I've been hiking two hours a day early in the morning in the desert valley below my hilltop housing development, near Albuquerque, NM, then climbing the almost sheer water culvert back up to my cul-de-sac.
Yesterday I walked down the mountain to Paradise Meadows park, where a large family of American crows was running around on the grass, arguing and flapping. One stayed in a small tree, cawing loudly, even when I walked within a few feet.
When I went out the back of the park through the pedestrian baffle gate, I saw tracks in the sand, showing that the resident mother coyote and her grown pups had crossed the desert and entered the park. Their tracks went out the other side at the street, inside the subdivision.
Kit fox tracks ran parallel to theirs, no doubt made at a different time.
When I checked the new birthing den the female coyote had been digging the day before, there was no sign she'd returned, perhaps because of my scent.
The resident curve-billed thrashers had built a number of nests in each tree cholla cactus. I watched them foraging on the ground under the sagebrush, while little white-tailed antelope squirrels scampered around, no longer running away at the sight of me.
The resident greater roadrunner buzzed at me, then flew in a flat glide from the subdivision wall down onto the desert to begin hunting prey.
The huge black-tailed jackrabbits are sill running away from me, but the desert cottontails often don't bother.
I see white-nosed coati tracks and droppings, mule deer, javelina, and gray fox tracks as well.
The day before, I watched a covey of Gambel's quail pairing off for breeding, the males doing courting displays and calling their weird "Kaaa" calls from the tops of walls. Some had already formed pairs.
I took photos with my phone, but they were terrible.
My expensive birding camera and lenses are still in Thailand, being held by my former boss, who keeps demanding bribes before shipping them to me, so no way to guarantee she'll do it.