Journal archives for December 2020

December 27, 2020

Dec 26, 2020 - South Side

Saturday 9:20-12:40 pm: 41 dead newts found, no live newts
Weather - from Karan: was 45F, mostly sunny. Rain MTD 1.98 in, YTD 2.91 in per
I documented 41 dead newts, 15 of them juveniles. Most of them were very fresh. It was raining in San Jose on Friday, during the day and night.
Other roadkills: 2 arboreal salamanders, 1 Jerusalem Cricket and many centipedes and millipedes, a glowworm beetle larva, and - the famous skunk.
Coverage: south part - from Aldercroft Heights Rd to the first stop sign.
Traffic: 1 fire truck, 54 cars (including SJJJ Midpen), 55 bikes, 6 pedestrians, and 11 cars parked by the road.
I met the HTH team at array #6. They said they found about 70-80 live newts, and 10-15 dead ones. they were 2 people I haven't seen before.

Posted on December 27, 2020 01:46 by merav merav | 1 comment | Leave a comment

Data Collection - Notes to Newt Patrol Team Members

@merav, @newtpatrol, @sea-kangaroo, @anudibranchmom, @joescience1, @karangattu , @tyap
I've noticed that the patrols are taking much longer this season, probably because we've asked you to collect more data (e.g., measure juveniles). I'm re-assessing the need for data that is being collected to determine if we can pare it down some. Please chime in with your comments.

Traffic: I'm monitoring & analyzing the traffic data we have. As far as I'm concerned, we only need to collect 2 categories: motor vehicles and bicycles. I know many of you have been collecting truck, motorcycle, heavy equipment, and pedestrian counts as well. As I see it, the traffic data is useful to understand how the newts are being killed. To me, it doesn't matter whether the cars are moving or parked - they still count. While 18-wheelers may kill more newts than 4-wheel vehicles, the data don't show significantly larger roadkill numbers near the quarry and (I'm guessing) those trucks don't move at night, so I don't see the need to count them separately. Bicycles probably kill fewer newts than cars & trucks, but they affect the roadkill numbers (especially large groups of bicyclists). Pedestrian counts are "nice to know" but not necessary for our study.

This season I've asked you to start measuring the juveniles you find because juvenile deaths disproportionately affect population viability and the team has noticed a larger number of dead juveniles this season. I don't think it's necessary to measure all the newts you find. In fact, it's dangerous being out on the road longer in order to place a ruler next to the newts before photographing them. @merav, @tyap, what do you think? Do we need to measure the adults? My vote is no.

You don't have to record rainfall amounts, unless you want to for your own purposes. I can get the rainfall data from the website.

Survey Date & Time:
These are helpful. I use the survey begin and end times to calculate traffic throughput (vehicles/hr) and total hours volunteered by our team. However, if you don't want to record this info or if you forget, I can get the info from the date/time stamps on your photos.

HTH/POST/Midpen Population Study:
Right now there's no easy way to tell if a dead newt was found within the boundaries of the population study. Therefore, please write a note to that effect in the Notes section of your observation. @anudibranchmom came up with a clever way to bring attention to these newts: she places a color-coded post-it note next to the newt before photographing it.

Calendar View of Newts for Your Survey
It would be helpful for me to have the calendar view of your photos for each survey like this example (replace "truthseqr" with your iNat name and enter the appropriate date in yyyy/mm/dd format):
That way I don't have to navigate to a different search screen and type in search criteria if I want to see the details of your survey. This view has a limit of 200 observations.

Observation Notes:
It's very helpful and interesting to get comments, such as: the road is being repaved, heavy road maintenance trucks were scraping mud from the road, people were asking about the project, unusual animal sightings, etc.

Posted on December 27, 2020 17:44 by truthseqr truthseqr | 6 comments | Leave a comment

December 26, 2020

Dec 26, 2020 - North Side

Conducted survey of North side 08:35 am-12:05pm. Weather was 48F, partly cloudy. Rain MTD 1.98 in, YTD 2.91 in per
Coverage: north part - the county park parking lot till the second stop sign.

Documented 51 Dead newts, 2 of which were juveniles. No live newts observed.
Multiple Newts observed in the HTH survey sites since they had yet to survey today before I documented them.

Other documented roadkill - None.

Documented human activity:
Moving Cars: 80
Pedestrian: 37
Bikes: 53
Trucks: 0
1 Fire Truck
Parked Cars: 54

Notes: Most of the newts were fresh which mean they were squashed last night or early morning. At least 3 people stopped to ask and learn more about the Newt Survey.

Posted on December 26, 2020 23:44 by karangattu karangattu | 2 comments | Leave a comment

December 02, 2020

Tuesday 12/1/2020

December 1st, 2020 (Tuesday) 9:10-11:50 pm: 15 dead newts found, no live newts
Weather was nice, foggy earlier in the morning. No real rain in the past couple of weeks, after the initial rain. Rainfall: (MTD: 0 in; YTD: 0.93 in). Data from -
@tyap and me documented 15 dead newts, 3 of them juveniles. Only one of the newts was freshly killed. It was found right in front of population study #1. I didn't include it in our project yet, I'd like to wait and see if we get a photo of it from the survey team. The rest of the newts were very dry, and were probably there for a while.

