Journal archives for January 2021

January 07, 2021

January 6, 2021 - South side

January 6, 2021 (Wednesday), 11:39am - 1:43pm.
Coverage: Aldercroft Heights intersection to first stop sign.

68 dead newts (of which 3 were juveniles), 0 live newts. Many more dead newts found on the side of the road further from the reservoir. A majority were relatively fresh.

Other roadkill: One very mangled, gelatinous creature, which I'm guessing is a frog.

Weather: Mid 50s, mostly cloudy, started to sprinkle as I left.

Traffic: 22 cars; 7 bikes; 3 pedestrians

One of the dead newts was curious, on the side of the road, not flattened or mangled, but belly damaged, and mostly dried hard, almost feels petrified. I brought them home to finish petrifying.

After spending the better part of an hour putting together these observations, and fixing the way-too-many whose locations were bad, my iNat browser tab blew a gasket and I have to start over, so will get these posted when I have another chance.

Posted on January 07, 2021 05:54 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 16 comments | Leave a comment

January 17, 2021

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.

Posted on January 17, 2021 16:40 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 4 comments | Leave a comment

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
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:

Posted on January 17, 2021 17:48 by merav merav | 1 comment | Leave a comment

January 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:

Posted on January 18, 2021 04:11 by karangattu karangattu | 2 comments | Leave a comment

January 08, 2021

January 7, 2021- north side

98 dead newts (of which 3 were juveniles), 0 live newts.
January 7th, 2021 (Thursday) 10:20am-12:20pm. Meant to get out Wednesday morning but had some knee issues.
Weather: Completely overcast with fog, 54F. Rained the previous afternoon.
Other roadkill: 1 Jerusalem cricket.
Coverage: County parking lot to second stop sign.
Rainfall: MTD 0.46in, YTD 3.61in (per
Traffic: 23 cars, 14 parked cars, 6 bicycles, 3 walkers. Quietest day in a long time.
Midpen study: Pit traps were emptied before I arrived, and there were no roadkill newts in their road sections.

Hardly any of the newts were fresh, most were rehydrated crackers.
My observations for today:

Newt map (with obvious "holes" where the midpen study plots are!):

Posted on January 08, 2021 03:50 by sea-kangaroo sea-kangaroo | 6 comments | Leave a comment

January 09, 2021

Jan 9, 2021 - North Side

January 9th (Saturday) 2021 08:15 am -11:34 am
Weather: 42F, mostly sunny

Documented 52 dead newts, 2 of which were juveniles. No live newts observed.
Did not find any dead newts on HTH survey sites since they were ahead of me. They did mention when they passed by that they found a few dead ones and 4 live males in the pitfall traps(all heading towards the water).

Other documented roadkill:
4 centipedes, 1 Jerusalem cricket, 1 moth

Also spotted a dead Western Screen Owl on the road(but it was not due to roadkill, it seemed this one fell out of the sky)

Documented human activity:
Moving Cars: 128
Pedestrian: 52
Bikes: 48
Motor bikes: 1
Trucks: 0
Parked cars: 71

Notes: The road had a lot of traffic today, can be because it was a sunny day but can also because I saw a lot of beginners on the row boats in the reservoir(Introductory session maybe)
3 hikers stopped and asked me about what I was doing. One person said he loves the newt patrol. One person said he had stayed in that area for more than 25 years and he used to see a lot of newts and cottontail rabbits but does not see them as often anymore. And he thought we were doing the lord's work documenting this tragedy. One hiker asked what should she do if she found a dead newt on a trail, I said just leave it as is since we are only documenting roadkill. She thought the HTH buckets were to dump dead newts.

Also I was scanning car tires for signs that deep treads might carry the newts some distance. And in one instance of a truck with huge tires, I found some evidence.


Link to all my observations:

Posted on January 09, 2021 23:35 by karangattu karangattu | 9 comments | Leave a comment

January 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!

Posted on January 21, 2021 03:01 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 4 comments | Leave a comment

January 02, 2021

January 2, 2021

Jan 2nd, 2021 - Southern Sector
Saturday 9:08-11:20 am: 17 dead newts found, no live newts
Weather - overcast/partial sun. Very light sprinkle for 2-3 min.

I documented 17 dead newts, no juveniles. Most of them were very fresh, others were a bit more weathered, one the color of mud. 12 of the observations were made on the uphill side of the road, 5 on the reservoir side.
Other roadkills: 1 skunk and a banana slug.
Coverage: Southern sector - the Aldercroft Heights to the second stop sign.
Fairly light traffic, when compared to the northern sector - Traffic: 23 cars ( including 2 Ranger trucks, 2 HTH Biologists, 5 bikes, 7 pedestrians, and 2 cars parked by the road.

*Edited to fix date.

Posted on January 02, 2021 22:07 by joescience1 joescience1 | 3 comments | Leave a comment

Jan 2, 2021 - North Side

Conducted survey of North side 08:10 am-10:23 am. Weather was 49F, cloudy with a light drizzle. Rain MTD 0.14 in, YTD 3.29 in per
Coverage: north part - the county park parking lot till the second stop sign.

Documented 20 dead newts, 1 of which seemed like a juvenile. No live newts observed.

3 dead newts was observed in HTH survey location (Note I have attached another pic in the observation in the style Merav requested, also in the image it mentions which study site it was)

Other documented roadkill: None observed.

Documented human activity:
Moving Cars: 48
Pedestrian: 20
Bikes: 1
Trucks: 0
Parked cars: 23

Notes: I documented dead newts in the study sites on both sides of the road before the HTH team removed it. When I was returning, I met them at one of the sites(site# 3) and the number of dead newts they found on those sites matched the number I had documented. They also said it was strange that they did not see any live newts in their pitfall traps today.(For sites 1 through 3)

A link to all my observations:

Posted on January 02, 2021 22:33 by karangattu karangattu | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 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.

Posted on January 11, 2021 02:00 by anudibranchmom anudibranchmom | 1 comment | Leave a comment