ינואר 27, 2021

January 26, 2021 - North side

January 26, 2021 (Tuesday), 9:00am - 11:15am
Coverage: (Note this is different) Los Gatos rowing club to second stop sign.

8 dead newts, 0 juveniles, 0 live newts.

Other roadkill: one millipede, one worm (I bet @merav logged the worm)

Weather: Chilly, around 50F, mostly sunny to start, with clouds moving in, as a storm system approaches (yay! but hopefully not too much all at once...)

Traffic: 16 cars; 3 bikes; 5 quarry trucks; 1 pedestrian (a very quiet day)

Merav and I started off together at Jones, flagging newts on the first mile of road between Jones and the Los Gatos rowing club for the how-many-are-disappearing experiment. She documented those newts and did the other half of the flagging, while I continued on to do the rest of the usual mid-week survey.

One interesting thing happened regarding the experiment. On my return trip, I checked the flagged newts to see if anything had changed already. I could not find one of the newts that Merav flagged (#16), just looking around the area I'd expect to find it. Looked further to find that it was on the other side and a bit down the road. It was a newt cracker, so easily blown around. While we were texting about how to handle such an event, a quarry truck came along and disappeared the newt, at least from the larger surrounding area I looked for it afterward. So right there may have happened the very thing we're studying.

I had postulated that not a large number of newts disappear, based on their toxicity and being ground into the pavement, such that we generally need to peel them off. But then there are, of course, other circumstances (like getting stuck to tires), along with those who go through enough of a dry phase to turn into crackers and can simply blow away, like this one.

פורסם ב ינואר 27, 2021 03:38 לפנה"צ על־ידי newtpatrol newtpatrol | 2 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 25, 2021

January 24th, 2021

Sunday 8:40-11:30m: 48 dead newts found, 3 juveniles. no live newts.
Weather - cloudy, very cold. It drizzled for about an hour. It rained on Friday after a long time, and today started raining again in the afternoon. Rain MTD 0.93 in, YTD 4.08 in per http://www.weathercat.net/wxraindetail.php
I documented 48 dead newts, 3 of them juveniles. 2 of them were tiny, and very dry. Most of the newts I saw were quite fresh. Two of them were still moving when I removed them from the road. I think one of those got hit by a bike - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68572158
Other roadkills: centipedes, millipedes, a few earthworms, and a piece of the famous skunk.
Near the Soza house I saw 15 turkeys by the road. We continued together until we got to the eucalyptus forest, where they took the side road through the loacked gate. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68605359
Coverage: south part - from Aldercroft Heights Rd to the first stop sign.
It was very quiet: Traffic: 45 cars (including Midpen), 34 bikes, 19 pedestrians, and 3 cars parked by the road.
I saw the HTH team on their way to #6, after I already passed it. I didn't see anything in their traps or dead near the traps.
A link to all my observations from the survey:

פורסם ב ינואר 25, 2021 06:29 לפנה"צ על־ידי merav merav | 3 comments | הוספת תגובה

January 23, 2021 (Saturday) - North Side

Conducted survey of North side 840am - 1pm (Thanks @karangattu for switching with me). Weather was 48-50F, cloudy in the morning to sunny as time passed. Rain MTD 0.82 in, YTD 0.82 in, Season Total 3.97 in, per http://www.weathercat.net/wxraindetail.php

After quite a dry spell it finally rained yesterday and last night for a total of 0.34 in.

Documented 73 dead newts, 1 of which was juvenile. No live newts observed.

Other roadkill:
12 earthworms
3 millipedes
1 frog
1 Strigama
1 Jerusalem cricket
3 unknown

Documented human activity:
202 moving vehicles and one moving motorcycle
132 parked vehicles
87 bicyclists
95 pedestrians (3 with horses)

Of note:
A couple of researchers joined me today to collect tissue samples for genetic, disease, and microbiome studies - they sampled 10 newts. Depending on how their work goes with those 10 newts, they may be interested in collecting more samples at a later date.

Most of the dead newts were fresh, which makes sense since it rained the day before after not raining for a while. It was pretty heart-breaking to see, but because they were so fresh, it was very clear that several of the newts were displaying their defensive posture called an unken reflex, in which they arch their backs to show their bright orange undersides to warn predators that they're toxic.

A slight distinction between CA newts and rough-skinned newts is that in the unken reflex, the CA newt's tail goes straight out and does not curve towards its head whereas in rough-skinned newts the tail tip curves toward the head and sometimes curls. Examples can be seen here for CA newt: http://www.californiaherps.com/salamanders/pages/t.t.torosa.html and here for rough-skinned newt: http://www.californiaherps.com/salamanders/pages/t.granulosa.html.

