Making Homes for Dragons on the Denbighshire Dunes
A short stretch of Denbighshire’s coastline calls itself home to a small population of little Welsh dragons. Since their extinction in the 1960’s and their more recent reintroduction to our dune systems, work has been underway to bring Denbighshire’s sand lizard population back to its full glory.
Recently Denbighshire Countryside Services accompanied by Mick Brummage (county reptile recorder) and some dedicated volunteers headed out to the dunes, to undertake some vital habitat management works.
Work was slightly delayed on the morning due to cooler temperatures than expected. Sand lizards, like all reptiles, are ectothermic and rely on their surrounding environment to regulate their body temperature. When the weather is cool they stay hidden within their burrows, making digging in the sand rather risky. Instead, work was postponed until the weather turned warmer and the lizards were out basking.
The work involved the use of a digger to remove and scape back some of the vegetation which had grown quite dense on the dunes. This was done so that we could expose areas of bare sand and reduce the sizes of the shaded areas. This technique is known as sand patching and provides the sand lizards with additional areas for basking, burrowing and for laying their eggs.
In the more sensitive areas of the dunes and where the digger couldn’t gain access, volunteers used spades to carefully remove the vegetation all whilst keeping a watchful eye out for any basking little lizards.
We are all looking forward to monitoring the dunes with their new sand patches over the coming years can’t wait to see our first little Welsh dragon basking on one of their new sand patches!
Many thanks must go to Mick Brummage for all his guidance and help on the day, Arwyn Parry Construction Services Ltd for their delicate and nature conscientious approach to mechanical sand patching, and of course, our dedicated hardworking group of volunteers who are always there with a smile on their face and ready for work.