I had a couple odd animal sightings this week.
There were a pair of ravens, which googling suggests are commen ravens, Corvus corax in this region. They were flying around, calling to each other loudly with that grating, raucus voice.
They finally settled in a tree and got quiet. Later I heard what I’d have to describe as “gentle” raven voices, very quiet and not raspy. Like human pillow talk. I got out the binos and they appeared to be grooming each other. I thought I was misinterpreting it since I’d never seen birds do that before.
Later I looked it up and billing and preening each other is established courting/nesting behavior for corvids. Interesting.
A lady pulled her van up a little closer than I might comfortable the other day, but no biggie. Then her yappy dog erupted from the van and spent the next few days barking at people, chasing vehicles, etc. I actually liked the dog after it settled down but it started out (and sometimes ended) each interaction in barking/chasing frenzy.
Because of this yappy unpleasantness I tried to stay out of eyeshot/earshot of that dog. But one of my walks required a fly-by since they parked so close to the trail. Of course, Mister Yappy came unglued and started chasing us. In the past I’d stopped to let her (attempt to) reel the dog back in with pleas and exhortations but today I kept walking. If it gets lost in the woods or eaten by a bear it’s her problem, not mine.
I kept walking and turned my head back in the direction of travel:
I saw a large loose dog run across the two-track from right-to-left. My first impression was it was a German Shepherd, then the face shape, color, and front coat made me think husky. Somebody’s dog is loose and Mister Yappy could be living his last few moments. The big dog disappeared into the left side of the pic where there is a ravine coing down maybe 200ft.
Then I thought that doesn’t move or act like a loose domestic dog - it knew where it was going. I turned back and yelled to the lady that there was a coyote up here, a big coyote, a huge coyote. She made panicky noises and I hoped she restrain
the little bastard Mister Yappy going forward.
Walk, walk, walk. Then I though my dog is 52 pounds and that coyote was bigger than her in all dimensions. I don’t think coyotes get that big. I’d guess it was 70lbs. Muffin was keenly interested in the smells where it had crossed.
I knew there were a few (very few) wolves that had been reintroduced in the area south of I40 (Albuquerque), something like 40 small packs and a couple hundred animals total. I’d seen some at the El Paso zoo. It seemed vanishingly unlikely it was one of the wild or reintroduced animals. Then I read there was a lone female Mexican gray that had ranged up into Taos, about 50 miles NE of here. Hmmm.
In retrospect I think the crossing animal was a gray wolf, or wolf-hybrid of some kind. It didn’t have a radio collar. I don’t expect to see another one in the wild during my lifetime. The closest pic I can find to show what it looked like was this pic of a Mexican gray, with more white on the face and throat.
It’s going to be a hot week:
- Santa Fe and Los Alamos, 89F on Monday (about 85F up here), 16% RH
- Dallas 104F on Wednesday, 43% RH
- El Paso 108F on Monday, 14% RH
85F might not sound bad but the camper has no HVAC in any normal sense. Time for some adjustments.
controlling sun exposure
I backed up the van to a spot where it has sun exposure until about noon the shade afterward. Copious panel means I can get a full charge before noon and lithium means the battery bank can coast downward until the next morning. It was down to about 53% SoC this morning but I went to bed around 10pm. If I’d stayed up late it would have been drawn down a bit lower.
I made breakfast on the sandwich grill (~40Wh) and lunch in the instant pot (120Wh) and hit Absorption voltage 13.8v around 1148. Absorption was complete by noon and the panels started feeling shade a half-hour later. I’ll have to pay attention.
digression: heat derating
Just before hitting Absorption the 90.9Vmp array was finding Vmp around 76.0v. This is a function of cell derating due to excess heat. There was no breeze so the cells were superheated enough to decrease power output by 16.4%. Normally if the system were running full blash this close to noon the panels would have maxxed out the 45A controller controller. Today could only muster 44.5A.
The one load I didn’t impose on the system this morning was coffee brewing. I made room in the fridge last night for a mason jar so I could transition to cold-brewed coffee for the rest of the summer.