Pacific Newt Roadkill: 223 found dead today; 2 alive; 1 mortally injured

March 17, 2019 (Sunday) 7:15 am – 11:00 am

I found 223 dead newts on Alma Bridge Rd. this morning between St. Joseph’s Hill OSP and Aldercroft Heights Rd. (4.1 miles). I also found two live newts. One had severe injuries. I don’t think it will survive. This really tears me apart to see an injured newt struggling to get to safety. The other one seemed to be in good health. I helped it across the road to safety. It was heading back to the highlands. It looked like most of the roadkilled newts were heading back to the highlands as well. I only saw 2 that were heading toward the water.

See: https://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/truthseqr/2019/3/17

There were a lot of fresh newt bodies on the road this morning. Last night was the first time in 7 days that the overnight low was above 45 degrees. This adds more data to my theory that overnight low temperatures have more effect than amount of rainfall on the number of newts found dead on the road. In some cases the roadkill was so fresh the bright red blood was shimmering in the sunlight (i.e., it hadn’t coagulated yet).

There are more juveniles in Soda Springs Canyon than anywhere else. I wonder why? There were a lot of Taricha granulosa dead on the road. More than I’ve seen on other days. I measured the length of some of the carcasses to show the difference between mature and juvenile newts.

I uploaded ~200 observations of decomposed roadkill from January. These had to be compared with all previous observations to ensure no duplicates were added to the project. This has been a very time-consuming and tedious process that I do in my spare time.

Other roadkill: Western Toad, Western Fence Lizard, 2 birds

Coverage: (~100%) St. Joseph’s Hill OSP and Aldercroft Heights Rd. (4.1 miles)

Rainfall: (MTD: 3.41 in; YTD: 22.57 in) It was dry and sunny this morning. We haven’t had rain in 7 days. We’re expecting more rain this coming week.

Traffic: It seemed as if the cars were driving slower than usual this morning. I wonder if the message is finally getting through to people or if this is a phenomenon of Sunday morning drivers. During the 4 hours I was there today, I counted all cars/trucks, bikes, and runners (Cars/Trucks: 117, Bikes: 16, Runners: 5). There were also 44 cars/trucks plus a horse carrier in roadside parking. Of the 117 cars & trucks, 94 were on the section of road before the Los Gatos Rowing Club. Throughput there was ~94 vehicles per hour. Throughput south of the rowing club was 7.7 vehicles per hour.

Posted by truthseqr truthseqr, March 18, 2019 01:51 AM

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