the great migrations

Every fall, around Thanksgiving and for a few weeks after, these rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa) take to the Sunshine Coast Highway, heading for…well,where exactly? We find them on the pavement, looking to the other side of the road, sometimes unable to move because the sun has gone away and their bodies have cooled. They use a skin secretion to protect themselves against predators, a potent toxin, but I’ve never noticed anything like this when I pick them up to warm them a bit before letting them go again across the highway. We watch for them when we walk over for the mail most days and are sad when we find them flattened by cars. They have the most beautiful faces and brilliant orange bellies.