Yesterday we went with the Qatar Natural History Group (QNHG) on a visit to Al Karaana Lagoon in the southwest of Qatar. Al Karaana was used for many years as a waste dump to collect industrial waste from tankers, as well as treated sewage water from the nearby treatment station. Prior to that it was an old quarry. In 2017 the “Al Karaana Lagoons: Reclamation, Rehabilitation & Wildlife Enhancement” was started. I won’t bore you with the details (mainly because I don’t know them) but the site has been cleaned up, and there are now large lagoons (2 so far, with a third, much larger one to come) and it is turning into a habitat for birds and fish. It’s an exciting project and so nice to see the desert being reclaimed. Eventually the plan is to develop this area into public parks with picnic areas and a wildlife preserve.
For now, it is still a construction site, and we were escorted by 3 members of the teams working on the project, who were justifiably proud of what they are achieving. Many in our group were very keen birders, and spotted a lot of different bird species. We were more interested in getting some photos, especially of the flamingos. Greater flamingos are migratory, and visit Qatar during the winter months. We can often see them in the distance on a small island that is visible from our apartment, and once a flock flew right overhead as we were sitting on our balcony. But this was the first time we have seen them up close. We also spotted egrets, herons, cormorants, stilts, sandpipers, harriers, an owl and more. And on the way home, we saw a couple of camels on the back of a truck. And an entire bathroom!