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 email@example.com
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.
Amphibian and Reptile Training 2016
Posted on Thursday 5th May, 2016
The third part of the amphibian and reptile survey training, a joint venture between the Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Biodiverse Society Project and NMARG, took place on Saturday, April 30th, with two sessions, one in the morning near Liverpool and the other in the evening in the Sefton Coast Dunes.
During the first session we placed some refugia in locations which looked good for reptiles and also investigated a suitable looking pond for amphibians. Back on the Sefton Coast in the evening, we netted some pools in the dune slacks for newts and found a Natterjack Toad under an item of refugia. However, the best was reserved for a later torchlight survey, when we were surrounded by the resonant calls of the Natterjacks, finding several individuals and also an amazing number of Great Crested Newts, literally under our feet, as well as Smooth Newts and Common Toads.
Posted on Monday 11th April, 2016
NMARG and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Biodiverse Society Project jointly organised a training day for their members and volunteer surveyors of the local herpetofauna on April 3rd. This included a practical session out in the Sefton dunes, when we managed to find a very early pair of breeding Natterjacks (see picture above), as well as several Great Crested Newts, Smooth Newts and Common Lizards.
This training is to be continued on April 16th, when we have another classroom session, followed by another session in the field, looking for lizards.
Our December habitat management task on the Sefton Coast is taking place on Sunday the16th, when we will be clearing invasive Sea Buckthorn scrub from an area of sand dunes at Ainsdale, to help improve the habitat for Sand Lizards and other important duneland fauna. The task is being organised jointly witht he Gems in the Dunes project. We are hoping to make a nice big bonfire with the Buckthorn we remove! Anyone interested in joining us, please contact Mike Brown, by email, on firstname.lastname@example.org