Journal archives for August 2020

August 09, 2020

First Roadkill Sightings at Lexington Reservoir (Nov. 2017)

November 12, 2017
I saw 6 dead newts on Alma Bridge Rd. between Limekiln and Priest Rock trailheads.
See: https://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/truthseqr/2017/11/12

46 dead animals on South Bay roadways


January 15, 2018
I'm very sad and disturbed to report that I saw 46 dead animals on South Bay roadways today. This is twice as many dead animals in one day as I observed in the whole of 2017.
• 42 (yes, forty-two!!) Pacific Newts
• 3 raccoons
• 1 striped skunk

The raccoons were killed on Highway 17 in Los Gatos. The skunk was on Hwy 237 in Sunnyvale. The 42 newts were killed on Alma Bridge Rd. at Lexington Reservoir between the Limekiln and Priest Rock trailheads (0.6 mile). Many were bloody with guts oozing out, which was really quite traumatizing to see. I only photographed 7 of the 42 to post on iNaturalist.org. That's 48 dead newts within a 3-month period, but more accurately during 2 visits to Sierra Azul, on a very short section of roadway.
See: https://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/truthseqr/2018/1/15

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is working along with other authorities to create safe corridors for wildlife. See Midpeninsula Regional Openspace District's website: "HIGHWAY 17 WILDLIFE PASSAGE" project to help protect animals from humans.
https://www.openspace.org/our-work/projects/wildlife-crossing

2017-2018 Newt Migration Season at Lexington Reservoir - Roadkill


January 21, 2018
I went back to Lexington Reservoir to do a more extensive count of newts killed along Alma Bridge Road from the St. Joseph Hill OSP parking lot to Soda Springs Road (2.7 miles total).

I found a total of 457 newt carcasses on the road in various stages of decomposition. There weren't as many "fresh" carcasses as last week. This count is probably inclusive of the 42 carcasses I saw last week between Limekiln and Priest Rock trailheads (0.3 mile).

Since I don't know how long it takes a newt carcass to decompose, I don't know the timeframe for these deaths (a few weeks? a few months?), but I would guess they all happened this season.

Things I noticed:
• There were clusters of carcasses around drainages from the hillside.
• Most carcasses were found on the left side of the road (uphill side) when traveling south.
• Not surprisingly, there were also clusters of carcasses near the trailheads and parking lots, where the traffic is heaviest.
• There were many fewer carcasses after the Los Gatos Rowing Club entrance, when traffic thins out.

I have photos of these 457 newt carcasses if anyone needs them for proof. (I'll probably have newt zombie nightmares after seeing all these dead bodies.)

P.S. I didn't see a single live newt during my 4.5 hour hike this morning.

Reference:
Best management practices for mitigating the effects of roads on amphibian and reptile populations:
https://files.ontario.ca/bmp_herp_2016_final_final_resized.pdf

Posted on August 09, 2020 05:41 PM by truthseqr truthseqr | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 21, 2020

Brush Rabbit vs Desert Cottontail

These two species (Sylvilagus bachmani vs Sylvilagus audubonii) are very similar.

Here are some good discussions for telling them apart:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/6912099
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/56575544
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/56575543

Here's a rare & exceptional photo of the two species side-by-side
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/50052974

Helpful notes from @biohexx1:
The way that I tell desert from brush cottontails is:

1.) dark tips on the ears
desert cottontails have dark tips:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/44827385
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/44805427

2.) ear length to body ratio
desert cottontails have longer ears (though no where near
as long as jackrabbits) than brush:
desert
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/27415544
brush
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26754521
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26720438

3.) rust-colored nape of neck and legs (desert) vs. unicolor gray (brush)
desert
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/27292884
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26996261
brush:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/27187739
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/27004728

4.) 'fluffiness' of tail
muted tail (brush)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26648081
fluffy tail (desert)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26786946
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26840130

5.) geography
Having said all of this, it can be hard to tell one from the other sometimes. People use cell phones which doesn't give the best quality of image from far-away. People only get one picture/one angle of the rabbit. Sometimes the rabbit is in a shrub or shadow and hard to see features. Sometimes the rabbit is in a rest-position and you can't see the back of its neck and its ears are lain down.

Posted on August 21, 2020 07:22 PM by truthseqr truthseqr | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 27, 2020

Tips for Identifying Brush Rabbits in the Field

We welcome your comments & tips for identifying Brush Rabbits (Sylvilagus bachmani) in the field.

Posted on August 27, 2020 10:31 PM by truthseqr truthseqr | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Tips for Identifying Desert Cottontails (Sylvilagus audubonii) in the Field

We welcome your comments and tips for identifying Desert Cottontails (Sylvilagus audubonii) in the field.

Posted on August 27, 2020 10:32 PM by truthseqr truthseqr | 0 comments | Leave a comment