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

Second habitat management task of the 2019-20 Winter at the Birkdale Sandhills.

Posted on Thursday 28th November, 2019

Our second habitat management task of the Winter, at the Ainsdale end of the Birkdale Sandhills LNR and SSSI, was successfully completed on November 24th 2019, when we again joined forces with the Gems in the Dunes project staff and volunteers, to undertake the clearance of highly invasive shrubs, especially Cotoneaster and Sea Buckthorn, in order to open up a very steep south-facing bank and encourage colonisation by Sand Lizards (see photos above).


Volunteers from WSP and Tyrer Ecological Consultants join forces with Gems in the Dunes and NMARG for a day of scrub removal.

Posted on Friday 1st November, 2019

On Friday, November 1st a group of volunteers from WSP and Tyrer Ecological Consultants joined forces with Gems in the Dunes and NMARG for a very successful day of scrub clearance on the Ainsdale dunes, when a large area of Sea Buckthorn was completely cleared, burnt and stump treated (see pictures). 


First Habitat Management Task of the Winter 2019-2020 at Hightown

Posted on Thursday 31st October, 2019

Our first habitat management task of the winter season, 2019-2020 was completed on Saturday 26th October, 2019, when, despite the rather wet conditions, six people from NMARG and the Gems in the Dunes project successfully cleared an area of invasive Sea Buckthorn on the Hightown dunes, with the stumps treated with herbicide, in order to prevent regrowth. This work was completed in order to encourage our rare Merseyside race Sand Lizards to spread their range.


Natterjacks have second breeding attempt in 2019.

Posted on Saturday 6th July, 2019

Whilst the Sefton Coast Natterjacks' initial breeding in late March and April was inhibited by a lack of water in some pools, due to the relatively dry Winter, there was a second bout of spawning at many sites in early June, following a period of heavy rainfall. The tadpoles from this second spawning are now progressing nicely, with the help of the warm sunny weather in late June and early July. Many pools, where the first crop of Natterjack tadpoles suffered from competition with Common Toad tadpoles, are now free from this competition, with most of the Common Toad tadpoles now having metamorphosed, so it promises to be a better end to the Summer for Natterjack metamorphosis, providing we get some rain to keep the pools topped up with water!

The Gems in the Dunes Project created and deepened a number of Natterjack 'scrapes' during the Winter months, both with the use of machines and by hand, removing vegetation from existing ones, with the help of some of our members. This work has proved enormously beneficial to Natterjack breeding this year, especially with the water table being lower than average in the dunes.


Scrub clearance tasks November-December 2018

Posted on Tuesday 18th December, 2018

Our first two habitat management tasks of the current Winter, held jointly with the Gems in the Dunes staff and volunteers, clearing and burning Sea Buckthorn and other scrub from important Sand Lizard sites, have been completed successfully. Many thanks to the Gems in the Dunes staff for organising the fires and goodies so efficiently. We will be holding further tasks at regular intervals through the Winter, and these will be advertised in the Events section very soon.


Events

Events

Past Events

Show Upcoming Events

Habitat management for sand lizards

Sat 21st December, 2013 - Sun 22nd December, 2013

tree and scrub clearance on the Birkdale Dunes with the help of other ARG Group members. Please contact Mike Brown for further details.


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.


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 !


Scrub removal Ainsdale

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.


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


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.


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.


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


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 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.


Contact us

Contact Us

Mike Brown (chair)

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