RAUK - Archived Forum - Wall Lizards - Shoreham

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Wall Lizards - Shoreham:

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Iowarth
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Joined: 12 Apr 2004
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Posted: 31 Aug 2005

Anyone in the Sussex area may be concerned to learn of a threat to a small proportion of the Wall Lizard colony at Shoreham. This is a long-standing naturalised colony of some 30 years standing thriving in a habitat where it usefully fills an available ecological niche with no threat to native species. In one place a local resident built a wall, with cavities and access specifically for the lizards which they have happily adopted. Unfortunately, he built this on land which he had negotiated the purchase of from Adur District Council but they reneged prior to completion of the deal and are now insisting the wall be demolished. Thre is no support for this action locally and considerable concern at the potential damage to the lizards.

While these are an alien species, many of us would not wish to see them harmed nor to see an eminently suitable piece of habitat destroyed for no better reason than a council's apparent bloody-mindedness.

If anyone would wish to oppose the proposed destruction the council officer responsible is

Mr J Cook

Head of Legal & Democratic Services

Adur District Council

Civic Centre

Ham Road

Shoreham-by-Sea

West Sussex

BN43 6PR

email: jeremy.cook@adur.gov.uk

While a duty of care might be implied by The EU Habitats Directive (Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora), 1992, there is no direct legal protection for this species - arguably a good thing but I am sure no-one would wish to see them needlessly harmed by destruction of an unintrusive and, in fact, extremely attractive and suitable wall.

Location of wall: 56 Old Fort Road, Shoreham BN43 5 HA

 


Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
snudz
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Joined: 09 Jan 2007
No. of posts: 6


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Posted: 10 Jan 2007

Well it looks like the council backed down (or an agreement was reached) because the house is surrounded by a "slate" wall that looks great for lizards.  Gonna have to take another look when things get warmer.

 

Andy


herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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Posted: 14 Mar 2007

Any other news on this?

 

Regards

 

Jon


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
Iowarth
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Posted: 19 Mar 2007

Hi Jon

I have dropped an email to the wall owners and will let you know the result.

Chris


Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
snudz
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Joined: 09 Jan 2007
No. of posts: 6


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Posted: 28 Mar 2007

Hi guys,

I had a quick look today as it's been fine and sunny for a couple of days.  I met the lady of the house as she came back from walking the dog and tried to convince her that the guy with the binoculars outside her house was just interested in her lizards......  "Oh, there's loads of them." she said.

Had a quick look and spotted 5 adults so things are looking good.

 

Andy.


Vicar
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Joined: 02 Sep 2004
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Posted: 28 Mar 2007
Cheers for the update Andy !

Don't suppose you got any lizard or 'habitat' photos did you ? :P

Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
snudz
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Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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Posted: 29 Mar 2007

Hi Steve,

I grabbed my camera on the way out, only for the battery to die after one poor shot over at the fort!!  But don't worry, I'll be back there soon for another go. 

BTW I saw at least a dozen adults at the fort and a juvenile.  Is there anything specifically that you want for your survey that I can do next time I go over there?

Andy


Vicar
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Joined: 02 Sep 2004
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Posted: 29 Mar 2007
Andy,

We know the status of the site, but confirmation that juveniles are present helps. I could use some pics of typical habitat, as well as idea of the current range for the animals.

Link for the sort of idea of what I'd like to put together.

If you're feeling really adventurous, you could have a stab at a population estimate, based on observed densities of animals, and a guesstimate of suitable habitat area.

Naturally I won't turn down any good animal pictures either, but we do at least have some Shoreham animal pics, thanks to Iowarth.

Ta...Steve

Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
Iowarth
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Joined: 12 Apr 2004
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Posted: 29 Mar 2007

Firstly, Jon, I have had no reply to my email re the threatened wall destruction at Shoreham Beach - I will try to check personally at some point.

Secondly, Steve, with this site you may have some (= a lot) of difficulty re "typical" habitat as they use quite a variety. The area concerned consists of a shingle beach, south facing, with rows of houses and bungalows backing directly onto it. Vegetation on the beach is what you might expect, predominantly Sea Kale and Sea Holly varying from dense to sparse clumps. Here and there are small (mostly garden) waste dumps and the occasional areas of concrete (sea defence) remnants. Although the lizards are found over much of the shingle area it is these parts which tend to form the foci on the beach itself. The greatest density, however, takes advantage of the boundaries between beach and gardens which consist of an amazing variety of structures (loosely speaking, fences and walls) in all states of repair, together with the gardens themselves. The wall which formed the original subject of this thread is the only one, so far as I am aware, designed and built intentionally to give the lizards refugia therein. Some animals have migrated into the front gardens. At the extreme Eastern end is the old Fort. This is a large flint wall structure with walls between 18" and 3' thick with an inner core of loose rubble. A number of holes in the wall give access to that core and provide refugia - largely in the southern and eastern elevations. In this respect it is probably the only truly typical Wall lizard habitat within the colony. Conversely it is surrounded largely by longish and generally damp grass which is extremely atypical of their habitat.

