Saturday, 16 February 2008

Spring in the Desert

The fragrance of the desert flowers is in any case a sudden and unexpected sensation in late spring. Temperatures are still in the thirties and air is fresh after a few thunderstorms and showers. This is the season for breeding, and the Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus), larks and other migrating birds are attracted by the cliffs of Jal Az Zor. They may inhabit the tiny holes and caves within the strata of limestone. Shrikes rest in Kuwait on their way to the wintering areas in tropical and southern Africa. The silence of the desert (if not trucks pass by), the serene sounds of the blowing wind, which is usually coming from the Northwest and is called the Shamal, and the mellow twitter of larks; all of this may contribute to a grand and deep feeling of peace, and unity with Nature.

Pillows and carpets of Purple Wall Rocket (Diplotaxis), wild mustard, will fill the foothills of Jal Az Zor in late springtime. They usually assemble with the yellow Desert Daisy (Rantherium). Blooming of the desert is a brief spectacle and a true wonder. Then Nature explodes knowing well that the burning sun and scorching winds from the North will soon make further life rather difficult.

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