It’s entirely possible to spend years living in the Bay Area and never encounter a California Newt. This tiny amphibian spends most of its time living in burrows and holes. But once year, the newts make an epic migration (at least for them) to nearby ponds for mating season. It’s incredible to see dozens of these animals making their slow, deliberate pilgrimage through the grass and underbrush.
That was one of the things we wanted to document when we began our exploration of Briones Regional Park, just east of Berkeley. This park is a favorite spot for locals, but is also home to some amazing wildlife. With the help of East Bay Regional Parks naturalist Meg Platt, we put together a science hike where you can see some of the amazing things the park has to offer. But you’ll also notice on the map that we didn’t pinpoint exactly where the newts live.
As Meg described, this is a fragile species and thanks to Parks District’s work, the newts are able to thrive in Briones and several other East Bay parks. But it’s important for hikers and park users to give this species plenty of space, especially during mating season. Make sure to keep dogs out of the park’s ponds. Luckily, the East Bay Regional Parks district puts together programs for the public so everyone can safely discover this amazing species.
Lauren Sommer is an Associate Media Producer for QUEST.