Even in January when it's cold, it's good to get outside and take a walk. One of the great things about January is that the sandhill cranes winter over here and spread out all along the Rio Grande River valley to forage.
Yesterday we had a lovely walk in the Los Poblanos Open Space and watched the sandhill cranes feeding in the fields, and we also encountered a woodpecker as well as some other birds we couldn't identify.
Sandhill cranes make a particular clacking sound with their beaks as an alert call, so as we approached a group that was feeding, one would start clacking at us and they would all start moving farther away.
They're graceful in flight but not quite so graceful when landing. We were able to watch some come in to land and wondered if they simply pull up to stop flight and settle on the ground as some of the larger birds do. No--they slow down and hit the ground running, then come to a stop.
You can click on the article at the left to read more about the Los Poblanos Open Space. Note, however, that there is no intersection of Rio Grande Blvd. and Montano Road--Rio Grande actually has an overpass over Montano and you can't get from one to the other right there. The best way to get there is from 4th Street, turn west onto Montano, and then watch for the open space area on your right.
You can look for other walking routes on the website for the Albuquerque Prescription Trails Project.