Here's a good example of a roadkill CA newt in unken reflex:

I don't have a good one in which I'm confident it's a rough-skinned newt, but I'm wondering if this might be one: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68574641

I'm not saying we use tail position as a main way to ID these, but I thought it was interesting (while also sad) and wanted to share. Seeing them this fresh made me realize that the newt roadkill we're seeing that are curved might be that these poor critters were in their defensive posture before they died, and knowing that makes it that much more depressing for me.

One group of 3 people and one other person asked me about the newt studies going on, so I talked about the community science project and the need for newt crossings like elevated road segments or newt tunnels. Brought up the idea of seasonal road closures and folks did not seem supportive of that even though they were shocked to hear 5,000 newts are killed every year. But there was support for newt crossings. One person had never heard of iNaturalist and said he'll sign up and check out the Lexington newt projects.

And last, to end on a more upbeat note, I saw a beautiful alive and healthy-looking red-shouldered hawk while conducting the survey.

פורסם ב ינואר 25, 2021 12:36 לפנה"צ על־ידי tyap tyap | 5 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 22, 2021

January 21, 2021 (Thursday): South Side

January 21, 2021 (Thursday): 7:45 am - 9:30 am
Coverage: Aldercroft Road to stop sign.
9 dead newts, none fresh. One was a juvenile.
Other roadkill: None
Pit Traps: Empty
Weather: Sunny, started at 48 degrees F, no precipitation (maybe tomorrow though)
Traffic: 12 vehicles, no pedestrians.
Garbage: Picked up a bag of lead fishing weights out of habit; I do the same thing along our coastline.

פורסם ב ינואר 22, 2021 02:33 לפנה"צ על־ידי anudibranchmom anudibranchmom | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 21, 2021

January 20, 2021 - North side

January 20, 2021 (Wednesday), 1:07pm - 2:20pm
Coverage: Jones parking lot to second stop sign.

2 dead newts, 0 juveniles, 0 live newts. Both found on the side of the road further from the reservoir, and very dry.

Other roadkill: None noticed

Weather: Low 70s, mostly sunny, still hasn't rained - MORE RAIN DANCE!

Traffic: 42 cars; 8 bikes; 2 quarry trucks; 2 pedestrians

It goes quickly when there are hardly any newts!

פורסם ב ינואר 21, 2021 03:01 לפנה"צ על־ידי newtpatrol newtpatrol | 4 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 18, 2021

January 17, 2021 - North Side

Sunday, 8:15 am - 10:30 am.
Weather: 49F, sunny.

Documented 21 dead newts, no juveniles. No live newts observed.
Found 1 alive one in one of the pitfall traps(Randomly looked at a few buckets, not all of them) and 2 dead ones in the HTH survey sites, since my day started earlier than theirs. When I met them on my way back they were at survey site # 2 and said they had found 1 dead, 1 alive. They said since rains are expected next week, the numbers will rise next week.

Other documented roadkill: Jerusalem Cricket

HTH Survey site observations:

Documented human activity:
Moving Cars: 87
Pedestrian: 50
Bikes: 28
Motor bikes: 0
Trucks: 0
Parked cars: 46

Notes:One of the observation was just outside the entrance for the rowing club. This one was a crazy one to document since the clock was inching towards 10' o clock and there were so many frantic parents rushing to drop their kids for their rowing lessons. As soon as I would squat, cars started coming in all directions(with parents leaving after dropping their kid), so I had to wait for a while before all the parents had dropped their kids to take a decent photo.

2 people stopped to ask about what I was doing. Of which one inquired about the use of the buckets that HTH had in place at their survey sites. Passed by 2 cars from Santa Clara County Parks and they flashed the peace sign hand on making eye contact.

