Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Sometimes it goes beyond the birds.

Zebra-tailed Lizard

It's a bunch of things.  It's people.  It's new places that weren't always open to birding before.  It's new information.  And it's about spending time with other birders.

This past weekend, birders from all over Arizona (and beyond) got together for AZFO's(Arizona Field Ornithologists) conference in Ajo, Arizona.

Several of us met in Los Alamos Canyon inside of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  For several years, this remote place was shut down to the outside world due to safety concerns along the border.  Recently, the park has opened back up again and it was time for us to explore.

The waters inside the canyon flowed thanks to a recent rain storm.  It was a rare sight.

Townsend's Solitaire

The canyon was green and lush.

Life was evident everywhere.  Check out the tadpole video from Alamo Canyon.

While there weren't any new birds to discover, it was still just fun to explore.  It was a new hotspot.

Inside the canyon, we observed thousands of tadpoles feeding in the stream.  Damselflies and other insects were breeding like crazy.

Breeding Desert Firetails
Underbirded areas are fun because there's always a potential to find something good!

We came across Townsend's Solitaires, Black-throated Sparrows and many other birds.

the Familiar Bluet
At the end of our hike, I had the privilege of having dinner with Janet Witzeman, one of the authors of the Birds of Phoenix and Maricopa County.  I was able to contribute to her book and it was great meeting her for the first time.

She is one of the great Arizona bird pioneers of our time and has made so many contributions over the years. And because of her work, she won a lifetime achievement award from AZFO. 

Organ Pipe was a blast.  We even took the time to bird a quirky little spring known as Quitobaquito.

Wilson's Snipe
It is the only place you can find the VERY endemic Quitobaquito Pupfish in Arizona as they only live in this tiny pond.

Sometimes it's all about the fish.  Not often.  Just sometimes:)

This once mining town, almost a ghost town now, is a great place to stay if you are planning on spending some time in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  It's a HUGE place to explore and one of the few places in the state to find Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls.

Until next time......


  1. That sounds like a good fun trip and quite a variety of things to see. Good to meet the author of that book

    1. That was pretty exciting. I was so happy to meet her. She's 87 I think and looks amazing!

  2. Ajo is a fun town and I LOVE the Organ Pipe NM. So much so, that if the paperwork all goes through, I'll start working there Nov 25th. Hope you'll come for a visit.

  3. Excellent post. Have a good day Diane

  4. Some great looking wildlife out there. The Wilson's Snipe is my favourite though.

    1. That's a fun bird to find:) They can be tricky!

  5. Splendid outing. That first photo made me think of a Menorah. Love all your great camera work. Peace.

    1. Thank you Janice. When I saw the Cholla Cactus, Menorah was the first thing that came to mind:)

    2. Great minds, as the saying goes.

  6. What a wonderful event - I so enjoyed seeing all the photos. The Wilson's Snipe though is my favourite :)

  7. Hi Chris, I thought you might enjoy this news story from Goderich, Ontario, Canada about a rare sighting of a calliope hummingbird :


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