newt survey 11/30 - southern half

4 dead newts, 4 live newts.
November 30, 2019 (Saturday) 3pm-5pm
Weather: Light intermittent drizzle while I walked. Chilly but not really cold (high 40s-low 50s).
Other roadkill: None.
Coverage: Aldercroft Heights Road intersection to just after the big Soda Springs road bend (37°11'07.5"N 121°59'07.8"W).
Rainfall: (MTD: 3.40 in; YTD: 3.48 in)
Traffic: Light traffic; around 20 cars or so.

The dead newts were all fresh. All of the alive newts and most of the dead newts I saw were heading east, away from the reservoir. They were also concentrated in two areas (blue pins):

Talked briefly to a couple of friendly Midpen Open Space rangers who pulled over to check I was okay. They knew there was a "newt person" who'd been surveying (one of them apparently met Anne once), and I told them there'd be a bunch of people surveying this year.

Posted by sea-kangaroo sea-kangaroo, December 02, 2019 01:20

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Thanks for the thorough report, @sea-kangaroo ! You're a trooper to be out there in the rain, wind and the cold. Yup, you found two of the roadkill hotspots. That's cool that you embedded the map. How did you do that?

It's curious that all the newts were heading away from the reservoir. One herpetologist told me that the newts don't actually breed in the reservoir because the fish would eat their eggs. But I've seen plenty of live & dead newts heading toward the reservoir. Perhaps they breed in the many streams & rivulets that dump into the reservoir.

My hunch is that one of their main breeding spots is at the far east end of Soda Springs Canyon where Soda Springs dumps into the reservoir. That area is dry during late summer & fall and only starts filling up after several heavy rains. Maybe that's where your newts were heading.

Posted by truthseqr 9 days ago (Flag)
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I guess it might vary with the status of the reservoir as well? I wasn't paying super close attention, but when I'd glance over sometimes I'd see bare mud or isolated pools instead of one continuous lake.

To embed the map I took a screenshot of my iNat observation map for the day, uploaded it to imgur.com (a handy site for one-off image hosting since it's free and you don't need to make an account), and used the usual html to display it. iNat comments and posts support many html tags, which is handy.

Posted by sea-kangaroo 9 days ago (Flag)
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Thanks for the tip on inserting a screenshot!

I just read a report by the herpetologist who originally told me that the newts cannot breed in the reservoir. Now he is reversing his opinion and estimating a much larger total population at Lexington based on the new assumption that the newts do breed in the reservoir. Interesting!

Posted by truthseqr 9 days ago (Flag)

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