Tuesday, January 22, 2019
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Qatar welcomes winged guests

Qatar welcomes winged guests

Santhosh Chandran
HUNDREDS of winged tourists have started arriving in Qatar taking full advantage of the pleasant winter. Some of these wonderfully colourful migratory birds are flocking to Qatar's several natural water bodies and remote beaches to take rest and breed this season.
Our winged guests, including very attractive flamingos have started arriving in Al Karana area and its nearby water bodies to find shelter, attracting Qatar-based ornithologists and wildlife photographers to visit the places in order to welcome the seasonal guests from Siberia and northern Europe.
Migratory bird species usually halt in Middle East countries such as Qatar during their flight from the colder regions of the world on their long journey from Europe to Africa.
The winged guests can be found in large numbers these days in Abu Nakhla, Al Karana, Al Thakhira and Al Khor beach, offering a colourful treat to avid bird-watchers in the country.
According to research reports, over a billion birds fly from Europe and the Siberian region to the African continent between September and April, and thousands of them use Qatar as their favourite transit point.
Some of these birds remain in Qatar's several small islands for breeding while others look for a temporary shelter inland away from the freezing cold weather.
Several bird species such as flamingos, Northern lapwing, European roller, Bluethroat, White-throated robin, Eurasian hobby and Pacific golden plover can be commonly viewed during this season, which is a rare feat for a desert nation.
Qatar and its islands attract around 300 varieties of migratory birds alone between September and April. This period is usually called as the 'migratory season'. Some of the country's islands are also an attractive nesting ground for Socotra cormorant, whose number is on the decline because of massive infrastructure development and marine pollution.
An environmentalist and photographer Shiraz Abdullah said,"Watching hundreds of beautiful birds in water bodies in the middle of a desert is always an awesome experience. Such visits not only provide brilliant opportunity of photography but also unveil the mystery and sensitivity of nature."
Incidentally, Qatar has partnered with BirdLife International, one of the world's largest nature conservation consortiums, for conservation of migratory birds and their habitat, identifying important bird areas and encouraging scientific studies. BirdLife International has already identified five islands for this purpose.


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