BirdsOfMiddleEast1When we moved over to the Middle East I was expecting to see Camels.  And we did.  We saw lots of camels.  There is even a camel festival that includes a camel beauty contest.  The only desert I had been to before was the desert in the American southwest.  So I was expecting to see cactus and other familiar desert fauna and flora.  But I’m not sure I saw one single cactus the entire time we lived in the Middle East. 

We lived near a mountain and so one afternoon we drove up to the top to watch the sunset over the desert.  Sitting there looking out at the vast amounts of sand it was hard to imagine that there would be any wild life at all.

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The one thing that we saw that surprised me the most was the birds.  There were so many birds with such striking designs. 

Displays of Falconry were very common.  The falcon is a revered bird in the United Arab Emirates and throughout the Middle East.  Falconry is a big deal there even today

We decided we would start out by going to the zoo so that we could learn a little bit more about the birds we were seeing and what to look for.

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On our way to the Bird Show my son noted that it was right next to the Kentucky Fried Chicken.  “Wow, that’s one way to keep the birds in line” he said.  “They don’t behave and they’re lunch”.

The birds at the zoo were interesting but actually the most interesting birds we saw were outside of the zoo. 

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Sacred Ibis

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Hoopoe

One afternoon we met up with another bird enthusiast and she took us out into the desert in her 4×4 and we shooshed around in the sand until we arrived at an oasis she knew about.  She said this was a great place to watch for birds. 

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We did see some beautiful birds there that day too.

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The teenager who had come along to humor me was pleasant but not quite as into walking very quietly so as not to scare off any potential sitings.

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Across this little waterway were some beautiful white birds.  Cecilia sent this picture to her brothers later that day saying that she felt more like she was on a Star Wars movie set than anything else as just beyond this stretch of water was sand and more dunes and more sand.

The next day she received this in her email from her brothers.  They told her to look closely because they couldn’t believe what they saw in the background.

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SO, be sure and take your cameras with you and take lots of pictures.  Who knows what you will find along the way.  And then again there is always Photoshop.

PS We did see lots of camels that day too.