Journal archives for March 2021

March 09, 2021

March 3, 2021 - North side

March 3, 2021 (Wednesday), 1:15pm - 2:30pm
Coverage: Jones parking to second stop sign

4 dead newts, none juveniles

Weather: 60sF, clear, dry, hadn't rained in a while

Traffic: 22 moving cars, 12 parked cars, 4 quarry trucks, 4 bikes, 1 pedestrian

A quick walk this time, hardly any newts. I did have a longish conversation with a cyclist who was curious and had many questions, so it was fun to engage with someone in that way.

Sorry it took so long to get this posted! Not much of an excuse with only 4...

Posted on March 09, 2021 04:44 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 11, 2021

March 10, 2021 - North side

March 10, 2021 (Wednesday), 1:15-2:45pm

53 dead newts (2 of which were juveniles), 2 live newts!
Other roadkill: 1 toad

Weather: Rained this morning and last night, a sprinkle when I started, partly cloudy and in the 50s the rest of the time, beautiful dramatic clouds.

Traffic: 25 moving vehicles, 8 parked, 4 quarry trucks, 1 bicycle, 1 jogger

Surprisingly few newts, given that it rained pretty well last night, mostly fresh. The two live newts were on the reservoir side of the road, moving away from the reservoir, and both appeared to be male.

Posted on March 11, 2021 00:54 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 19, 2021

March 17, 2021 - North side

March 17, 2021 (Wednesday), 1:15-2:45pm

50 dead newts (1 of which was a juvenile), no live newts.

Weather: Cool and partly cloudy, had been dry for a few days, rain came the next day.

Traffic: 27 moving vehicles, 11 parked, 5 quarry trucks, 11 bicycles, 1 pedestrian

Another fairly quiet patrol, not much to report. Most of the newts were dry. Not a noticeable difference in mortality on one side of the road or the other.

Posted on March 19, 2021 18:29 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 24, 2021

Limekiln-Priest Rock, Sierra Azul - 3/23/2021

All of a sudden today I felt silly and regretful for not keeping nature notes here over the years. No time like now to start! This will be very informal and often quick and dirty, serving as an external brain for all of the notable things I'm sure I'll remember, and want to, but usually go in one neuron and right out the other otherwise.

Today's walk was the loop around Limekiln-Priest Rock at Lexington/Sierra Azul, and again it was both windy and wonderful. There's a lot of Ceanothus cuneatus (buckbrush) that's totally going off right now, the smell was delightfully carried by the wind and accompanied me through much of the walk. Other flowers too, especially notable were quite a few patches of warrior's plume and lomatium, along with the usual early suspects of shooting stars, hound's tongue, milkmaids and a lot of maidenhair ferns. Other chaparral plants are in their tender growing phase, and smell wonderful, not bitter, like pitcher sage and artemisia. Also on the olfactory front, mountain mahogany is blooming, which isn't at all showy but has its own interesting scent here and there.

Posted on March 24, 2021 00:43 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Bird happenings at home - 3/23/2021

I've lived in this place in Campbell CA for around 6 years now, and this is the first year I've seen, really mostly heard, such a large flock of birds hanging out, and they've been here for several weeks now. My guess is that it's a mix of American goldfinches, House finches and Pine siskins, plus possibly others. They are very garrulous for a long time in the mornings especially, filling one or more of the large live Oaks in the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the Western Screech Owl couple is back in the neighborhood and in our owl box, I saw them mating several times, so maybe this year they'll create offspring (which they don't seem to have last year). Their ritual has been like this:

  • After sunset, Lady Owl looks out of the nest box for around 10 minutes.
  • She then leaves, sometimes hanging out on the perch outside of the box, sometimes going elsewhere not too far away, looks around, fluffs and has a good wing stretch for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Around this time, Mr. Owl can be heard, and the two of them have a chat.
  • Lady and Mr. Owl get together for a spell, often out of sight, occasionally in a different tree in the yard.
  • They fly off individually.

By then it's dark and I generally go inside. I have heard them occasionally in the middle of the night. Hoping for owlets!

Posted on March 24, 2021 00:53 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 1 comment | Leave a comment

March 31, 2021

March 30, 2021 - North side

March 30, 2021 (Tuesday), 2:20-3:35pm

9 dead newts (0 juveniles), no live newts.
1 dead fence lizard

Weather: Warm, high 70s, clear, has been dry for too long.

Traffic: 47 moving vehicles, 20 parked, 1 quarry truck, 5 bicycles, 2 pedestrians

All newts were very dry, and a majority not adhered to the road. I wonder what happens if it doesn't rain again, how will they decide to return to their summer homes? Could they end up staying in/around the reservoir?

It's a lovely time to walk around there, the buckbrush is in full bloom, swaths of hillside are covered around Priest Rock and St. Joe's, I can even smell it on the road when the wind is right. And the maples are budding out and loaded with catkins.

Posted on March 31, 2021 04:16 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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