2023, NARG (Nottinghamshire Amphibian & Reptile Group) aims to further the knowledge of frogs, toads, newts, lizards and snakes in Nottinghamshire.
The group actively supports the conservation of these often secretive and misunderstood creature, assisting and supporting its members with regards to training, field trips and surveys. With the main aim of the group is to generate amphibian and reptile records in order to support the conservation of these species within the county. We achieve this through various workshops, e.g. animal identification, setting up & running surveys throughout the year, as well as running various events and projects our members can join.
In Nottinghamshire we have four amphibians, the Common frog, Common toad, Smooth newt and Great crested newts along with 3 reptiles, the Grass snake, Smooth snake and Common lizard, all of which are harmless, if you do see one of these species please record your sightings on Record Pool (This can be found under the 'Record a sighting' tab).
Want to help? Have a look at the 'How you can help' tab at the top of the page to find out more.
Full Event info is on our Facebook Group, link below (not the Facebook - Page)
After Saturdays rain, Sunday morning with its sunny intervals was the perfect conditions to walk my local area in Clipstone to see if any Common Lizards were out basking.
The first woodland edges were very productive with 5 adult Common Lizards and 4 juveniles seen.
Common Lizards have started giving birth and this is the perfect time to see them, edge habitat, or in heather, on leaf litter are good places to see them, even roadside verges.
Nottinghamshire is a good county to see Common Lizard, they are present most parks and nature reserves across Nottinghamshire.
I then moved onto to some roadside habitat, which again had Adult and juveniles present, brilliant news for the local Lizard population.
I spent just over 2 hours on my walk and managed approximately 20 plus Common Lizards, with juveniles in the 3 main areas I was checking.
As a bonus I managed to see a couple of baby Toads moving through the heather.
Here's some photo's from the morning.
NottsARG had a lovely morning reptile walk in Nottinghamshire today and the day started very well, as even before the group arrived we had spotted 3 Common Lizard, a good start indeed.
After everyone had arrived for the 9.30 walk, Steve(NottsARG committee) registered everyone into the event and discussed health and safety and the risk assessment for the event.
Next, the Chair of NottsARG, Kevin Clarke explained a little about the mornings walk and what it would entail.
We set off on the first transect, showing the group what to look for and also how to survey using artificial refugia.
We were very lucky to find 3 species on the first transect Slow Worm's, Common Lizards and a young female Toad.
The second transect, we allowed the group to survey while being observed and Common Lizard were seen as well as a single Slow Worm.
The next 2 transects unfortunately didn't produce any reptiles, but the last transect, which was lifted by 6 year old Solomon produced another Slow Worm.
We did catch a couple of the Slow Worm/Toad and Lizard (safely and wearing gloves) to enable such a large group to see the animals, after a few minutes they were safely put back where found.
All in all a fantastic morning.
and here's a lovely post from one of our NottsARG volunteers(Val Green).
Fantastic reptile survey walk this morning in Nottinghamshire - my first
We saw our first slow worm within 10 minutes - certainly not the last.
I didn't check the final tally but I think it was 6 slow worms, 8 common lizards and a toad.
Here are a few photos that give a flavour of the morning
I will also be posting photos and video clips on our Instagram page and Facebook page.
Note. The survey was fully licenced and permission obtained to share photos.
Val Green - NottsARG
With the amphibian season well and truly started, the toads and frogs have been and gone in places throughout Nottinghamshire.
However, the newts are just starting to become more active and if you are lucky, you may see them courting and laying eggs in your garden or local ponds.
The site chosen holds all four verified Nottinghamshire amphibians which made for a great night of surveying.
Three committee members(under license) led two groups of volunteers through the night and morning on the survey sessions.
The groups started with a safety brief followed by disinfecting footwear and equipment.
After the technical bits were out the way the group learned how to survey using a torch, and learning to identify the species they came across in their torch beam.
A few newts were caught safely to allow for closer identification out of water for the trainees, this would allow some of the team to see the animals up close without struggling to identify the animals at distance in the water.
This was followed by learning how to look for and ID newt eggs that had been laid, and with careful looking we found both newt species eggs( that are present) in the water.
After finding a suitable site we then discussed the use of, and deployed bottle traps(using the well versed guidelines and techniques for this kind of survey).
After bottle traps were deployed and carefully counted out, we then carried on our visual surveys of the areas, finishing our evening survey at approximately 12.30am.
The following morning the groups met at 6:15am to check and collect the bottle traps(making sure all were counted in that were put out) ,out of the 30 bottles we deployed we caught 2 male smooth newts.
The total amphibians seen on our survey were:-
30 Male Toads
1 1st year juvenile Toad
3 Male Frog
5 Male Great Crested Newt
2 Female Great Crested Newt
1 Juvenile Great Crested Newt
11 Male Smooth Newts
7 Female Smooth Newts
2 Male Smooth Newt caught in bottle traps
Smooth newt eggs and GCN eggs on both leaves and egg strips
All in all a fantastic session, with everyone coming away with some good Amphibian knowledge.
If you wish to join us on surveys like this then please become a member and email us at
NottsARG Amphibian's Officer
Well since the new committee was formed this year, the Nottinghamshire branch of the ARG has been extremely busy.
We have a very active amphibian team that have been working on Toad patrols, Toad Patrol mapping and engaging volunteers on these.
