Journal archives for January 2021

January 28, 2021

Wednesday 1/27/2021, 4 pm

I walked with Ross, from 4:05-5:50 pm
We documented 18 new newts. I added flags to all the new newts, getting up to flag #62. There were probably new newts next to old flags. I didn't add a new flag to those. It was really interesting, as we could see that many of the newts were disintegrating from the heavy rains, in many cases only pieces were left.
It was cold, pretty heavy rain. We were so glad to see about 10 live newts, most of them on our way back, when it was already pretty dark.
Traffic: 6 trucks, 41 cars, 1 parked car on the road, a few more in the main parking lot. Most traffic was around 5:00, maybe coming back from the boat club.

Posted on January 28, 2021 20:36 by merav merav | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Wednesday 1/27/2021, 7am & 9am

Overcast and raining off and on all morning, 45-49F.

(7:20-9:00am actually) Documented 35 newts, 14 of them new since yesterday evening (flags #26 through 39). #39 was actually right near my car, and wasn't there when I left but had appeared by the time I got back. Missing: Flag #13- one of the two newts was missing (already documented missing by Merav yesterday). I marked one X on the flag for the one missing newt. Flag #7- both of the two newts were missing. This was near an HTH zone so I assumed they took them, but actually I guess not if these were there yesterday, since HTH hadn't come to clear their area yet at this time today. I marked 2 Xs on the flag and left it. 22 moving vehicles, 1 parked. Partway through my walk a truck with a snowplow attachment came and scraped all the fallen rocks out of the road, which included part of an HTH study area (got a photo). Saw 2 alive newts downhill off the road, racing full tilt (as much as a newt can) towards the reservoir, and some live ones in both HTH study sites' buckets.

(9:20-10:30am actually)
Documented 43 newts, 6 of them new since 7am (flags #40 through 45).
Flag #31 newt had been removed by HTH, since they were within one of their study areas. I left the flag and marked an X on it
Flag #30 newt was also in that study area, but HTH left the tail behind, so I left the flag and counted it as still being a newt.
26 moving vehicles, 3 parked, 2 bicycles, 2 hikers. The latter 4 had various friendly "newt patrol!" comments. Ran into HTH right after they'd cleared the two study areas, and had a brief chat about the flags and how many newts were in those buckets (8 & 5, I think it was).

Many of the newts that had been fresh at 7am were pretty broken up already at 9am, which surprised me. Sitting in my parked car at ~10:40 I saw an alive newt clamber up the little embankment in front of my car, headed away from the reservoir, but it turned out to have severe cranial injuries and had expired mid-step in the little time it took me to put the flash on my camera and go look at it.

Posted on January 28, 2021 04:29 by sea-kangaroo sea-kangaroo | 5 comments | Leave a comment

January 29, 2021

Thursday, January 28, 2021

First try: 7:00 am - about 8:45 am
Second try: about 12:30pm – 1:45pm

It rained 4.25 inches yesterday and today!!!

Found and documented 109 newts: 51 fresh, 52 old ones (still present), 17 missing

This survey didn’t go well. It rained heavily and was very windy all night and all day during the surveys.

I wasn’t able to complete the 7am survey because both my camera and my phone died from waterlogging. I got about mid-way between Limekiln & Priest Rock trailheads when my camera died. Then I switched to my cell phone and that died a short time later at the entrance to the Rowing Club. I had no choice but to come home to dry out my equipment.

Another problem I had was that my sharpies wouldn’t write on the very wet tags. I also tried a blue ballpoint pen and was able to get a few flags labeled. However, the ballpoint eventually failed too, probably because it was soaking wet like everything else (clothes, towels, tissues – there was nothing to dry the tags with). So, I ended up leaving blank tags for most of the new newts I found (51 new ones).

After I dried out my cell phone and my camera at home, I returned at about 12:30pm to finish the “7am” survey from the rowing club back to St. Joseph’s Hill. I was never able to complete the 2nd round (9am) this morning due to all the technical difficulties. Sorry, Merav! I feel like I failed you.

• Flags #6, #16, #31 – these newts have been missing for awhile, but the flags are still there.
• Flags #7A, #7B,(#7C was new with this survey), #10A, #10B, #17, #28, #30, #39, #59, #60 - newts that are newly missing with this survey. I removed flags #28 and #30; left #17 there to mark the unused flag stash.
• I couldn’t find Flags #1, #15, #23, #24, #27, #47, #48, #59, #61. I might’ve overlooked them – visibility was awful. Or they might’ve blown away. I found 3 flags on the street or in a ditch of water.
• Flags #63 through #106 are new for this survey. There were also 3 newt HTH observations.
• At the location of Flag #20, there are now 2 newts – one old and one new.
• Flag #31B – I couldn’t find newt #31, but there appeared to be a new one at this location on the ground a few feet from the road, so I used the same flag and labeled this one #31B, just in case this is the same newt that has moved its location.
• I forgot to measure the new newts – sorry Merav!