Other roadkills: 1 slender salamander, 2 unidentified vertebrates, a caterpillar, 3 Jerusalem Crickets, 1 cricket, 5 soil centipedes.
Coverage: north part - the county park parking lot till the second stop sign.
Traffic: 2 trucks, 34 cars, 2 motorcycles, 4 bikes, 9 pedestrians, and 17 cars parked by the road and in the parking lots. Some of the cars were county roads pickups.

We met the Midpen population study a few times. They haven't seen any live newts since the last rain.
The rowing club was open. All county park parking lots were open.

Posted on December 02, 2020 00:04 by merav merav | 2 comments | Leave a comment

December 05, 2020

Volunteer meeting

Hi all,
Tiffany suggested we'll have another volunteer meeting, so that she could meet everyone. We've got a few items on a tentative agenda:

  • Meeting Tiffany, and learning about the Center for Biological Diversity interest in our project
  • Updates about the Midpen population study, and Midpen's 1/13 board meeting
  • Additional newt studies we might need/ want to do
  • Working in pairs
  • A possible volunteer outing

  • Any other issues anyone would like to raise.
    @truthseqr, @newtpatrol, @sea-kangaroo, @anudibranchmom, @joescience1, @karangattu, @tyap @biohexx1

  • Posted on December 05, 2020 22:25 by merav merav | 8 comments | Leave a comment

    December 06, 2020

    November 27, 2020 - north side

    13 dead newts (of which 1 was a juvenile), 0 live newts.
    November 27th, 2020 (Friday)
    Weather: Clear day in the mid 60s. No rain for many days.
    Other roadkill: none.
    Coverage: County Park parking lot to second stop sign.
    Rainfall: MTD 0.83in, YTD 0.93in (per
    Traffic: 56 cars, 36 parked cars not counting the big county lot, 8 motorcycles, 22 bicycles, 14 walkers.

    All parking lots appeared open. The Midpen study areas had no newts or other critters in their sections of road. All of the newts were quite dry.

    Newt map:

    Posted on December 06, 2020 04:15 by sea-kangaroo sea-kangaroo | 0 comments | Leave a comment

    December 07, 2020

    South side - December 3, 2020

    4 dead newts (very dry), 0 juveniles, 0 live newts
    December 3rd, 2020 (Thursday)
    Weather: Lovely, partly cloudy day in the mid 60s. No rain for many days.
    Other roadkill: skunk
    Coverage: Aldercroft parking to first stop sign
    Rainfall: MTD 0.83in, YTD 0.93in (per
    Traffic: 24 cars, 9 trucks, 3 bicycles, 2 walkers

    My first patrol of the year, a lovely day for it. I got psyched out for a while by squished bay nuts in the road, so many of them, and they often look kinda like newts.

    Posted on December 07, 2020 04:13 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 0 comments | Leave a comment

    Dec 7, 2020 - VERY quiet on the south side

    3 dead newts, 0 juveniles, 0 live newts.
    December 7, 2020 (Monday)
    Weather: Dry and sunny in the mid 50s. No rain for many days.
    Other roadkill: Flat skunk still there from my last walk; various arthropods; two dopey deer in the road added as 'pre-roadkill' only because noting the location of their crossing point may be important.
    Coverage: Aldercroft parking to first stop sign
    Rainfall: MTD 0.0", YTD 0.93" (per
    Traffic: 12 moving cars (one Audi speeding, the rest at a decent pace), 3 parked cars, 0 trucks (Covid lockdown!?), 2 cyclists who complimented my Newt Patrol vest as they passed, and 1 probably-illegal fisherman fishing along the edge of the drained reservoir.
    Pit traps: Empty.

    Posted on December 07, 2020 22:18 by anudibranchmom anudibranchmom | 1 comment | Leave a comment

    December 17, 2020

    December 16, 2020 - South side

    December 12th, 2020 (Wednesday) 1:15pm - 3:15pm.
    Coverage: Aldercroft Heights intersection to first stop sign.

    88 dead newts (of which 6 were juveniles), 0 live newts. A majority were dry, maybe 20% fresh.
    Other roadkill: None noticed, aside from the fading skunk.

    Weather: Mid 60s, partly cloudy, rain coming tonight.
    Rainfall: MTD 1.46in, YTD 2.39in (per

    Traffic: 4 trucks (1 MidPen), 20 cars, 6 bicycles, 0 peds.

    Pit traps: No newts, one Darkling Beetle.
    There are now pink flags on either side of the pit traps that may be 50' demarcation (looks about right.)

    And something odd... Part of the road was recently repaved, so the center lines were re-painted. The line-painter went right over a dead newt which was adhered to the road. I took a photo as they were, then dutifully peeled it off, leaving a shadow that will endure for years.

    Posted on December 17, 2020 02:04 by newtpatrol newtpatrol | 4 comments | Leave a comment

    December 16, 2020 - North side

    December 16th, 2020 (Wednesday) 9:00 am -1:30 pm:
    Weather: Mid 60s, partly cloudy
    Rainfall: MTD 1.46in, YTD 2.39in (per
    Coverage: north part - the county park parking lot till the second stop sign.

    @merav and me documented 168 dead newts (of which 30 were juveniles). A Handful of newts were really fresh since they had preserved their posture when being run over. The HTH team said they found 5 dead ones near their population study areas but we found there were at least 6 more dead ones that had been lying there for more than a day within the 50 ft of the pitfall traps.

    Traffic: 6 trucks, 60 cars, 11 bikes, 6 pedestrians, and 22 cars parked by the road and in the parking lots.

    Posted on December 17, 2020 15:45 by karangattu karangattu | 5 comments | Leave a comment