Amid his busy official life, Dr Deepak Mittal, ambassador of India to Qatar, finds time for nature and enjoys the flora and fauna of Qatar. He recently enjoyed a birdwatching trip, with a group of nature lovers along with birdwatchers and photographers to Irkaya farm near the Saudi border.
Spread over an area of 22 square kilometres, the private farm is the largest bird sanctuary in Qatar for migratory birds from Europe to Africa and elsewhere. Birdwatchers and photographers have been monitoring the residential and migratory birds at the farm for over a decade and a half, and they have captured around 300 species of birds on camera in the farm.
The Ministry of Municipality and Environment has published referral books on the birds, reptiles, mammals and butterflies in the farm, led by renowned wildlife photographer Dilip Anthikkad, who was the liaison officer of the ministry.
A P Manikandan, former president of Indian Cultural Centre (ICC), who took the initiative of forming a photography club in ICC, Thajuddin C, Vishnu Gopal, Haseeb C M, and others accompanied the ambassador on the trip. More than 20 different species of birds including raptors such as marsh harrier, pallid harrier, kestrels; bee-eaters, larks, lapwings, reptiles, and butterflies were observed during the visit. ICC club secretary Haseeb C M informed that there are plans to continue organising such nature observation and photography trips.