The team has also been busy out and about surveying the amphibians around the area, as recording these animals, wherever they may be, is crucial to providing the information which can hopefully drive measures in conserving these animals.
The amphibian team has been very successful in training up enthusiastic volunteers, and having joined one of these sessions, I can see what an amazing job they are doing.
Our top amphibian expert, Maiya Evans is proving to be a great asset to the team, and with the help of her Dad, Cameron, they are doing an amazing job.
With all the amphibian work going off that doesn't mean the reptiles are being overlooked.....
We have collaborated this year with National Trust and have just completed setting up some survey transects on their land.
Also we have set up more transects close to the National Trust site in conjunction with Forestry England.
Our main reptile focus is the Slow Worm, as being a very secretive reptile, it can be hard to gauge where they are, and one of the best ways to locate these animals is survey refuges and surveys.
We are hoping to have a reptile event soon, keep an eye out for updates on social media.
For now I will leave you with some images from the first quarter of the year.
Chair - NottsARG
Frog spawn seen as early as 18th Feb. ~ 2 weeks earlier than last year...
you can record your spawn sighting here PondNet Spawn Survey 2023 - Freshwater Habitats TrustFreshwater Habitats Trust
and here Record - Record Pool
Nottinghamshire ARG will have a stall at Sherwood Pines on the 14th October 2023, if you fancy a day out, why not come and visit us between 9:30am and 3:30pm.
Come and ask questions, see what projects you can get involved in, talk to our committee members about how you can help your local amphibians and reptiles and see what we have planned for the next few years.
We look forward to seeing you!
The Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Entomological Society’s show returns at Brackenhurst University (NG25 0QF), after a gap due to the Covid pandemic. The event starts at 10:30am and finishes at 4:30pm.
This free one day indoor event is open to wildlife groups and organisations across the East Midlands. Normally there are displays, live exhibits, talks and items for sale. The event is wheelchair accessible and the café will be open for refreshments.
Nottinghamshire ARG and Derbyshire ARG will have a joint stall, with exhibits and information on amphibians and reptiles. Feel free to pop along and say hello!
While we may publish some events here, full info and joining instructions will be on the Facebook Group (link below)
We will be running a range of events across the county, introduction to surveys, habitat management etc.
Please note all events are for NARG members only - but it's easy to join!
Throughout the year the group runs various projects and events that members can join us. With amphibians and reptiles on the decline throughout the world, their conservation is even more vital than ever before listed below are few ways you can help Nottinghamshire's amphibians and reptiles, all of our events are open to anyone, no matter what level of experience you have, even if you have non!
Members - events published on social media
Setting up survey sites
In order to gain an understanding into the distribution of our herps, we need to set new sites up as well as surveying already existing sites. Members are able to join on these to learn how we set sites up in order to monitor populations, sites where we find no amphibians and reptiles are just as important as those that have large populations and provides an insight into how we can manage areas for these species numbers to increase.
Occasionally we offer evening ID and survey training where you will be taught by some of our enthusiastic committee members, these offer opportunities to learn new skills and meet new people! Throughout the year we also have in field training for both amphibians and reptiles, members can learn new ways of surveying, why we survey and how records are beneficial.
Reptile surveys are carried out regularly and are published on our survey members Whatsapp group, with all of our sites being sensitive we do not publicly publish their locations to prevent unnecessary disturbance. These usually take place early morning and consist of visual and refuge survey methods, they offer a chance to practice your ID skills and habitat recognition.
Amphibian surveys aren't carried out as regularly as our reptiles surveys, but we try and offer them as and when we can. Like our reptile sites, we do not publicly publish their locations to prevent unnecessary disturbance. Amphibian surveys are usually carried on sites that hold all four of our local amphibians, they are carried out late at night and members can learn ID skills, survey methods such as torchlight and egg searching as well as habitat recognition.
After the survey season has finished, the year starts to become quiet, and although our amphibians and reptiles are resting, our members are not! Winter provides the perfect time to clear those areas that become inaccessible due to vegetation, many of our sites need clearing annually to keep the areas suitable for our species. These days consist of cutting down scrubland, creating log and scrub piles while allowing areas for reptiles to bask.
As the weather gets warmer in February and March, our amphibians start to migrate to their local ponds. Often this means that they have to cross man made barriers like roads to breed, unfortunately this means there is often a high casualty rate. Volunteers head out during the evenings with a bucket, highvis and torch and save those amphibians from the roads, placing them next to their ponds, we have a few sites across Nottinghamshire, so please get in contact to find your local patrol.
These events provide NARG to reach a wider audience and educate the public on the importance of amphibians and reptiles and how they can help. These events are usually free to attend and will be published on all social media as well as our website.
Non of these events require a certain time commitment, so even if you attend one event thats a great help to us! If you do wish to find out more about any of these events, please email us at NottsARG@hotmail.com.
How can we help you?
There maybe many ways you can help us, but we can also help you!
Have you seen something but don't know what it is?
Are toads crossing the road near you. And you want to help them?
Do you want us to check a site where you think there may be amphibians or reptiles?
Are you worried about snakes in your garden? (Don't be as they will be harmless Grass snakes or harmless Slow worms)
Please contact via email if you wish to help us out or if we can help you any way. We may take a few days to respond as we are all volunteers!
If you have any enquiries about amphibians and reptiles in your local area, or Nottinghamshire in general, we would love to hear from you.
Please find ways of getting in contact below:
For sightings, event details and members chat, please see our members only Facebook Group