Errors & Issues:
• I found three flags in the street or face-down in a roadside creek. The wind or a mudslide probably misplaced them.
• Flag #53 photograph wasn’t a newt – it was a fancy pattern in the concrete reflecting a pool of water. Don’t know if I just missed newt #53 or what. I didn’t include my photo of #53.
• I think there were 2 flags labeled #57 – it was hard to read.
• Flags #65-66 were not used.
• Flag #71 photo wasn’t a newt – it was a crushed bay nut, so I didn’t include it.
• There were 2 flags labeled #82, so I’m recording them as 82-A and 82-B in iNat.
• There were 2 flags labeled #21; the second one should be #22.
• I have a few photos that were whited-out due to bright light reflecting off the water and my cellphone freaking out from being too wet. I included them, but @merav may decide to remove them if they’re not useful.
• I also included photos of just the flags when the newts were missing. Don’t know if @merav wants to keep these.

Weather: Heavy rain all night and morning (1.65 inches on 1/27; 2.6 inches on 1/28!!!) Also, there were strong winds & flowing water on the road. Roaring water is now flowing through the culvert at Limekiln Canyon.

Traffic: I was overwhelmed with the above difficulties, so I didn't accurately count vehicles, but I'd guess there were about 20 pickups & road maintenance trucks. They had the road scrapers out this morning to clear fallen rocks in several places and probably scraped many of our newts away. Many of the trucks were travelling fast – I had a few close calls. Only a handful of cars. There were also 3 runners and one bicyclist.

Notes for next time:
o Pre-label flags so it doesn't have to be done on the road, which is a problem when it’s raining. Things get confusing very fast if we can't label as planned.
o I wasn’t aware that when there are multiple newts at a location, we were supposed to create a separate iNat observation for each one. For example, if Flag #15 has 2 newts, there should be 2 iNat observations; one for each newt.
o As the newts accumulate on the road, it takes much longer to do the work. The two hour difference between Round 1 (7am) and Round 2 (9am) is probably not enough time.
o I wasn’t clear about when to remove the flags. Sometimes when newts went missing, the flags were removed. Sometimes an “X” was written on the flag and the flag was left in place.
o With the heavy rain & wind, there was a lot of detritus on the road (leaves, crushed bay nuts, rocks) that made it tricky & more time-consuming to spot the newts.
o With this heavy rain, there were lots of newts on the road. Sometimes there were so many in one spot, it was hard to match the right flag with the right newt, especially if there wasn’t a convenient place to sink the flag due to rocks, steep dropoff, etc. (Does that newt slime come from several feet down the road? Does it belong to this newt or a new one?)
o When it’s dark out, such as during the storm this morning, it takes the camera longer to focus so you have to be out on the road longer than usual. I had a couple close calls.
o The longer the study continues, the more complex it becomes. You have to find all the old newts, pull the flag (match it to the right newt), photograph them, and then put the flag back. You also have to find all the new newts, create a new flag, and photograph them. You also have to be aware of any missing newts so they can be documented. This might be easier to do as a team. For myself alone out there, I was very overwhelmed (maybe I’m just a confused old woman – Merav probably could’ve figured out a way to do this successfully).

P.S. My camera and cellphone have made a complete recovery, thank goodness!

Posted on January 29, 2021 01:53 by truthseqr truthseqr | 1 comment | Leave a comment

January 26, 2021

Tuesday 1/26/2021, 9 am

@newtpatrol and I went there this morning to do the first walk, as part of the regular weekday survey.
We had about 23 newts on this 1 mile section (from St. Joseph's Hill parking lot to the boat club road). Most of the newts were pretty dry. It’s amazing how quickly they dry out - it rained just on Sunday. We marked each newt with a numbered flag. In a few places we had 2 newts together, and they got one flag, but we wrote a note on the flag. @newtpatrol watched as one of the newts got blown away in front of her when a truck drove by on her way back (! She aslo found two newts that weren't maked on the road - an additional one on Flag #10, and Flag #18.
Since this was the regular survey day for this week, all observations were added to the 2021 project, and also to this new project. None of the newts were removed.
All data was added to a new preadsheet.
Traffic data: 5 trucks, 10 cars, 1 bike, 3 pedestrians, 20 parked cars.
It was so cold (3c) that there was beautiful frost everywhere, including 1 dead newt.

Posted on January 26, 2021 22:48 by merav merav | 2 comments | Leave a comment

January 27, 2021

Tuesday 1/26/2021, 4 pm

I documented 25 newts, 6 of them were new. I added flags to all the new newts, getting up to flag #24.
It was very cold, with light rain. I didn't see any live newt. One of the newts I saw was freshly killed.
Flag #13 - one of the 2 newts was missing
Flag #6 - newt missing. I removed the flag
It was very quiet, very few people and cars - 44 cars, 1 bike, 1 pedestrian, 7 parked cars. There were at least 10 more cars parked at the boat club. Most traffic was right around 5:15, maybe coming back from the boat club.

Posted on January 27, 2021 07:01 by merav merav | 0 comments | Leave a comment