Saturday, May 6, 2017

Coastal nature conservation in Qatar

I have spent only a few days in the wilds of Qatar but I am sure anyone wanting an escape can find nature there. This small country does have a wonderful wilderness desert and subtropical beaches - even bird-rich wetland oases. Fuwairit beach is one of the dozen or so lagoons with mangroves, its well worth a visit in the northern part of Qatar.

Here I share some photos I took during one of our most exciting expeditions (April 24th to 28th, 2013). Please read our paper on the birds of the coastal area of Fuwairit for a scientific conservation opinion of things: 

And please, if you live in the Gulf, get involved in nature conservation. 

Doha - Like any other middle eastern city.

Research camp at Fuwairit Lagoon 2013.

Famous for its sea turtles.

Helping build the researchers' and volunteers' lodgings on Fuwairit beach. Temporary but luxourious!

Fuwairit beach, tide receding.

Fuwairit lagoons mangroves. Young, regenerating fast. An oasis. 

Migrant leaf warbler on the mangrove.

Migrant Acrocephalus warbler on mangrove.

Tiny bubble crab diggings in the Fuwairit mangrove.
Fuwairit lagoon's mangrove channels. Although a very small place, it gives an exotic tropical feel. 

I watched grey mullet, niddlefish, toothcarps and many other fishes surge with the tidal water through the mangrove.

The shallow marine waters of Fuwairit are a fun place for a snorkel tour. Tropical marine life abounds. 

Although there are very few rocky or coral structures in the shallows, some fish, crabs and cuttlefish are easily seen. These are cardinal fishes.

Sea grass beds are interesting. They also attract fish, like these Mojarras. 

At the country's northern tip is the Al Shamal area, a fascinating spit and dune island system with extensive tidal wetlands and mangroves. 
Al Shamal spit with beach dune vegetation. 

Flowering Grey Mangrove.
Fascinating parasite Cistanche sp. - it lives off the roots of Arthrocnemum
Salt marsh plant.
West coast, somewhere near Ras Abrouq. Interesting formations and a remarkable tide.
On Qatar's west coast the beaches are sometime full of tiny shells. 
Qatar's west coast beaches.

Sunrise at Fuwarit research camp.

Finally, if you are interested in our work in the area you can download our first report below. We had mixed results with the local authorities. We sincerely hope they continue working for conservation.