

Fri 9th January, 2015 - Sun 11th January, 2015

Continuation of the scrub and small tree clearance started on the first task in December at Ainsdale, and further scrub and tree clearance at North Bikdale dunes, for the benefit of sand lizards and natterjacks. For this task, we will be joined by members of the South Lancs Amphibian and Reptile Group.

 Anyone wishing to help, please contact Mike Brown by email, at mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk


Winter programme of conservation work

Sat 13th December, 2014 - Sun 14th December, 2014

Habitat management work for Sand Lizards at Ainsdale. Mainly clearance of invasive Sea Buckthorn , Poplar and other scrub.


Sand patch creation for Sand Lizards.

Sat 10th May, 2014 - Sun 11th May, 2014

We are creating sand patches for Sand Lizards on a long bank overgrown with grass, on a golf course where Sand Lizards formerly existed and have the potential to recolonise, in the Southport area.


Natterjack Walks

Fri 18th April, 2014 - Sat 26th April, 2014

Natterjack Walks have been organised by Sefton Council and Natural England during the likely period for Natterjack Breeding, as follows :

Friday, 18th April    Natural England - Ainsdale NNR - leader Pete Gahan

Saturday, 19th April   Sefton Council - Hightown?

Friday, 25th April  Sefton Council, meeting at Ainsdale Discovery Centre - leader John Gramauskas

Saturday, 26th April  Natural England - Ainsdale NNR - leader Pete Gahan

For further details, see www.seftonsnaturalcoast.com and www.sefton.gov.uk

Bookings should be made as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.

Bookings for Sefton Council are on 0151 934 2967 and for Natural England on 01704 578774


Scrub removal Ainsdale

Sun 23rd March, 2014 - Sun 23rd March, 2014

Now that the bird nesting season is commencing, we are restricted to the removal of very invasive Sea Buckthorn and Poplar suckers and regrowth, using hand tools only. For this task, we will be attacking small Poplars and Sea Buckthorn at two sites in Ainsdale which were previously good Sand Lizard sites and will greatly benefit from even this more 'Gardening' type of work.


Habitat management for sand lizards

Sat 22nd February, 2014 - Sun 23rd February, 2014

Further scrub and tree removal in order to improve habitats for sand lizards. For this task we will be joined by a large contingent from the South Lancashire ARG !


Habitat management for sand lizards

Sat 25th January, 2014 - Sun 26th January, 2014

Continuing tree and scrub clearance for improving habitat for sand lizards in the Birkdale area, we will again be joined by two Chainsaw Operators from SWWARG, as well as several members of the South Lancashire ARG. More details later.


Contact us

Contact Us

Mike Brown (chair)

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Upcoming Events

Upcoming events will be listed here.


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