Ajo, Arizona

December 13, 2015 at 6:01 am (Bird photography, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Southwest Birds, Southwest Landscapes, Wildlife) (, , , )

Mule deer doe in saguaro forest

Mule deer doe in saguaro forest

Although I chose not to visit Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge with a heavily loaded minivan due to the rugged roads, I stopped at the refuge’s visitor center in Ajo, Arizona and found out about a loop drive that was much easier to navigate.

Gila woodpecker on saguaro

Gila woodpecker on saguaro

However, there was some good wildlife watching on the nature trail behind the visitor center itself.  The gila woodpeckers with their noisy calls reminded me of the golden-fronted woodpeckers I had first seen at Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Curve-billed thrasher

Curve-billed thrasher

I saw a coyote and javelina on the nature trail, as well as several bird species.

Gambel's quail male

Gambel’s quail male

The Gambel’s quail were attracted to the birdseed cakes the visitor center personnel set out.



Insect-eaters like the verdin preferred other prey.



Where there’s mesquite, there’s the phainopepla.  At least in the desert.


Driving on the 10-mile loop road early and late in the day yields the best light.  The drive circles an old open-pit copper mine, and shows off both saguaro and organ pipe cactus.


I saw a herd of mule deer in dawn’s early light.  The doe below briefly nursed her fawn before trotting off.

Doe nursing fawn

Doe nursing fawn

I was using a Canon SX-50 at maximum zoom (1200mm equivalent) to get these images.



Next: Organ Pipe National Monument which is nearby.

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.comhttps://photoartgal.smugmug.com/Southwest/Arizona/Ajo-Arizona



  1. greg said,

    Beautiful captures! The deer and fawn are so cute …

  2. Jet Eliot said,

    Oh Cindy, these photos are spectacular! I love the cacti photos, silhouettes, beautiful capture of light. And the bird photos are really wonderful. I espec. like the phainopepla, Gambel’s quail and thrasher — residents we don’t find in many other places.

  3. Cindy McIntyre said,

    Thanks for your nice comments!

  4. mbkircus said,

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. I especially loved the verdin. I got to watch on building a nest once at South Llano River State Park and had several coming for oranges at Choke Canyon State Park.

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