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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Third scrub clearance task of the Winter 2019-2020 on the Sefton Coast
Sun 8th December, 2019 - Sun 8th December, 2019
Our third habitat management task of the current Autumn and Winter period will take place on Sunday 8th December, when we will again be clearing invasive scrub for the benefit of rare Sand Lizards and Natterjack Toads, this time at the Southport end of the Sefton Coast dune system. This task will again be together with staff and volunteers from the Gems in the Dunes Project. For further details, please contact Mike Brown, by email, at email@example.com.
First 2020 habitat management task
Sat 11th January, 2020 - Sat 11th January, 2020
Our first volunteer habitat management task of 2020 takes place on Saturday, January 11th, in the Ainsdale Sand Dunes LNR. The task will involve the removal of invasive scrub, especially Sea Buckthorn, which is invading vital Sand Lizard and Natterjack Toad habitat and will again be held jointly with the Gems in the Dunes project volunteers and staff. For further information about this task, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Second January habitat management task
Sun 26th January, 2020 - Sun 26th January, 2020
Our second volunteer habitat management task of 2020 will take place on Sunday, 26th January, this time at a fixed dune site in Ainsdale where scrub clearance is needed in order to maintain and improve the habitat for Sand Lizards. For further details, please contact Mike Brown by email, at email@example.com
Next February Habitat Management Task
Sun 23rd February, 2020 - Sun 23rd February, 2020
NMARG's next habitat management task will take place at Hightown dunes on Sunday, 23rd February, when we will be clearing scrub with the aim of encouraging the spread of Sand Lizards in this area. This task follows on from the one we undertook at Hightown earlier in the Winter. For further details, please email Mike Brown on firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Habitat Management Task
Sat 7th March, 2020 - Sat 7th March, 2020
NMARG's next habitat management task will take place on Saturday, March 7th, when we will be clearing poplar suckers from a SSSI site at Ainsdale, in order to maintain an open sunny habitat for Sand Lizards, The task will again be held jointly with the Gems in the Dunes project staff and volunteers. For further details, please email Mike Brown on email@example.com