Newt Survey 12/13 - North half

Coverage: North half of Alma Bridge Road, from the parking lot to the stop sign.
Time: 8:00 - 10:00 am
Rainfall: 0.0 so far today - forecast is for more this afternoon. 7.21" MTD, 10.06" YTD via Weather Cat
Vehicles: 4 trucks and 12 cars, including 2 insane speeders (Blue Tesla and Brown Maclaren)
Other: one bicyclist, one jogger
Live Newts: 0
Dead Newts: 278, about 10% fresh
Other species: (1) Sharp-tailed Snake, (2) Western Toads, 1) Tarantula sp., (1) millipede sp., (1) Jerusalem Cricket, (2) mouse sp., 1) mole sp.

Posted by anudibranchmom anudibranchmom, December 13, 2019 21:46

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Also - It is exceptionally time-consuming to fill out the Project-Add required questionaire for each observation. Can we possibly do away with these?

Posted by anudibranchmom about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Thanks you so much, @anudibranchmom !

The reason I added the project fields was so we can search easily for the data (across users & dates) and add them to relevant projects and for consistency. The owner of the observations can add fields in batch mode during upload or afterwards, but someone like myself cannot. Also, some users block others from adding fields.

I've used "newt, roadkill" as keywords to my observations, which allows me to find them easily. You all could do the same. I can't add keywords to other users' observations, otherwise I'd offer to do so.

If you have a recommendation for an alternative method, I'm open to it and I'll remove the required fields.

@anudibranchmom, @merav, @sea-kangaroo, @newtpatrol, @joescience1, please share your thoughts. Thanks.

Posted by truthseqr about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Thank you @truthseqr I will now attempt to batch-add the required six Observation fields (though I still feel they should not be required, since the answers are always the same) and THEN add everything to the project if successful. It's been tedious doing them one at a time. ;-)

Posted by anudibranchmom about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Newt Survey 12/8 - North half
Coverage: North half of Alma Bridge Road, from the parking lot to the stop sign @ one way road section.
Time: 3:30 - 5:15 pm
Rainfall: 0.0 during walk, had rained earlier in day.
Vehicles: 0 trucks and approximately 8 cars, including 1 insane speeders (Blue Porsche Macan with teen driver)
Other: approx 12 bicyclists, 8 hikers
Live Newts: 0
Dead Newts: 75, about 10% fresh

Posted by joescience1 about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Hi @joescience1 You need to make this a separate journal post rather than a comment on my post.

Posted by anudibranchmom about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Sorry for the inconvenience, @anudibranchmom. I've made all fields optional for now.

Just to clarify, the fields are not always the same. For example, it would be really helpful to tag the Juveniles vs Adults (Developmental Phase). Also, the umbrella project has subprojects for live and injured newts, so the Health Rating could be Alive, Dead, or Injured. It's not always obvious from the pictures what these metadata should be. Some projects require certain fields (e.g., "Dead Herps" requires the "Likely Cause of Death" field).

Posted by truthseqr about 1 month ago (Flag)
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They might be small, but Taricha are all adults if they're out walking around, right? All the juveniles should be in the water...?

If a newt was alive (even injured), I shouldn't be adding it to the Pacific Newts (Dead, 2019-2020) project, should I? The word 'dead' is already in the project title.

As for other peoples' projects (Dead Herps, etc) which I am not a member of, I think that's beyond the scope for now - I'm still trying to figure out this one!

Sorry to be so annoying but I want to get this figured out so I can be more useful going forward!

Posted by anudibranchmom about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Juveniles vs Adults: It's my understanding that adult newts can be up to 8 inches long. Some carcasses I've seen are less than half that size. I was assuming these are juveniles. I thought the ones in the water were tadpoles or neonates. But I'm not a herpetologist (not even close). The team of experts that are looking at mitigations are interested in the percentage of roadkill juveniles, so I'm guessing they mean the tiny ones walking around.

There is an umbrella project for Lexington roadkill that includes alive and injured newts. The team of experts is interested in how many live vs dead newts we see on the road. Please see this project: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/pacific-newts-all-lexington-reservoir-area

I'm sorry for the difficulty you're having uploading data. I don't want to make this difficult. I just want to make sure we can retrieve the data later.

I've deleted all fields for now, both required and optional.

Posted by truthseqr about 1 month ago (Flag)
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The tiny guys on land are indeed juveniles (efts). Aquatic juveniles are larvae.

I also find required fields pretty tedious, since they tend to become apparent at inconvenient times. Would it maybe serve the same function to do one/some of:
--ask volunteers to change their profile setting to allow others to add fields to their observations
--primarily rely on the new Alive/Dead annotation field (which anyone can add to any observation, and can be done through the Identify pane with keyboard shortcuts so isn't too labor-intensive)
--ask volunteers to think about tagging their observations appropriately. I've been batch-tagging all of mine "dead" anyway, so I could pretty easily batch-add "roadkill" if that would be useful.
--rely on the observations being in the appropriate project (I think anyone can add/boot an obs from a project (and if not that can be changed with a setting in the profile/project?)

