January 27, 2020

Newt Survey Monday 1/27/20 - North half

Coverage: North half of Alma Bridge Road, from the parking lot to the stop sign.
Time: 8:30 - 10:30 am
Rainfall: 0.0 so far today. 2.83" MTD, 15.15" YTD via Weather Cat
Vehicles: 14
Other: 2 bicyclists, 2 joggers
Live Newts: 0
Dead Newts: 317
Other species: (2) juvenile snakes, likely Garter Snake species

High number of dead newts following weekend rains. A few juveniles but not many. More fresh ones than usual - and still-squishy ones than could have been dry, then 'rehydrated' somewhat by the rain.

Posted on January 27, 2020 22:14 by anudibranchmom anudibranchmom | 1 comments | Leave a comment

January 25, 2020

South/Aldercroft side - 1/24/2020

Coverage: Aldercroft Heights Road intersection to stop sign.
10:24am - 12:22pm

Weather: Rather warm (70F when I returned to my car), partly cloudy. May have rained 3 days previously (not sure though - weathercat says yes, but that was in Santa Cruz, and I know that it also rained in Loma Prieta and Scotts Valley but it did not in Campbell.)
Rainfall: MTD 2.79in, YTD 15.141in (per http://www.weathercat.net/wxraindetail.php)

Vehicles: 13
Bikes: 5
Pedestrians: 0

178 dead newts, around 38 of them fresh
4 dead jerusalem crickets

Definitely 1 juvenile newt, 2 others that were more like "teenage" newts - do the teenage ones count as juvenile? I posted 3 that include my finger for scale. The one that's definitely juvenile I'll tag as such.

There were a lot more dead newts, particularly fresh ones, on the east-ish side of the road (further from the reservoir) than the west-ish side.

Posted on January 25, 2020 02:58 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 22, 2020

North side - 1/21/20

January 21, 2020 (Tuesday) 9:15 am – 11:30 pm: 293 dead newts, 1 injured. Many freshly killed.
It was cloudy and cold, a bit windy, but dry, during the survey. Looked wet in some area, the creeks were running. I documented 1 injured and 293 dead newts, many of them were fresh, a few looked like they were just hit.
I found a few other roadkills - a dead amphibian, similar to ones I've seen before, another animal, a beetle, three millipedes, and a Jerusalem cricket.
Coverage: north part - the county park parking lot till the second stop sign.
Rainfall: (MTD: 1.72 in; YTD: 14.07 in) cold, dry. Data from - http://www.weathercat.net/wxraindetail.php
Traffic: 3 truck (only 1 big gravel truck), 15 cars (including 1 maintenance pickup - county parks), 4 bike, 3 pedestrians.

Posted on January 22, 2020 01:59 by merav merav | 6 comments | Leave a comment

January 20, 2020

Case Study #1: Ten newts found in am, only one left by pm

This info was extracted from a comment by @merav. She and I did a team patrol on the morning of Jan 19, 2019. She wrote the following:

" I was there again in the afternoon for a hike, and was surprised to see that almost all the newts we saw in the morning just by the limekiln trailhead were gone. In the morning there were at least 10 dead newts. By 4 pm they were all gone, but 1 that was still there."

In other words, 90% of the dead newts "disappeared" within 8 hrs (8am - 4pm) on a busy weekend by the Limekiln trailhead.

Reference: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/pacific-newts-dead-2018-2019-lexington-reservoir-area/journal/20936-268-pacific-newts-found-dead-today-no-live-ones-seen

Posted on January 20, 2020 21:02 by truthseqr truthseqr | 3 comments | Leave a comment

Case Study #2: 64% of dead newts "disappeared" from the road in 4 days

This is an interesting case:

* @sea-kangaroo surveyed the southern half of Alma Bridge Rd. on 1/14/2020 and found 129 dead newts.

* @newtpatrol surveyed the same section of road on 1/18/2020 and found 65 dead newts; 19 of these were fresh, 46 were decomposed

So, one would suppose there would be 129 decomposed newts on the road on 1/18, since there were that many newts reported on 1/14. However, only 46 decomposed newts were found. That means 83 dead newts "disappeared" in the four days between 1/14 and 1/18 (64%). Where did they go?

