Desert Junkies!

It had been 4 weeks since we’d last been in the desert and the weather forecast didn’t sound too extreme- just a mere 36C! – so a desert trip was organised. We are hooked on exploring an area around the small village of Bajda, where the rockscapes are spectacular- so that is where we headed. Our first stop was to show one of the guys the interesting ‘alien’ rock art we’d found a few weeks ago.

Sadly, some graffiti has been sprayed on top, which detracts somewhat from the 9 figures and other animals which decorate the rock face. It was interesting to see that where some people had been digging down in front that the art continued below what is now the surface. Obviously there has been a huge build up of sand, animal excrement and fodder over the hundreds of years since this rock face meant something special to the local people. The digging occurs because there is a belief that gold can be found and I suppose if the figures are indeed idols then I imagine some offerings would have been left but how much of it would have been gold I’m not sure.
As we lingered at this spot some camels approached and started to have dust baths in front of us- very entertaining:)

I doesn’t matter how many times we see camels I can never resist taking a few pics.
Our exploration continued in and around the wonderful scenery and we were rewarded with the sight of quite a lot of small birds- rose finches, wheatears, Tristram’s grackles, and a few I have still to identify. The most exciting bird spot was an Egyptian vulture soaring above.

Rose finches were quite abundant in a few areas.

Tristram’s grackles seem to like this area.
Wadi areas criss cross this area and water obviously collects underground going by the large areas of plant life and the numerous herds of goats, sheep and camels that we often see. In an effort to collect some of the water we have so far found 4 man made reservoirs.

This reservoir still had some water in it which had attracted a lot of birds and dragonflies.
The people who look after the animals are sometimes the local Bedouin but we have quite often met other nationalities- Somali or Sudanese who are employed to look after the herd.

This open air camp is probably ‘home’ to a couple of animal herders who were out with their herd when we stopped by to take photos of a very nice stylised horse petroglyph we spotted.

A very good day in the desert, indeed! I’ve had my ‘fix’ for a wee while and as we’re going back to UK on holiday soon we’ll miss a few weeks of the hottest weather:)

My friend took this shot of the vulture with his mega-zoom lens.


Fish in the desert?

Yesterday, I went exploring in the desert with some friends. It was a bit hot but the area we went to had lots of high rocks so we were able to find some good shady spots for our coffee and lunch stops- very important! 🙂

We hadn’t been to this exact area before so were pleased to find some new rock art panels, interesting rock formations and a purpose built water storage tank. Obviously, sited in an area that collected the runoff from the rocks, apart from a grid and a small access hole, it was completely covered in to prevent evaporation. We were delighted to see it was full of water. There was a hosepipe to remove water to fill a trough at the front- I should think to water animals and when we looked closely there were the expected mosquito larvae, some red thread worms and what we hadn’t expected some tiny fish!! Well that’s what they looked and swam like!

Small fish creatures in the water.

Quite a large lizard kept us entertained at lunchtime on the rocks nearby.

Tired of posing it makes its escape.

A wheatear feeding it chick with a tasty locust.
Talking of locusts- a few weeks ago there was talk of Saudi getting a plague of them – well on the drive back into town one area of road was covered in small yellow locusts hopping across the road. Many hadn’t made it and there were lots of yellow splodges on the road. Perhaps there won’t be quite the plague as they were predicting!
That’s the great thing about our trips in the desert- we just never know what we’ll see or find and no two trips are ever exactly the same:)