2012-2013 Trips


2012 - 2013 Season Rambles and Field Trips:

QNHG End of Season Social Function - Sheikh Faisal’s Museum Visit and Luncheon - Saturday 22 June 2013

 QNHG (Qatar Natural History Group) is delighted to announce that the end-of-season museum visit and luncheon will be on Saturday 22 June 2013 at Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani’s outstanding museum near Shahaniyah (approximately 20 kilometres west of Doha on the Dukhan Highway).

Date:  Saturday 22 June 2013

Location:  Sheikh Faisal’s Museum (See Google map. See instructions below)
Timing: 11:00am – Museum visit and tour from 11:00am 
1:30pm – Luncheon at Sheikh Faisal’s Museum  (Lunch catered by Kebab King in the Museum)
Tickets:       Adults: QR 100  Child 6-18: QR 50   (Open to QNHG members and limited quests)
Bookings:   To book your place and in order for us to know how many to cater for, please respond by email to ross@qatar.net.qa  at your earliest convenience (at the latest on 18th June 2013) providing: Name, number of adults, number of children.
We shall have the lunch in one of the large halls in the museum itself. Our thanks to Sheikh Faisal and the museum staff for allowing us the use of the facilities.
As always, the Qatar Natural History Group appreciates your support. 

 Additional Information: It is getting too hot for trips outside so we shall visit the vast and diverse collections held at Sheikh Faisal’s Museum. This QNHG excursion always proves to very popular and there seems to be something to interest everyone. The museum is always expanding and you will need the time allocated to wind your way through the huge galleries. Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani established the museum in 1998.  Fifteen years on, this museum offers visitors the opportunity to see valuable Arabic manuscripts, decorative arts, outstanding fossils (including a Tyrannosaurus Rex head), fine arts and weapons. You will see a detailed family tree of the Al Thani family. There is a compilation of personal photos from the Sheikh dating back to the pearl diving days.  Bedouin heritage has a notable place in the museum, honouring the culture that dominated this land for centuries.  The visitor to the museum can see how Bedouins lived, as well as their customary clothing and other objects.  There is an outstanding collection of cars and technical artefacts. The oldest car in the museum is a Ford from 1880. There are vehicles owned by the early Emirs of Qatar, a steam car and a Williams F1.
 Getting There:  The museum is located about 20 km from Education City, up Dukhan Highway. To get there, drive along the Dukhan Highway until you see a white sign on the side of the road (on your right) that reads Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum (the museum’s full name) with a U-Turn arrow. The museum is on your left – it looks like a huge fort.  Take the next exit on your right just before the flyover (just past the Woqod petrol station) which is the same exit you take for the Camel Races. Do a u-turn and head back towards Doha. Drive for about 7 km, past a palm tree plantation on your right. See the Google map. You will see another white sign on your right pointing to the museum. Turn right and the museum is about 1 km up a tree-lined road. 

Last Ramble of the year:
  • Destination: Al Wabra Wildlife Preserve
    Description: If you are interested in the Al Wabra Wildlife Preserve we have two day trip options as the last ramble of the year. The first 25 respondents for each day will be sent the instructions on the meeting point as well as have their name given to the two people who will be the contact for the 2 trips: Andrew McDonald and Phillip Connolly.

    Tues May 21 from 8-11am
    Tues May 28 from 8-11am
    Their website is here:     http://awwp.alwabra.com/
    Please fill out the following link if you are interested and choose your date. If you make the first 25 for the day you will receive further instructions.

Previous Rambles:
  • Friday May 10th, 2013 

For safety reasons, this event is limited to a total of 20 people to participate in viewing the hedgehogs

    Destination: Hedgehog and Insect Night
    Meeting place: Location sent by email to first 20 registrants
    Meeting time: 17:30
    What to bring: 

    Proper closed toe footwear, no flip flops, beverages to stay hydrated, folding chairs to sit, bug spray as mosquitoes will be out, a  flashlight/head torch. Perhaps a plastic jar to observe some of the creatures up close. For those who are selected to see hedgehogs you will want to bring some thick long (mid forearm) work gloves.

    Vehiclesyou must bring your own vehicle.  Ride shares cannot be arranged.
    Pets are NOT allowed on this trip.
    Have you ever wondered how biologists study creatures in the wild? Well, now is your chance to experience it first-hand!

    Qatar University Professors Dr. Nobuyuki “Nobby” Yamaguchi and Dr. Phillip Watson have graciously invited the Qatar Natural History Group for a night of insect and other wildlife discovery.

    Insect lighting provides a more relaxed study technique by bringing the animals to you. Bring your lawn chairs and you will be amazed by the diversity of moths, beetles, and other insects that are attracted to the light. Dr. Watson will help us identify these beautiful creatures and explain their unique adaptations and importance to the desert ecosystem (especially as hedgehog food J).

