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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
NMARG's next habitat management task is on Sunday, March 5th, again on the Sefton Coast. Although the exact venue is yet to be decided, we will be probably be clearing relatively small and less spiky scrub regrowth and suckers this time, from important Sand Lizard areas which are being overtaken by invasive growth of poplar, etc. Anyone interested in joining us, please contact Mike on email@example.com
NMARG are running another reptile and amphibian survey training event in conjunction with the Lancahire Wildlife Trust Biodiverse Society Project on Saturday, May 5th, in the afternoon and evening, at Ainsdale. This year, we are combining the reptile and amphibian training into one event, which will include a classroom session (at Ainsdale Discovery Centre) and a search of the surrounding area for amphibians and reptiles (weather permitting). Times are not finalised yet, but anyone interested in attending, please contact Mike Brown on firstname.lastname@example.org
The event will probably culminate in a Natterjack walk at dusk, again weather permitting.
Our next habitat management task is on Sunday, 28th May, when we will be renovating sand patches at Ainsdale for Merseyside Sand Lizards to lay their eggs in. Anyone interested in joining us, please contact Mike Brown at email@example.com
NMARG is organising a lizard monitoring morning on the Sefton Coast on Sunday, September 10th., when we will be looking particularly for hatchling sand lizards and juvenile common lizards, born this year. This is a good measure of breeding success in what has been quite a mixed Summer for weather. Anyone interested in joining us, please email Mike Brown on firstname.lastname@example.org
This event will only take place in suitable weather conditions, as lizards don't like wet and windy weather!
NMARG's first volunteer habitat management task of the current Winter will be on Sunday, November 26, on the Sefton Coast, when we will be tackling an area of Sea Buckthorn scrub which is invading valuable Sand Lizard and Natterjack habitat at Ainsdale. The work will involve cutting down, dragging off and burning this highly invasive spiky shrub and is vitally important for the continued survival of the Merseyside Race Sand Lizard and the maintenance of suitable terrestrial habitat for Natterjacks. This task will be undertaken in conjunction with ARC's Gems in the Dunes project and the Sefton Council Ranger Service. Anyone interested in helping out, please contact Mike Brown by email at email@example.com for further details.
NMARG's next volunteer scrub clearance day on the Sefton Coast is on Sunday, December 17th. For more details, please contact Mike Brown on firstname.lastname@example.org
Our first habitat management task of the New Year will be on Sunday, January 7th. This will be another session of scrub and tree removal on an area of vital importance for Sand Lizards and Natterjack Toads on the Sefton Coast. This task will be held jointly with Friends of the Sefton Coast volunteers and meeting at 10am at the Ainsdale Discovery Centre. For further details, please email Mike Brown on email@example.com
Further habitat management tasks will be held on the following dates:
Sunday, January 21st
Sunday, January 28th
Sunday, February 18th
sunday, March 11th
NMARG's next volunteer habitat management task is on Sunday, January 21st, when we will be tackling another area of invasive scrub on the Sefton Coast, in order to improve the habitat for Merseyside Sand Lizards. For further details, please email Mike Brown on firstname.lastname@example.org
NMARG's next volunteer habitat management task is on Sunday, 28th January, when we will be clearing more Sea Buckthorn from prime Sand Lizard habitat on the Sefton Coast. If you would like to join our group and help with this vitally important conservation work, please contact Mike Brown by email on email@example.com
Our next scrub control task is taking place on 18th February, when we will be clearing Sea Buckthorn and Poplar regrowth for the benefit of the Merseyside race Sand Lizard on the Sefton Coast. For further details, please contact Mike Brown, by email, on firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Brown (chair)
Upcoming events will be listed here.