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, Slow Worm 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)
See previous newsletters here:
I am sure everyone is getting tired of all this rain and feeling rather depressed by it all.
However, every cloud can have a silver lining.
Cloudy skies at this time of year tend to lead to milder nights, which with a bit of rain can lead to ideal conditions to see amphibians starting to return to ponds and other water bodies to breed.
Luckily I managed to build 2 small wildlife ponds in my garden about 4 years ago, and over time they have been populated by Smooth Newts and the odd Common Frog.
I can honestly say, it's something every avid wildlife conservationist/enthusiast should have in their garden.
On mild nights I usually go out in the garden with a good torch to see if there are any movements, and January is usually the month the Smooth Newts return to my ponds.
Tonight I have seen 5 Smooth Newts,3 male,2 female (last year my maximum count was 26 in April/May)
Other amphibians as well as newts can also be seen on mild nights in January, so keep your eyes out, and watch your steps in the dark as amphibians can travel quite a distance to return back to a breeding pond, which may mean crossing roads(Toad patrols coming soon) pavements or the garden path and lawn.
Keep those eyes peeled.
Some phone images from tonight's 'Amphibian garden watch'
Kevin .NottsARG Chair
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in some way with Nottinghamshire ARG this year. Whether it has been through surveying, committee work, spreading the word, donations through membership etc or by some other means that I am failing to mention, thank you.
I also would like to thank the Forestry England team(especially Amy Chandler) , the National Trust Team and the Newstead & Annesley CP team who have been extremely supportive of the group and have done habitat improvements to benefit our native reptile and amphibians.
We are also looking forward to working with other partners in 2024, NottsBAG, Notts City Council and NWT to name just a few.
We have some plans of action for the new year with Toad Patrols being the first focus of the year, but we really need more people involved as more and more areas are opening up to us that will benefit our local herpetofauna.
Volunteer organisations always find it tough to find dedicated people to spare their valuable time and we hope we can find more like minded people in the new year and if you know someone please ask them if they would like to get involved.
We aim to have the AGM sometime in January and we would be looking at an online Microsoft Teams or Zoom meeting, I will be in touch soon when a date is finalised.
For now though, thank you again for your support, and I wish you and your families, a very Merry Christmas.
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
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
Upcoming events will be listed here.