    Training will be given on how to safely handle these organisms; however, handling wild creatures always comes with risk. You can bring a plastic jar (sunpet) to take a closer inspection.

    Dr. Yamaguchi will lead a smaller group of members to look for hedgehogs which is his research subject. We will learn more about the Ethiopian hedgehog, native to Qatar and its unique route for food and mates. Please plan to bring long thick work gloves for this activity so you can hold the creatures properly. You may leave earlier)

  • Friday May 3rd, 2013 

Dr Andrew Petersen, the director of the team from the University of Wales currently excavating along with QMA archaeologists at Ruwaydha Fort on the NW coast of Qatar, has kindly offered to give our members a guided tour on Friday 3 May.

    Meeting place: Car park in Madinat Shamal. See attached sketch map. Andrew will meet us there and guide us to the site.
    Meeting time: 10.00 am (for new members who need to pay ). Allow about 1 hr 15 minutes to reach the venue after Landmark Mall on the Shamal Road.
    What to bring: 

    sun cream, sun hat, water etc. Birders:  bring along your binoculars as Ruwaydha is next to a mangrove forest and there are often interesting birds to be seen. Some of us plan to have a picnic lunch on the beach afterwards, so bring lunch if you’d like to join us.

    Vehicles: 4 x D preferable, but you can come in an ordinary vehicle and leave it at the roadside and walk the short distance to the site, or leave it in the car park and hitch a lift.
    No dogs please. Children are welcome but must be kept under strict control once we are on the site.
    Other notes: Ruwaydha Fort near the tip of the Qatar peninsula is impressively large, in fact it’s the largest fort in Qatar. Beside it are the remains of a village and two cemeteries. The fort is square, built of limestone and beach rock, and appears to have been occupied between 200 and 400 years ago. The original fort was enlarged several times.  Pottery found on site comes from the UAE, Bahrain and Iran. Fine porcelain from China and SE Asia predates 1750 AD. A shipping channel was dredged in the bay, and the occupants of the Ruwayda settlement had access to maritime trading routes. A long rectangular building beside the fort entrance was probably a merchants’ warehouse. Rich pearl banks lie less than 10 km distant, and the remains of stone fish traps show that there was a thriving fishing industry. The site seems to have been abandoned around 200 years ago, and it’s known that some of the people moved south to Al Zubara. Epidemics of cholera are known to have happened at around this time and would have killed many people, so that a large settlement like Al Ruwaida could no longer keep going. Whatever the reason, the fort and the village were left to the drifting sand, until the archaeologists arrived.

    Latest news from the front: Andrew says, ‘During this short season we’ve concentrated on the excavation of the north face of the fortress wall in search of the gate. To date no gate has been found but this may change during the week. In addition to the wall face we’ve uncovered a number of rooms and some enigmatic features which may relate to the remodelling of the fort in the mid eighteenth century.’

  • Saturday March 30th, 2013 (morning trip)
  • Destination: Al Zubara City Archaeological Site
    Meeting place: car park in front of Zubara Fort at 10.00 am. Allow about 90 minutes to reach the meeting place from Doha. From Landmark Mall, travel  approximately 55 kilometres north along the North Road / Al Shamal Highway.  From the turnoff, travel approximately 36 kilometres north-west to reach Zubara Fort.
    Meeting time: 10.00 am (for new members who need to pay )
    What to bring: your QNHG membership card or 50Qr/100Qr (family), water, lunch, hat, sun cream, a full tank of gas; No dogs please as their droppings may interfere with chemical dating processes.
    You can bring along a picnic if you wish for after the tour. There is an open area outside the ancient outer walls of the city where we will probably park and stop for lunch, but we'll need to make our own shade/rain protection against the potential sun, wind or otherwise shelter from a passing shower!
    Other notes: The 5th Ramble and Field Trip will be to the archaeological site of the old city of Al Zubara on Saturday 30 March 2013 at 10am.
    Dr. Alan Walmsley, the director of the excavations currently underway there by the Qatar Islamic Archaeology and Heritage Project [Qatar Museums Authority] will give us a guided tour of the sites under excavation in the old city.  You will also learn about the relatively recent fort near the site.
    Al Zubara is the only pre-oil era pearling and trading city in the Arabian Gulf whose remains have been undisturbed by recent development, and as such is of very great importance to our understanding of the way of life in the 18th and 19th centuries. In June this year, a decision will be made by UNESCO regarding Al Zubara’s nomination as a World Heritage Site.