Link to all my observations for today:

פורסם ב ינואר 18, 2021 04:11 לפנה"צ על־ידי karangattu karangattu | 2 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 17, 2021

January 16th, 2021 - South Side

Saturday 9:20-12:35 pm: 34 dead newts found, 2-3 juveniles. no live newts.
Weather - sunny. Cold at first, then really warm! It's been a while since the last rain... Rain MTD 0.48 in, YTD 3.63 in per http://www.weathercat.net/wxraindetail.php
I documented 34 dead newts, 2 of them juveniles (I think there was another one). Some were dry, others were a bit more fresh. I found a few tails on the road, that were obviously part of a newt once. @truthseqr was kind enough to compare them with the previous survey, and found out that only one of them was a duplicate (and therefore deleted).
Other roadkills: a few Jerusalem Crickets, centipedes, millipedes, snail, slug, and a piece of the famous skunk.
Coverage: south part - from Aldercroft Heights Rd to the first stop sign.
Busier than I expected, mainly because of 2 car races - Traffic: 64 cars (including SJJJ), 5 motorcycles, 70 bikes, 9 pedestrians, and 4 cars parked by the road. Seems like most cars drive north, and most bikes go south.
I saw the HTH team on their way to #6, after I already passed it. I didn't see anything in their traps or dead near the traps.
I hiked down to Soda Spring creek to see if I can spot any newts, but I didn't see any. I thought it looked like good newt habitat, with fresh water flow, and quiet spots.
A link to all my observations from the survey:

פורסם ב ינואר 17, 2021 05:48 אחה"צ על־ידי merav merav | 1 comment | הוספת תגובה

January 14, 2021 - North side

January 14, 2021 (Thursday), 1:07pm - 2:49pm.
Coverage: Jones parking lot to second stop sign.

32 dead newts (of which 2 may be juveniles), 0 live newts. Again, more dead newts found on the side of the road further from the reservoir. A majority were dry, except in the moist recesses of the road.

Other roadkill: None noticed

Weather: Low 70s, mostly sunny, still hasn't rained a while - RAIN DANCE!

Traffic: 39 cars; 12 bikes; 2 quarry trucks; 0 pedestrians

I tried a different camera app (OpenCamera), and to my surprise had only one newt's location be a bit off the road, none ended up in Bear Creek Redwoods. Not sure if it's due to the app or something about being on the north side.

Not much to report otherwise. It's been a long time since I've done the north side. It feels shorter, but also like there's so much more traffic, and blind curves. Always tradeoffs.

פורסם ב ינואר 17, 2021 04:40 אחה"צ על־ידי newtpatrol newtpatrol | 4 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 14, 2021

January 13, 2021- south side

14 dead newts (0 juveniles), 0 live newts.
January 13th, 2021 (Wednesday) 1:15pm-4:30pm.
Weather: Nice clear day, mid/high 60s. No rain for many days prior.
Other roadkill: 1 large millipede.
Rainfall: MTD 0.47in, YTD 3.62in (per http://www.weathercat.net/wxraindetail.php?year=2021)
Traffic: 55 motor vehicles, 7 parked vehicles, 22 bicycles (actually a fairly quiet day, I was just out longer than the usual two hours)
Midpen study: Pit traps were emptied before I arrived, and there were no roadkill newts in their road sections.

Few newts today; this might be my all-time lowest count (and a sharp contrast to last week when I did the north side after a day of rain). A few fresh/ish, but mostly old or dried-out crackers.

My newt observations for today: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?on=2021-01-13&place_id=any&taxon_id=27816&user_id=sea-kangaroo&verifiable=any

Newt map:

פורסם ב ינואר 14, 2021 08:28 לפנה"צ על־ידי sea-kangaroo sea-kangaroo | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 11, 2021

Jan 9 - South Side

40 dead newts, 4 juveniles, 0 live newts.
Jan 9, 2021 (Saturday) ~8:45-11:00 am
Weather: Dry and sunny in the mid 50s. No rain for many days.
Other roadkill: Flat skunk GONE!
Coverage: Aldercroft parking to first stop sign
Traffic: 16 cars, very few considering its the weekend.
Zero commercial trucks.
Pit traps: Empty.

Two conversations:

1) Female runner who adores the newts and had a million questions and wanted to know how to help. Asked to take photo of me (!) because of our snazzy vests, so thank you @merav for increasing the public visibility of our project. You might consider arming us with some sort of business cards with a link "for more information and how you can help" since this seems to happen regularly.

2) Friendly chat with the biologist from HTH at the south pit traps. He's a nice guy; went to Cal Poly SLO where he studied burrowing owls. In addition to working for HTH, he's working on his masters at SJSU with a project on red-legged frogs and CA tiger salamanders. He mentioned that the biggest newt massacres he's ever seen occurred when it was raining at night AND there was an accident on Highway 17, which detoured all the highway traffic onto Alma Bridge Road. I'm not sure where you'd find highway closure data, but it might be interesting to try and correlate those dates/times with the bigger mortality spikes we observed from previous years.

פורסם ב ינואר 11, 2021 02:00 לפנה"צ על־ידי anudibranchmom anudibranchmom | 1 comment | הוספת תגובה