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

Coronavirus

Posted on Wednesday 18th March, 2020

Unfortunately, no NMARG events will be organised at present, due to the covid-19 virus outbreak.


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.


Events

Events

Past Events

Show Upcoming Events

Next Habitat Management Task

Sun 28th February, 2016

NMARG's next habitat management task takes place on Sunday, february 28th, when we will continue with cutting back scrub regrowth in the same area of dunes at Birkdale as in the previous task, on February 14th. Anyone interested in helping with this event, please contact Mike Brown on mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk


scrub removal March, 2016

Wed 9th March, 2016

Our next habitat management task, together with volunteers from the Sefton Ranger Service, will take place on Wednesday March 9th, meeting at Ainsdale Discovery Centre at 1pm. This will involve assisting the Rangers with the removal and burning of scrub on the Ainsdale LNR. Anyone interested in helping , please email Mike Brown on mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk.

The event due to take place on Sunday, March 13th has been cancelled.


Sand Patch Renovation

Sat 21st May, 2016

Our next habitat management task involves the cleaning over of sand patches on a fixed dune site at Ainsdale, to provide suitable egg laying conditions for female Sand Lizards. For further details, please contact Mike Brown on mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk


Sand Patch Renovation

Sat 28th May, 2016

We are carrying on with our sand patch renovation on saturday, May 28th, on a fixed dune area at Ainsdale. The aim is to remove invasive plants from sand patches created two years ago, and to loosen up the sand, ensuring that the essential conditions for female Sand Lizards to lay their eggs in are available to them.

For further information, please contact Mike Brown at mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk


Next Habitat Management Task

Sun 11th December, 2016

Our next habitat management task is on Sunday, December 11th, when we will be tackling more unwanted scrub and small trees, which are shading or threatening to shade vital Sand Lizard habitat on the Sefton Coast dunes. This task will be in conjunction with the Sefton Coast and Countryside Ranger Service.


Next Habitat Management Task

Sun 11th December, 2016

Our next habitat management task is on Sunday, December 11th, when we will be tackling more unwanted scrub and small trees, which are shading or threatening to shade vital Sand Lizard habitat on the Sefton Coast dunes. This task will be in conjunction with the Sefton Coast and Countryside Ranger Service.


Habitat management for Sand Lizards

Sun 8th January, 2017

This will be our second ''scrub bashing'' habitat management task of the Winter on the Sefton Coast dunes, when we try and control scrub and trees which are invading vital Sand Lizard and Natterjack Toad habitat on the Sefton Coast.

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Please note that this task is now Sunday only.

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Anyone interested in helping, please contact Mike Brown, on mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk


Habitat management for Sand Lizards and Natterjacks

Sat 28th January, 2017 - Sun 29th January, 2017

This will be our third habitat management task of the Winter on the Sefton Coast, when we will again be helping to control invasive scrub (especially Sea Buckthorn) and trees, which are shading out the open habitats needed by the very rare Merseyside Sand Lizards and Natterjack Toads. For further details, please contact Mike Brown, on mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk


Herpetofauna Workers Meeting 2017

Sat 11th February, 2017 - Sun 12th February, 2017

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) and Amphibian and Reptile Groups of UK (ARG UK), are delighted to be able to announce the 2017 Herpetofauna Workers’ Meeting, which is to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in central Nottingham on 11-12 February 2017.

Running annually for over 27 years, this popular two-day event occupies the centre stage of the herpetological calendar. Once again, a full and varied programme of presentations and workshops is on offer, with plenty of opportunities to network with the speakers and other delegates. The meeting attracts a diverse audience representing: conservation organisations, ecological consultants, statutory bodies, land managers, academic institutions and students, and enthusiastic volunteers.

In 2017, the meeting will cover a range of topics including: the importance of the new chytrid species, B.sal, for our native amphibians; showcasing a range of novel approaches to reptile mitigation; restoring overgrown farmland ponds; updates from the national statutory agencies; conservation priorities for Adders; using SUDS to help toads; the RAVON approach to monitoring for widespread species in the Netherlands; integrated approaches to Great Crested Newt monitoring, including the use of genetic techniques to understand population dynamics; Aesculapian Snakes; and some interesting examples of how citizen science can support amphibian and reptile conservation, from Cornwall and Scotland.

There is also a strong workshop programme, and topics will include: eDNA surveys for Great Crested Newts; developing a new national widespread species recording scheme; practical tips for restoring overgrown ponds; EPS licensing updates; and developing guidelines for guided public reptile walks. Something for everyone!

  pdf (138 KB) Download the programme here

BOOKINGS ARE NOW OPEN - Please go to the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation website to book your place and select your workshops. There is a reduction in price for ARG members.


next habitat management task

Sun 19th February, 2017

NMARG's next habitat management task on the Sefton Coast is on Sunday, 19th February. The task will involve the clearance of invasive scrub, especially Sea Buckthorn, on the Ainsdale sand dunes LNR. For further details, please contact Mike Brown, on mb001b9658@blueyonder.co.uk

 


Contact us

Contact Us

Mike Brown (chair)

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