FYI: @merav, @joescience1, @anudibranchmom

Posted on January 20, 2020 17:50 by truthseqr truthseqr | 4 comments | Leave a comment

North side- January 19th

(for @joescience1)
8:33am - 9:41am
Coverage: Alma Bridge Road @ turnout 100 yds north of Quarry Road intersection to stop sign.
Weather: Chilly, 46˚, mostly sunny, warmed up by end of observation time.
Rainfall: MTD 1.72in, YTD 14.071in (per http://www.weathercat.net/wxraindetail.php)
Vehicles: 18 (20 more, including one truck w/ quad horse trailer, parked in turnouts just below Quarry Rd.)
Bikes: 24+
Pedestrians/ joggers 16
One parked car with a GO NEWT license plate
57 dead newts, 7 fresh (still w/ color)
No other dead critters
one big chanterelle type mushroom
most traffic (vehicle, bike and pedestrian and overall activity to date)
rowing club very active on water, with one power boat coaching

Posted on January 20, 2020 15:29 by truthseqr truthseqr | 2 comments | Leave a comment

Migration Patterns of Pacific Newts

Here's the scoop about the newt migration:

"With the first rains in late November or early December, adults emerge from the saturated ground and migrate from their upland habitat to ponds and streams for breeding. Males migrate before females and remain at the breeding site longer...

The female newt lays her fertilized eggs in water where the larvae hatch and grow. Young newt larvae look like frog tadpoles but with longer, thinner bodies. When metamorphosis is complete, the juveniles emigrate from the breeding site and spend the next few years growing to sexual maturity. When they are fully grown, they typically return to the same breeding site year after year to mate.

When the breeding phase is over, females are the first to return to their upland habitat, followed by males and juveniles. However, some adults might remain in the pools for an additional few months to feed. Since the return migration is more sporadic and less weather-dependent than migration to the vernal pools, it is much harder to protect the newts as they make their way back to the forest."

References:
• Migration Patterns of Taricha torosa in Tilden Regional Park
https://nature.berkeley.edu/classes/es196/projects/1989final/ClaggettP_1989.pdf

• Bay Nature Article: Citizen scientists tracking roadkill on Alma Bridge Road have found thousands of dead newts this season.
https://baynature.org/2019/02/06/traffic-is-driving-a-newt-massacre-in-the-santa-cruz-mountains/

Posted on January 20, 2020 14:39 by truthseqr truthseqr | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 19, 2020

South/Aldercroft side - 1/18/2020

10:33am - 12:22pm
Coverage: Aldercroft Heights Road intersection to stop sign.
Weather: Chilly, partly cloudy, had rained significantly (1.35") 2 days before.
Rainfall: MTD 1.72in, YTD 14.071in (per http://www.weathercat.net/wxraindetail.php)
Vehicles: 19
Bikes: 13 - One said "save the newts!" as they went by, so the bikers are getting to know us.
Pedestrians: 1

65 dead newts, several fresh
1 live newt, moving in the direction of the reservoir
No other dead critters
15 turkeys
A cluster of lovely, pale purple mushrooms

I was on the south side, but saw/heard the rowing club/class/whatever go by in the reservoir.

Posted on January 19, 2020 05:14 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 9 comments | Leave a comment

January 15, 2020

newt survey 1/14 - southern half (Aldercroft)

128 dead newts, 0 live newts.
January 14, 2020 (Tuesday) 1pm-3pm
Weather: Dry and partly cloudy, had rained the previous night.
Other roadkill: 1 Western Grey Squirrel, 1 bird, 1 jerusalem cricket, 3 large millipedes, 1 bullfrog (I think, very pancaked).
Coverage: Aldercroft Heights Road intersection to stop sign.
Rainfall: MTD 0.36in, YTD 12.71in (per http://www.weathercat.net/wxraindetail.php?year=2019)
Traffic: 25 vehicles, 8 bicycles, 1 walker.

About 2 dozen of the newts were fresh-looking, the rest varying degrees of weathered. One of the bicyclers said something unintelligible but friendly about newts while zipping by, so I guess he's talked to one of y'all before.

Newt map:

Posted on January 15, 2020 19:37 by sea-kangaroo sea-kangaroo | 3 comments | Leave a comment

North side - 1/14/20

January 14, 2020 (Tuesday) 9:15 am – 11:30 pm: 162 dead newts
It was dry and cold during the survey. It probably rained at night, possibly the night before as well. I documented 0 live and 162 dead newts, many of them were fresh, a few looked like they were just hit.
I saw one or two other amphibian on the road, not sure what it was, and a dead mole.
Coverage: north part - the county park parking lot till the second stop sign.
Rainfall: (MTD: 0.36 in; YTD: 12.71 in) cold, dry. Data from - http://www.weathercat.net/wxraindetail.php
Traffic: 6 truck, 21 cars (including 2 maintenance pickup - midpen, one of them was speeding like crazy! and two police cars), 1 bike, 8 pedestrians.

Posted on January 15, 2020 00:00 by merav merav | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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