Capturing nature’s splendor: Ahmed al Washahi’s journey through Wetland

Capturing nature's splendor: Ahmed al Washahi's journey through Wetland


Muscat: One day, as the sun drew close to sunset, I strolled through the serene Al Ansab Wetland. The harmonious interplay between stillness and motion painted a breathtaking view before me. Amidst this tranquil setting, I spotted a man shouldering his camera, venturing among the vibrant Omani Plants that flourished in this wetland. With a gentle wave, he silently greeted the bustling flocks of birds.

Ahmed al Washahi, a renowned photographer specialising in biodiversity and wildlife, is also a respected water engineer. Though he originally aspired to study biology, an opportunity to delve into oil and gas emerged.

Nonetheless, fate smiled upon him after graduating as he secured a job at Nama Water Services. There, he worked as a process engineer in a wastewater treatment plant near the Al Ansab Wetland. “This environment,” he shared, “provides the perfect opportunity to develop my skills in biodiversity, as my company is deeply committed to preserving the natural world through various initiatives.”

Ahmed has dedicated the past decade to nature photography, showcasing his passion for wildlife through captivating action shots. His photographs and videos have graced the pages of esteemed international publications, including the prestigious National Geographic Magazine. Most notably, Al Washahi documented numerous bird species, particularly those frequenting Al Ansab Wetland. I was informed by a friend that Ahmed fostered a special connection with a family of foxes, regularly paying them visits.

Curiosity led me to ask Ahmed what drew him to Al Ansab Wetland. With a sigh, he gestured around the wetland and replied, “The allure lies in the heart of Muscat, where unique and migratory birds grace us with their presence. The breathtaking landscapes, teeming biodiversity, and the support from my company, which encourages photography and videography, make this place truly exceptional.”

One of Ahmed’s short video clips featuring the Pterocles bird garnered significant attention, reaching an audience of over three million through his digital platform and other channels.

One stands out vividly among the remarkable encounters Ahmed experienced at Al Ansab Wetland. “I used to visit the wetland daily, hoping to capture the Golden Eagle Bird, which typically resides here from November to January. By sheer chance, I witnessed the eagle preying on an Egret Bird. Though it fled as I approached, knowing the behaviour of predatory birds, I anticipated its return.” Determined, I promptly set up my tent and readied my equipment. After an hour, the eagle indeed returned, allowing me to capture striking photos that garnered appreciation from countless admirers.

Prior to documenting any species, Ahmed emphasised the importance of scientific integrity. A photographer must possess knowledge and references, familiarise themselves with bird species, and be well-versed in various resources. Personally, I meticulously documented three bird species that migrated to Al Ansab Wetland, relying on trusted references and books.

One prominent source I consulted was a book published by Sultan Qaboos University, specialising in ornithology.

When I inquired about dealing with swift bird movements and challenging lighting conditions, Ahmed once again took a deep breath. He shared, “Photographing birds demands patience and a deep understanding of their behaviour. Knowing when they sleep, feed, and other habits is crucial. Furthermore, photographers must approach their subject with the understanding that they may return with remarkable photos or an empty memory card.”

Eager to learn more about his bond with the fox family, I asked Ahmed for the story behind their friendship. He chuckled and replied, “Everyday, after the Al Fajr prayer, I would visit the fox and its adorable offspring. Initially, I approached with caution, minimising any movement or sound. Gradually, I started bringing food for them, and they would emerge, peering at me curiously.

Over time, a sense of familiarity blossomed, allowing me to stand close and capture the enchanting moments through my lens.” Al Ansab Wetland, nestled in the heart of Muscat, stands as one of the Sultanate of Oman’s most biodiverse and captivating regions. Photographers have long been captivated by its splendour, seeking to immortalise its beauty through their lenses.

While opportunities for photography exist year-round, the period from October to April offers a special season for capturing an abundance of immigrant bird species. Additionally, there are numerous distinguished locations to explore, showcasing the rich biodiversity, Omani plants, and other breathtaking scenes.