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, sometimes in partnership with other ARG groups, Natural England staff and volunteers 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
The warm sunny weather we have experienced lately has tempted many lizards out from their Winter sleep. Common Lizards were already seen on the Sefton Coast earlier in March, but male and juvenile Sand Lizards have also been seen during the past couple of weeks. The females will mostly only be appearing in April however!
NMARG has now arranged provisional dates for a series of volunteer habitat management tasks at several sites in the Ainsdale area during the coming Winter. All the tasks will involve the removal of invasive scrub and small trees. The dates are as follows:
Saturday, 27th November, 2021
Sunday, 12th December, 2021
Saturday, 8th January, 2022
Sunday, 23rd January, 2022
Saturday, 5th February, 2022
Sunday, 20th February, 2022
Further details will appear in the Events section nearer the times of each event.
NMARG are hoping to undertake a number of volunteer habitat management tasks during the coming Winter months, mainly involving clearing scrub from our important Sand Lizard sites on the Sefton Coast. More details will appear here in the coming weeks.
Sand Lizards surveys were up and running again on the Sefton Coast in 2021 for our licensed surveyors, following the severe restrictions due to Covid last year, but we have been disappointed so far by the lack of hatchlings spotted, indicating that 2021 may have been a poor breeding year for our Sand Lizards, or at least for successful hatching of their eggs. This may be due to two weather factors - the very cold May and the very dull, wet August. The hatchlings which have been seen in September were mostly quite small, indicating late hatching. Hopefully we will have some good weather in the coming weeks, to enable those hatchlings to feed and bulk up before entering hibernation.
Unfortunately, no NMARG events will be organised at present, due to the covid-19 virus outbreak.
tree and scrub clearance on the Birkdale Dunes with the help of other ARG Group members. Please contact Mike Brown for further details.
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.
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 !
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 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
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
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.
Habitat management work for Sand Lizards at Ainsdale. Mainly clearance of invasive Sea Buckthorn , Poplar and other scrub.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
Mike Brown (chair)
Upcoming events will be listed here.