Journal archives for March 2021

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 08, 2021

Thanks to the Newt Roadkill Survey Team (2020-2021 Migration Season)

As we head into the last 4-6 weeks of the Pacific newt migration season, I'd like to send out my thanks and deepest gratitude to the Newt Roadkill Survey Team (@merav, @sea-kangaroo, @newtpatrol, @anudibranchmom, @joescience1, @karangattu, @tyap, @biohexx1) for your work at Lexington Reservoir during the 2020-2021 migration season.

The last month is possibly the most difficult. Volunteers are exhausted both mentally & physically from taking pictures of thousands upon thousands of dead creatures on the road. Just when you think the carnage might be over, it rains and more newts brave the road only to have the life snuffed out of them. It weighs you down. It's difficult and dangerous work. Not many people appreciate your efforts. It's so discouraging when the powers-that-be won't do anything to stop the carnage.

But look how much you've accomplished! Especially Merav, who deserves special recognition for the phenomenal amount of work she's done on the longevity study as well as routine surveys, training, collaborating with partners, developing a web site, and leading the team.


Team, please know that I and individuals at key agencies (UC Davis Road Ecology Center, CA Fish & Wildlife, USGS Ecology, Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Peninsula Open Space Trust and others) truly appreciate the work you've done.

Fraser Shilling, Ph.D., director of the UC Davis Road Ecology Center at UC Davis recently said, "I don't think there has been a study anywhere in the world that has found a higher density of amphibian mortality from traffic than this one."

You all have contributed to a landmark study. Thank you for your time and effort.

Posted on March 08, 2021 01:01 by truthseqr truthseqr | 3 comments | Leave a comment

Mar 7, 2021 (Sunday) - North Side

Conducted survey of North side from 9:50 am - 1:00 pm. Weather was 50F, sunny.

Documented 125 Newts, of which 2 were juveniles. No live newts seen :(
Other documented roadkill: None observed.

Midpen study: Pit traps were emptied before I arrived and there were no roadkill newts in their road sections.

Documented Human Activity:
Cars: 233
Motorcycles: 4
Bikes: 56
Pedestrians: 38
Parked Cars: 106

To be honest, I was kind of envious of Merav's and Cynthia's low numbers in the past week and was hoping I will get to experience the same joys, but fate had other plans. It did rain on Friday night, so I was naïve in assuming I would be let off the hook easy. I got a late start to the day because it was 39F when I was supposed to leave for my bike ride. The time I started the survey couldn't have been worse.
Even before reaching HTH study site #1, I had counted 100+ cars. It seemed COVID-19 vaccines were being distributed on Alma Bridge road considering the heavy traffic.

One family stopped and asked what I was doing, and I went through the entire TED talk and then the lady said " Oh, so you are saving the environment!" to which I responded with an awkward yes.

Two bikers asked me what the time was.

Link to my observations for today:


Posted on March 08, 2021 01:49 by karangattu karangattu | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 11, 2021

March 10 (Wednesday) - South Side

March 10, 2021 (Wednesday), 8:30-10:10 am

60 dead newts (most larger than average size, many still with aquatic tails, very recently killed)
1 juvenile newt
Other roadkill: 1 Western Toad, 1 Sierran Tree Frog
Weather: Light rain during survey, steady rain the previous evening.
Traffic: 23 vehicles

Interesting human stuff:
1) A battalion of guys with multiple utility trucks laying fiber optic cable
2) Two HTH biologists checking their pit traps. Funny moment when the re-passed me on the road, suddenly stopping their truck and leaping out to help a LEAF cross the road. They were very embarassed that their mis-ID happened in front of me, but I assured them we'd all done it and their heart was in the right place. :-)

Interesting non-human stuff:
Golden Eagle soaring over the southern ridge

Posted on March 11, 2021 23:07 by anudibranchmom anudibranchmom | 1 comment | Leave a comment

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 09, 2021

Sunday 3/7/2021 - south section

Sunday 8:45-12:00 pm: 139 new dead newts, no live newt!
Weather - Cold at first, then warm. It rained Friday night - heavy rain in San Jose, with puddles present at Lexington. Rain MTD 0.08 in, YTD 9.82 in per
I documented a total of 139 new dead newts, a few juveniles. Some were fresh, some were already dry.
Other roadkills: millipedes, beetles, Jerusalem crickets.
Coverage: from Aldercroft Heights Rd to the first stop sign.
Traffic: 44 cars, 2 motorcycles, 21 bikes, 9 pedestrians, and 12 cars parked by the road.
I haven't seen the HTH team. I walked by #6 before they were there, and there were about 5-7 dead newts there. I only documented 2 of them, that were on the west side of the road. I didn't document the rest that were on the other side. By the time I was back, they were already gone. The 2 documented were added to the population study and not to this 2021 project.
A link to all my newt observations of the day -

Posted on March 09, 2021 19:55 by merav merav | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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 01, 2021

Sunday 2/28/2021 - north and south sides

Sunday 8:00-12:10 pm: 15 new dead newts, no live newt!
I walked with Ross.
Weather - sunny. Cold at first, then warm. No rain. Rain MTD 0.77 in, YTD 9.74 in per
I documented a total of 15 new dead newts on the entire road, 1 of them was a juvenile. All were dry, most of them already detached.

Other roadkills: one moth and one caterpillar, millipede, spider, bee.
Coverage: from the parking lot to Aldercroft.
North section: 49 cars, 3 motorcycles, 20 bikes, 61 pedestrians, and 117 cars parked by the road and in the parking lots (7 in the farther lot).
South side: 26 cars, 27 bikes, 11 pedestrians, and 5 cars parked by the road.
I haven't seen the HTH team.
A link to my observations -

Posted on March 01, 2021 06:17 by merav merav | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 05, 2021

March 3, 2021 - south side

0 dead newts, 0 live newts.
March 3rd, 2021 (Wednesday), 10:00-11:30am
Weather: Partly clear, 53F.
Other roadkill: 1 large millipede
Rainfall: MTD 0.0in, YTD 9.74in (per
Traffic: 14 moving vehicles, 4 parked, 4 pedestrians.
Midpen study: Pit traps that I checked were empty and there were no roadkill newts in their road sections.

Quietest day ever! Has been completely dry, with cold nights, so I guess the newts have been sheltering in place. I did find a single incredibly adhered-to-the-road formerly-living thing, but there was no texture, color, or bone left so I can't really positively ID what it was.

Posted on March 05, 2021 18:43 by sea-kangaroo sea-kangaroo | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 30, 2021

Tuesday 3/30 - South Side

Survey cut abruptly short after only 25% of road today and reason reported to Merav. Four vehicles. Only one dried newt, but three other herps: Ring-necked Snake, Western Fence Lizard and Western Skink. Heard a Northern Owl tooting in the eucalyptus grove across from the cat house, until a mob of 6-8 outraged Stellars Jays arrived. Also a pair of Belted Kingfishers in the creek south of the reservoir.

Posted on March 30, 2021 19:34 by anudibranchmom anudibranchmom | 0 comments | Leave a comment