Egg laying/incubation appears to be largely dependent on placing eggs under stones in various places.

The colony now extends along between 1.5 and 2km of beach. Expansion has been steady and seems set to continue. The boundary (the sea!) has been reached at the eastern end. They MAY, however, migrate around this to the north facing river bank although habitat is generally sub-optimum. At about the 2km mark to the west there is a 300m or so stretch of relatively sparse shingle with no houses etc backing onto it which MAY present a barrier in that direction.

So far as we are aware there were no native species here. About 1km further to the west there is a very substantial Common Lizard colony but there is a marked difference in habitat here with large areas of rank vegetation, a quite damp area surrounding a lagoon. This suits the Commons but would be sub-optimal for the Walls - just as the eastern beach is t'opposite way round!

I would find it totally impossible to estimate the colony size. But I have seen as many as 100 lizards in about a 200m stetch so it is substantial - possbily in the thousands by now. Certainly it is thriving - I haven't visited this year yet but last year evidenced all life stages/ages in abundance and I see no reason to expect this to have deteriorated.

Most of this area is, by the way, a designated nature reserve although this is aimed largely at the Flora which is not only typical of the best of shingle beach flora but also includes one or two very rare species.

I hope this assists Andy in his surveying and you with your recording.


Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Vicar
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Joined: 02 Sep 2004
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Posted: 29 Mar 2007

Cheers Chris,

Some very useful information in that post, which I hope you won't mind too much if I plagiarise some elements :P

I'm very happy to demonstrate the variety of habitats used by showing examples. I guess that picking examples that are atypical elsewhere would be a good start.

Steve


Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
snakey
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Joined: 14 Sep 2007
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Posted: 14 Sep 2007

hi all, i'm new to this forum, although i did email chris a while ago about the shoreham pm colony. since then i have visited the site twice(quite a trek really from oldham) the last time being 2 weeks ago. i can confirm that the colony is thriving and quite extensive

snakey39341.2509375
snakey
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Joined: 14 Sep 2007
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Posted: 14 Sep 2007
sorry about the image size and page layout, i'm a bit new to this
Vicar
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Joined: 02 Sep 2004
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Posted: 14 Sep 2007
Hi Philip, and welcome to the forum !

Lovely clear photographs. I'm sure people on the forum will mention that it is illegal to release Wall lizards back into the wild once caught, so we'll assume you took those animals home with you.

I've just received information that suggests that the Shoreham colony has 'broken out' of the Shoreham area, and it looks as if they're travelling westwards along the railway line, reaching Lancing initially, and now Worthing !

Have you checked out the Wall lizard pages on the SARG website ? (www link on my signature).

Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
snakey
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Joined: 14 Sep 2007
No. of posts: 30


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Posted: 14 Sep 2007

yes i'm well aware of the laws regarding re-release Steve, and the photographed individuals (caught by my much more nimble son) now reside with us in an outdoor vivarium. incidentally a female which i managed to noose on my first shoreham visit in july layed 8 fertile eggs all of which hatched and are doing fine. more photos will follow as i have just bought a new digital slr.

     p.s. i didn't mean that my familly and i live in outdoor vivaria!!!


snakey
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Joined: 14 Sep 2007
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Posted: 15 Sep 2007

it appears that in spite of the relatively poor summer we have had, the shoreham podarcis colony has had no trouble in replenishing itself. my son and i observed this years offspring in early july and at the end of august. the neonates appear to inhabit much more vegetated areas than adults and we rarely observed them on the fort walls or any other elevated positions for that matter. most were seen scurrying in and out of the sea kale patches. these occur in about a 30m wide strip adjacent to the gardens running from the fort end of the beach. we observed lizards of all age groups for well over a kilometer westwards from the fort.judging from the relative abundance of lizards within even this relatively small area, the population must be well up in 4 figures


- Wall Lizards - Shoreham

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