Bird watching at the Irkhaya Farm Lagoons offers a relaxing nature-escape from city life.
26 February 2020| Last updated on 27 February 2020
If you're searching for free nature activities in Doha, look no further...
Let’s face it, there are only weeks left of beautiful weather here in Qatar. At times it can be challenging to think of a new or stimulating activity to connect with nature.
Here is a unique activity that is not quite mainstream but great fun for a solo or group outing: birdwatching in Qatar.
Nature fans need not venture out too far from Qatar to enjoy some outdoor and wildlife activities. The Irkhaya Farm Lagoons in south-west Doha offers the best alternative for residents, visitors, and citizens who prefer to spend some quality peace and quiet with natural greeny that feels like a breath of fresh air.
Where is Irkhaya Farm Lagoons
Irkaya Farm is located off the Abu Samra Road about 50 kilometers west of Doha in the south central plain of Qatar.
It is home to many resident species and lies on the flight path of migratory birds and insects passing through Qatar. On any given day, up to 200 species of birds can be spotted, making it a fantastic location for bird watching.
It is a biodiversity hotspot.
Arriving at the Farm
A former Qatari resident suggested to me that when you come, the watchman at the front gate will let you in so just honk if he is not at the front gate. Often this former resident brought a bag of food or clothes for the farm staff as a way to say thank you and give back to the community. I thought this was a sincere and helpful tip.
It is best to arrive in the morning as this is when the birds are most active. Upon arrival to the farm, there are dirt roads and some unmade tracks which is fine for all types of cars, however, inside the farm, it can get muddy so an SUV may be required.
As you drive up to the farm, you can hear the cacophony of birds in the trees. One needs only to stop and stroll amongst the trees to see several species of birds. From the entrance, you can drive to the various lagoons situated throughout the farm.
There are several lagoons inside the farm and 1 lake outside of the gate. The lagoons are manmade, however, some of them contain fish through the natural process of small fish eggs being transported and deposited from the legs of visiting birds.
It is common to see Purple and Squacco Heron, Common Moorhen, Western Marsh Harriers, Clamourous Reed Warblers, Great Crested Grebe and many more avian species.
What to Bring
It is ideal to bring these items when bird watching in Qatar:
- A camera with zoom capability.
- A notebook to jot down your findings.
- Lots of water.
If you are not familiar with bird specifies commonly found in Qatar, you can contact the Friends of the Environment Center below: