Following a recent reorganisation, Hampshire ARG (HARG) is to be completely reconstituted and will be recruiting a new committee, to help coordinate the volunteer effort towards conserving amphibians and reptiles in this important county. We are fortunate in that our county covers a huge geographic area and a very diverse breadth of habitat including: the Isle of Wight, the New Forest National Park, the South Downs National Park, as well as many other unspoiled areas, including as Woolmer Forest. It is therefore unsurprising that we are host to 12 out of the 13 native amphibians and reptiles in UK, including rarities such as the natterjack toad, sand lizard and smooth snake, and wherever you live in the county there will be opportunities to survey and monitor an assemblage of amphibian and reptile species.
If you have some spare time, and would like to join our committee, then please come to a meeting at 1:00 pm on Saturday 3rd June, at the Golden Lion in Winchester (www.thegoldenlionwinchester.co.uk), and find out more about what this would involve. This will be an informal meeting over lunch, followed by a brisk walk on the nearby Butterfly Conservation reserve on Magdalen Hill Down.
All are welcome, but please do let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org, so that we can make sure we have sufficient space.
I am delighted to say our recording effort is steadily increasing – this is great news but we still need your help! Remember, your record of a frog in your garden may fill an empty 1km square or update an old record. One of the highlights in 2012 was that we hosted the annual ARG UK SE Regional Meeting at Marwell with the theme of ‘Best Practice; legislation, survey & mitigation’. This was obviously a popular topic as it was attended by over 90 delegates from all aspects of herpetology. As development pressure increases, it is increasingly up to each of us to protect what we can despite living under “the greenest government ever”.
We live in uncertain times with regard to the economy and the environment and we hope the conference stirred some positive support for herptiles on a national level. Continuing the positive note, field events were well-attended (by both people and herptiles) as well as our Species Groups social in Winchester [isn’t there a saying about ‘as drunk as a newt’? Eds]. Shatterford Bottom, in the heart of the New Forest, was a fantastic venue for a summer evening walk listening to the raucous Marsh Frog, churring Nightjars, drumming Snipe and other nocturnal wildlife. On our trip to Boscombe, all participants were rewarded with stunning views of both Green and Wall Lizards. Remember HARG is always looking for members with even just a small amount of time to help run events, meetings and organise surveys. So if you’d like to get involved in some small way please get in touch.