Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Truck in the shop with a busted starter motor (second one), so I rented a car for getting around, and got around up to San Luis Obispo to meet Juliet at 0830. Took hwy 101 N to Vineyard Drive, then west to hwy 46, continuing to Santa Rosa Creek Rd. Headed NW towards Cambria with a stop at the Rocky Creek bridge S of Black Mountain. Creek here looks good for newts, but none to be seen today. Continued over Black Mountain summit and down into Santa Rosa Creek, past Matt Smith’s house below the switchback and into the wooded canyon. There is a large N tributary joining the creek here 2.5 mi. NW of Black Mountain summit, 685 feet elev., and the roadside is unfenced for almost half a mile, so we parked and had a walk. This is just about the same site as 10.0 mi. ESE of Cambria, the uppermost newt seen on 31 March. Coordinates 35.56843N, 120.93816W.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Picked up Ashlyn at CCBER and drove to San Luis Obispo to check on reported newt localities near Cuesta Grade. A clear day, high about 70 F, no wind. Went first to Reservoir (Brizziolari) Canyon, an eastern tributary of San Luis Obispo Creek accessible via a short road off hwy 101 a half mile NE of San Luis Obispo. There is a parking area and a trail starting at a large serpentine outcrop that was once the core of a dam, now washed away. Started here and walked upstream in and along the creek, which was flowing at ca. 4-5 cfs in a narrow riparian corridor with steep chaparral slopes to the S and open serpentine grassland on the N. Went upstream about ¾ mile without seeing any newts or egg masses. The stream looks good but is small and shallow, with relatively few refuge pools. Ashlyn found a Batrachoseps nigriventris under a small log, though in general the leaf litter was too dry.