Friday, October 23: Field Trip - Birding Dhow Trip with Michael Grunwell and the Qatar Bird Club (QBC)


Friday, October 23: Field Trip - Birding Dhow Trip with Michael Grunwell and the Qatar Bird Club (QBC)

Due to the huge popularity of this event, the very first Qatari pelagic (ocean dwelling) birding trip, we have added another boat and will now be chartering TWO dhows from Qatar International Adventures (QIA) to head out to sea in search of birds that are difficult to see inshore. 

This trip is now full; please check this site for more information and updates. Call the Trip Organizer if you still have questions!


IMPORTANT: Even if you have already signed up for this trip, you must text a message to 605.6762 which includes the NAME and NATIONALITY of the people you signed up. Since our trip is a bit unusual (in that we are heading far offshore), we are required to provide a list of passengers and their nationalities to the Coast Guard three days before departure. 

Make sure you bring your Qatar ID with you in case we are boarded at sea for a Coast Guard inspection.


Special Note: Due to the length of this trip, the unprotected nature of these boats on the open sea (i.e., no cabins, open rails, etc.), the dhows' sparse furnishing, and possible rough water concerns, we strongly discourage bringing young children, especially under 12 years of age. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of this trip for your child, contact John Tribuna to discuss your concerns.


As mentioned before in earlier, our goal, Plan A is to get out away from the coast, 12.5 miles (20 km), so we can see birds that are not usually available along the coast. As we are dealing with the fickle sea, however, and we are going out into international waters, the Coast Guard can call off our deep water trip due to weather conditions or other concerns at any time. If the dhows have not yet left the dock when the Coast Guard makes this announcement, we will reschedule our trip with QIA for the next available weekend. If, however, the Coast Guard makes its announcement after we have already left the docks, or if we get out to sea and discover the conditions are too rough, etc., we will fall back to Plan B, which is to go to Al Saflia Island. We should be able to go swimming there and generally enjoy a day at the beach; some bird sighting will still be possible, actually expected, so either way we will be birding. Therefore, remember to pack your swimming & sun gear - just in case! (The very nicely appointed bathrooms also double as shower stalls to wash off after an ocean swim.)


Other things you need to bring: binoculars and bird books, a light jacket or layer since it will cool down during the last hour of our trip into port - it'll be dark, so we can enjoy a beautiful view of the sunset and Doha City at night. Music - if you wish to play some of your music during the sunset cruise segment, make sure you bring a USB adapter to plug into the boats' sound systems. Also, if you are vulnerable to seasickness, bring and take your medications appropriately. Although water and soft drinks will be provided, you need to bring enough food and favorite drinks to last six hours. QIA reminds us that insurance doesn't cover alcohol related accidents.


If you need to cancel your participation in this trip for any reason, you must do so before 9:00 AM on Monday, October 19. Fees paid will not be refundable after that time.


If you wish to do a little research in preparation for our trip, at the top of our 'to see' list is the Persian Shearwater, which has not been reliably recorded in Qatari waters for 80 years - they must be out there and we hope to make history by a confirmed sighting of one! No one really knows which birds congregate off the coast here, so almost everything we see will be a discovery. Birds which we should certainly see are the Socotra cormorant, Slender-billed gull, the Little tern, Gull-billed tern, Sandwich - and Lesser crested terns. Birds we are hoping for include: the Greater crested tern, Red-necked phalarope, a range of waders and hopefully skua species. Another bird which is possible, though unlikely to sight is the Red billed tropicbird. In the evening during our dusk return trip, we can keep our eyes out for both White-faced and Wilson's Storm Petrels. 


For any questions of an avian nature, please contact Michael Grunwell of the QBC at 584.9161. Michael specializes in pelagic birding; a number of experienced QBC bird watchers will be on each dhow to help us spot our 'quarry'.


Restrictions: Limited - sign up previous to trip with organizer; No pets

Date: Friday, October 23

Time: The dhows depart at 12:00 noon and are expected to return around 6:00 PM 

Rendezvous: Meet at the Qatar International Adventures (QIA) pier at 11:30 AM
Directions:  Go to the intersection of the Corniche and Grand Hamad Street, the Pearl Shell Fountain traffic lights. Turn towards the water and go out onto the jetty. The QIA pier is the first one on the left as you drive out seaward; the dhows are the first ones on the left and they have "QIA" written high up on their white bows. Park as close to these dhows as possible.

Price per Passenger: 100 QR (Children not recommended)

Organizer(s): John Tribuna, 605.6762