The aim of this group is to understand and protect the amphibians and reptiles of the Wirral peninsular through organizing training, raising awareness, surveys, habitat management tasks and other conservation activities.
The Wirral Peninsular has historically been habitat of Sand Lizard, Natterjack, Great Crested Newt, Common Frog, Common Toad, Smooth Newt, Palmate Newt, Common Lizard, Slow Worm and Grass Snake. However, developments in the 20th Century has seen species such as the Sand Lizard and Natterjack disappear. Status of other herps have been uncertain, the problem being linked to lack of survey effort and recording.
In 2018, preliminary surveys around Wallasey revealed many new and surprising records for amphibians and reptiles. This was part of the Cheshire & Wirral ARG. However, the size of this district with that county was a bit much, necessitating the formation of a new ARG for Wirral (WiARG) so more surveys and recording can be co-ordinated across this interesting penninsular.
Founding member and acting chair of WiARG, Tom Doherty-Bone, grew up on the Wirral and was frustrated by the lost herpetofauna species and limited opportunities to view the remaining herps in the area. Formation of this new ARG will create the opportunity for local residents in the Wirral to get involved with amphibian and reptile surveys and recording for both enjoyment of these wonderful animals and to aid in their conservation on the Wirral.
The itinerary for 2019 is presently being drawn up, confirmed activities including reptile surveys of the north Wirral coast and amphibian surverys and litter picking at ponds at Central Park Wallasey. Pond creation and monitoring is being planned for a local pocket park in New Brighton for 2019 into 2020. We are going to be involved with the Turtle Tally citizen science project. The possibility for visiting Natterjack sites, and other activities are also being looked into. Suggestions from members are welcomed.
Existing partnerships include the Wirral Ranger Service, the Friends of the North Wirral Coastal Park and Wirral Wildlife.
The present committee consists of: Thomas Doherty-Bone (chair); Jon Bielby (secretary); Frankie Bielby (treasurer); Mike Brown (senior adviser).
The membership fee for 2019-20 is £5, which goes toward conservation activities of the group, such as buying equipment.
Please get in contact if you wish to get involved.
Due to heavy rain forecast for Saturday the 8th June, the planned survey of reptiles at Harrison Park Wallasey has been rescheduled to the following Sunday the 9th.
Same meeting time and place (10 a.m. at carpark off Harrison Drive).
Today's reptile survey cancelled: The cloud cover is letting no sun through, so won't be warming up the refugia. Will reschedule for another day soon.
Last Thursday, Tom, Frankie and James got out to Harrison Park and the weather being bright, we got plenty of Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara), including numerous males with signs of injury that might be masculine combat, but maybe also from predation by corvids. Artificial refugia has now been put out around the area that was burned last year, and the hill where most dog walkers go, no lizards seen yet but there have been incidental reports. Will be an interesting case study.
Today some of us went out to Harrison Park to check under refugia for what was found to be a thriving Common Lizard population last year. We were joined by Vicky Handby from Year of the Environment as we helped to contribute to the City Nature Challenge using the iNaturalist app, attempting to help the Liverpool City Region to compete against the likes of Los Angeles and darkest Manchester.
Unfortunately the weather turned very quickly before we arrived, notably a strong cold wind that dramatically cooled the artificial refugia. We still saw some cool remnant sand dune plants and invertebrates, the site being formerly sand dunes but now rough grassland.
The weather forecast for this Monday's surveys in the North Wirral Coastal Park are looking better, so there will be better chances of meeting lizards, also amphibians. That will be the last day of the City Nature Challenge.
Last Thursday the 18th, the first official meeting of WiARG took place at the WIndsor Close Community Hall in Bebington. This was a general introduction to the amphibians and reptiles of the UK, and their past and present distribution on the Wirral. This was followed by an excursion to the New Ferry Butterfly Park under nightfall, where we were treated to shed loads of Smooth Newts, including many males courting females. A great night. DSCF1656.JPG
Catching the end of the summer, we are going to check under artificial refugia for lizards and hopefully more around the Leasowe Lighthouse side of the North Wirral Coastal Park. There have already been reports of Common Lizard here, but would be good to get decent distribution data. The Friends of North Wirral Coastal Park are particularly interested to see the results of this and specifically requested we survey here.
Meet outside the lighthouse 10 a.m. 23rd September. Bring appropriate footwear and long sturdy trousers as there are plenty of thorns in the grassfields.
As usual, watch out for updates and cancellations on the weather
Harrison Park, Wallasey has not disappointed this year, yielding abundant Common Lizards and their progeny.
We shall be doing one more survey for those who haven't been able to come out and see them. We will probably also wander onto the Red Noses and see if any of 2018's refugia are still there and generally enjoy the outdoors for most of the afternoon, and discuss further projects on this and adjacent sites.
After the surveys and walk, we will be going to the Nelson pub on Grove Road for a social [and maybe catch the Liverpool-Sheffield match, Everton-Man City if staying till 5.30]. (N.B. we are close to Wallasey Grove Road station for those who might want to imbibe a wee tipple and save driving).
Meet at the car park of Harrison Park (off Harrison Drive) at 10 a.m., likely finish by 12:30 when we will go to the pub.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To get an extra survey in before lizards start winding down for winter, meeting Sunday morning, 29th September.
Meet at 10 a.m. by the lighthouse.