Hampshire is fortunate that the 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 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.
HIWARG formed in the Autumn of 2018 and is an affiliated independent ARG-UK group. The group focus is conservation of native UK species essentially around habitat management, surveying, public engagement, volunteer training & doing as much as possible to understand & protect the native species in the county.
All members are volunteers with a common interest.
If you have some spare time and would like to be involved with HIWARG, maybe you have taken a photo of a reptile or amphibian and would like it identified or maybe you have some other query, then please do get in contact firstname.lastname@example.org
CONSERVATION THROUGH EMPATHY BY ENGAGEMENT
Edited by Sheila Dyason
Sorry for the long delay in sending out our latest newsletter. The survey season has been very busy with more than 40 survey transects now in place, so there is no excuse for not being able to survey a site near to you!
In April my daughter Cathy and I went to Millom, Cumbria to learn about surveying for Natterjack Toads. The course was run by ARC’s Yvette Martin and Ruth Popely. It was a fantastic and very enjoyable experience. We spent the afternoon indoors learning about Natterjack ecology, conservation and the law. Ruth had collected some toads so we could see them close-up...... (Subscribe to see more)
Meanwhile in Hampshire, Graeme Davis found these lizards near Brockenhurst and Pete West found this lovely Grass Snake at Fleet Pond...... (Subscribe to see more)
Pete West found a few Palmate Newts in a series of ponds on a local Hampshire Heath. He thinks it is amazing how any larva survive...... (Subscribe to see more)
......the Vanishing Viper conference was a really fantastic experience with some very interesting perspectives from European colleagues. It was great to catch up with so many people dedicated to finding solutions. (Subscribe to see more)
Gillian Pullinger took some photos from the Bioblitz event at Basing Wood. HIWARG had their stand there, showing the animals to members of the public and raising funds with exciting items for sale, and also helped with walks and pond-dipping activities.... (Subscribe to see more)
In September the saga of Wally the turtle began. Pete West tells the story....Apparently, the Egret became very interested in some ripples close to the water’s edge. As the ripples came closer to the shore my brother could see a small shape above the water and a creature emerged showing itself to be a turtle or terrapin.... (Subscribe to see more)
HIWARG members have attended village fetes and shows over the summer to give members of the public the opportunity to see herps close-up and to learn about their conservation needs. It is hoped that next year more members will volunteer to participate with these events.
Jon Cranfield gave a talk on American Bullfrogs and African Clawed Toads at the Invasive Non-native Species Workshop at Brockenhurst. It was a very good talk and well-received.
Adders on the brink – Britain’s Vanishing Viper - Josh Phangurha
It’s hard to describe in words the concoction of thoughts and feelings that adders resonate through me. Their admirable ability to emerge on chilly days in February (or sometimes earlier), even if there is snow on the ground and temperatures are near 0°C, give a true sense of extraordinary hardiness in the ectothermic animal kingdom. Their exquisite markings rival the intricacy of any British bird or butterfly, which is especially evident in the males who can boast bright silvery colouration with a highly contrasting, dorsal black zigzag that runs along the length of the body. As if that wasn’t dashing enough, their eyes are a piercing crimson red, giving them a somewhat falsely menacing appearance..... (Subscribe to see more)
* HIWARG Social and AGM Saturday November 23rd 1 – 4 pm at Twyford Village Hall
Please join us for the HIWARG 2019 Year-end social. TICKET BOOKINGS:
The afternoon is certain to be a special networking event providing an update on the last year's activities as well as details on our plans for the 2020 season. Tea, coffee & cakes will be provided.
We also have special speakers presenting on some unusual & interesting topics:
- Steve Allain on his Midwife Toad Project
- Josh Phangurha on his trip to Mexico and encouraging new HIWARG members
Attendance is free, but we do ask that you register in order for us to plan & cater appropriately.
Ticket numbers are limited so please be sure to book your ticket soon via Eventbrite.
Herp habitat management with a range of land managers at various sites. For more details see https://www.facebook.com/groups/455730808110700/
As always, our core communication methods remains via the HIWARG Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/455730808110700/ ) & the HIWARG website. I encourage you if you have not yet done so to please bookmark & visit both for the latest news & events information.
And if you have not yet don’t so, please subscribe to HIWARG as a member via this website. Your subscription donation helps us acquire much needed equipment for use during our planned activities and will help to broaden the range of activities & events we can offer.
Latest newsletter has been emailed to subscribed HIWARG members.
Toad patrols are currently in full swing. The recent warm weather has woken the herps earlier than usual and the wet weather has many of them heading towards their breeding ponds, putting toads & newts in harms way as they try to cross busy roads during peak traffic periods.
There are many toad patrols looking for additional volunteers.
Currently we have people active in the New Forest, Eastleigh & Basingstoke areas.
Please see our Facebook group for more details.
Next Thursday, 29 July, we have been invited to join Natural England and Forestry England on their Heath week activity at Bramshill SSSI
We will have a stall there to talk to visitors about herps in the area and it will be a great chance to engage with walkers and other users of the site.
If anyone is free to help us set up our gazebo between 8am-8.30am that would be great. The event is advertised as 9am to 3pm, so if anyone is free and would like to help on the stall, or just stop by and chat it would be good to see you.
Meeting place is at Bramshill Common Wood Car Park, Bramshill Rd, Hook RG27 0PR (Grid ref SU 76053 61310). It is only a small car park, so if its full there is more parking about 500m east along Bramshill Road. The stall will be sited next to the car park.
Both Natural England and Forestry England will be running their own activities, with FE leading guided walks.