Posted by sea-kangaroo about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Also: holy cow, what a large and varied crop of roadkill today!

Posted by sea-kangaroo about 1 month ago (Flag)
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OK. I get it. All the fields are tedious & time-consuming to fill out. I've removed them.

Thanks for clarifying "juvenile" vs "adult" vs "larvae". That's very helpful.

Posted by truthseqr about 1 month ago (Flag)
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You all are seeing first-hand what Merav and I witnessed last year (and me the year before). It's very different to see bloody, oozing bodies with your own eyes as opposed to pictures. I've posted over 4,700 dead newts to iNat. It makes you want to scream! Why isn't the county doing something about this?

Posted by truthseqr about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Hi Robin, there were 87 observations that didn't make it into the project. I'll find them and add them.

We have a separate subproject for roadkill that is non-newt: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/other-roadkill-lexington-reservoir-area

Posted by truthseqr about 1 month ago (Flag)
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hi all,
ok i have our 75 observations listed, most only identifiable to genus Taricha. We had no other observed roadkill, though several piles of scat that we didn't record or ID.

In observing other posting, i know we can do a better job of recording our observations next time, including better marking up the specific locations. i know the carcasses were more clumped than what my recordings show. specific locations will better ID where mitigation can be more successful.

Posted by joescience1 about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Personally, I don't mind adding the fields during a bulk photo upload, it takes a few clicks, but not bad at all compared with adding them to every single observation individually. Especially if the fields are useful flags for this or other projects, I'm happy enough to add them during bulk upload, and will continue to do so. The one thing that has eluded me, however, is how to batch add the "Annotation Attribute" of "Life Stage" or "Alive or Dead". The latter is redundant with the "Field" of "Alive or Dead", but the former isn't. And yes, not all will be alive/dead or adult/juvenile, but almost all of them I've found so far are adult and dead, so it would be nice to add that info to all relevant ones in one go. Does anyone know how to do this?

And yes, thanks for the clarification on adult/juvenile/larvae!

Posted by newtpatrol about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Tony said there are certain observation fields that will populate the "Alive or Dead" annotation, including:

* https://www.inaturalist.org/observation_fields/160 (Roadkill)
* https://www.inaturalist.org/observation_fields/9111 Alive (AOR), Dead (DOR), or Injured (IOR)

The field "Development Phase" will auto-populate the "Life Stage" annotation.

Posted by truthseqr about 1 month ago (Flag)
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I also don't mind bulk-adding fields, just having them Required instead of Optional (on any project) tends to break my workflow unexpectedly.

I tried out those fields and they work great for auto-adding the Annotations. Is it going to be ok if we're using different fields in 2019-2020 vs 2018-2019? (i.e. should we add both the old and new ones?)

Incidentally there's another newt squad using some of the same fields:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/chileno-valley-newt-brigade-winter-2019-2020

Posted by sea-kangaroo about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Regarding fields used in 2018-2019 vs 2019-2020: I mostly added fields in 2018-2019 (and 2017-2018) to keep track of my observations and to be able to extract certain data easily (e.g., juvenile vs adult, alive vs dead vs injured). When we're dealing with thousands of observations, it gets harder and harder to find particular observations of interest unless they're tagged/annotated appropriately.

Here are the reasons I added some of the fields:

Likely cause of death (required for the "Dead Herps" project - a way of getting the word out about the newts)

Found Dead (used as a way of attaching "roadkill" keyword to observations)
Road speed limit (used by the CROS roadkill database)
Development phase (used to differentiate adult vs juvenile)
Health Rating, Developmental Phase, Number of Individuals (used by Midpen Biodiversity Index project)
How was this detected? (used by California Roadkill project)
Alive or Dead? (I thought this might auto-populate the "Alive or Dead" annotation, but it doesn't.)

Something to keep in mind... iNatters get irritated when the Identify queue gets filled up with hundreds/thousands of dead animals. I think that's one reason the "Alive or Dead" annotation was added, so people can exclude dead animals from their searches.

Yes, @sea-kangaroo, I've been watching the other newt squad project. It'd be great to use some of the same fields they're using (I especially like the Alive (AOR), Dead (DOR), or Injured (IOR) one, which is very relevant to our projects).

Posted by truthseqr about 1 month ago (Flag)
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One way to make uploading & attaching fields or annotations easier is to group observations that have the same characteristics together. For example, put the juveniles in a separate group from the adults. When you upload, click the "Select all" box and then select "Fields" on the left and add the appropriate fields (e.g., "Roadkill", "Development Phase") and then select "Projects" and enter our project name. Every observation in the batch will be annotated accordingly.

Alternatively, you can upload all the observations together and then go back and edit the fields later for those that are different.

Posted by truthseqr about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Thanks for the tips regarding fields and annotations. I'll give it a try tomorrow!

Posted by anudibranchmom about 1 month ago (Flag)

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