  • Friday 12 April 2013

Destination:  QNHG and QGS Joint Field Trip and Ramble - "Umm Tays Preserve: Modern Coastal Dynamics and Beach Clean-up"
Meeting place: Time and location to be advised to registrants. A detailed schedule of events will follow once you have registered by clicking on the link at the bottom of this info. We plan to assemble in Al Ruwais at the end of the North Road.
Duration: Approximately from 10:00 hrs. to 14:30 hrs. The drive up is 1 hour 15 minutes from Doha.
Trip Leaders: Jeremy Jameson (QGS), Tammy King (QNHG) and Rob Ross (QGS & QNHG)
Summary: We are planning a day full of geology, marine ecology, a ramble, a swim on the beach, and a little clean up. The field area is the Umm Tays Preserve, which is located on the northern tip of the Qatar Peninsula and is accessed by a short drive (~5 km) east off the main North Road from the town of Medinat Al Shamal. The Preserve is distinguished by a narrow barrier island formed parallel to the main shoreline that extends for 5 km, approximately one km away from the shoreline. The barrier island protects a two-sided tidal inlet system, which boasts many interesting plant and animal communities and is responsible for generating a variety of sedimentation types.
We will visit the abandoned village of Al Mufjar, look at some petroglyphs and walk over an ebb tidal delta. At mid-day and low tide, we will traverse out to the offshore islands, stopping to examine tidal bars, beaches, stromatolites, mangroves, coral platform margin and discuss turtle nesting sites.
Finally, to a beach clean- up. Each vehicle will be given one large garbage bag and asked to help clean up flotsam along a stretch of beach on the barrier island. We are trying to keep one of the most beautiful coasts clear of garbage. This is a unique event held jointly annually by the Qatar Geological Society (QGS) and the Qatar Natural History Group (QNHG).
What to bring: it will be very hot so please bring plenty of water, hat, sunscreen, lunch, proper water shoes (not flip flops as you will get stuck in the mud walking across to the island). If you do bring any cameras or electronic equipment please ensure you have a waterproof bag in case it gets wet or you fall. Backpacks work well for traversing across to the island.
Logistics: 4WD high clearance is a pre-requisite for the event.

  • Saturday February 16th, 2013 (morning trip)
Destination: Musfer Sinkhole and Highest Point in Qatar
Meeting place: Hyatt Plaza under the large grocery cart
Meeting time: 7:45am (especially for new members who need to pay)
Departure: 8:30am sharp

What to bring: your QNHG membership card or 50Qr/100Qr (family), water, lunch, hat, sunscreen, flashlight, a full tank of gas
Other notes: no limits to the amount of vehicles. We will go together by convoy. This is the last stop for washrooms, grocery store etc

Where we are going:

#1 Stop. Musfer Sinkhole (Karst Cave). Arrive about 9:15am. Spending about 1 hour here exploring the cave and hearing about the geology, what causes a sinkhole and learn about the old outpost.

#2 Stop. Arrive about 10:30am. Highest Point in Qatar “Qurayn Abu al Bawl” at 103m above sea level. Walk in the area and stop for a snack/lunch. Depart at own leisure back to Doha.
  • Saturday December 8th, 2012 (morning trip)
Since we have been on land for the past two trips this next trip will provide us with a different perspective and a chance to burn off those extra pounds.

Who: We have partnered with Entalek EcoAdventures for a fun kayaking trip through the mangroves on a QNHG-only outing. These are two person kayaks so you can share the work of paddling with a fellow nature lover.Our maximum capacity is 30 people so please register to hold your spot. You will receive a confirmation email if you are one of the first 30 people to register. The trip is suitable for beginner to intermediate as we will explore the shallow mangrove channels.

Watch out for: We may see butterflies, damselflies, dragonflies, ospreys, flamingos, herons, egrets and more as we paddle at high tide through some stunning mangroves. After paddling we will have our lunch on the beach.

  • Friday 16 to 17th of November, 2012 (overnight trip)

Itinerary: We will depart and head into the Inland Sea to set up a camping ground (we will drive 1:15 to 1:30 hours from Sealine Resort), once everyone has set up their tents and rest of camping gear, we will set up our experimental “observatory” we will invite the participants to have a look and get some explanations of what’s going on up there!!
What to Expect: on this day the Leonids are at its second peak for the month, we have chosen this date because we will also have the moon on a new moon phase so it’s light will interfere less.
What are the Leonids? is a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo: the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky. Their proper Greek name should be Leontids (Λεοντίδαι, Leontídai), but the word was initially constructed as a Greek/Latin hybrid and it is being used since. They tend to peak in November.

  • Saturday 28th October 20, 2012 : Ramble Al Khor Island (Jazirat Al Ghanim)


Al Khor Island is also known as "Purple Island" due to it being the site of production of purple dye from seashells approximately 3400 years ago. The dye was used for dyeing the clothes of the elite. It is also surrounded by an abundant expanse of mangroves and has a fine view across the water to Al Khor.
There is a very good description of history of the dye production on p.13-16 and of the mangroves on p.111-113 in Fran Gillespie’s book “Discovering Qatar”. Another interesting source of information is http://wahyuinqatar.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/purple-island-a-k-a-al-khor-island/