Under the Patronage of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan
The ENHG
Newsletter…

The   Emirates  Natural  History  Group,  Al   Ain  Chapter,  P. O.  Box  18057,  Al  Ain                        April, 2004– Issue #219

Al Ain ENHG Participates in the 4th Annual Classical Music Festival
    Once again, we had a successful weekend in support of the 4th Annual Al Ain Classical Music Festival with a total of 12 tours conducted, six each on Thursday and Friday morning.
     We are grateful to the organizers of the event, The Abu Dhabi Concert Committee, to the InterContinen-tal Hotel and, of course, to the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism for permitting the Al Ain fort to be used for the Gala concert event. It was an event to remember.
     A special thank you to the volunteers: Tom Weeks, Jerry Buzzell, Linda Buzzell, Denise Lee, Mike Gillett, Bob Reimer, Barb Reimer, Chris Sanor, Beth Wallace, Brigitte Howarth, Geoff Sanderson, Jenny Sanderson, Stephen Roney, Helene Dumarty, Will Moore, Murphy Turner, Bill Jones, and Sylvia Holmes, Ann Perelli and Anna Venter.
     A very special thanks to Phil Iddison who joined us for the Khutwah trip Friday morning! Phil brought his wealth of experience and information along on the walk, much to the delight of the visitors.
    Once again both the Festival organizers and the Festival subscribers were most complementary on the generosity of the Al Ain chapter in providing these tours which, for at least one family, was the reason for returning to the Festival!!! Thanks again to the trip leaders for providing entertaining and informative trips to Wadi Aboul, Wadi Khutway, the Al Ain Oasis, the Al Ain camel souq and downtown souq, Hanging Gardens of Jebel Qatarra, and Fossil Valley!

One happy Fossil Valley Group tour

Right:

Two happy camels at the Camel sook, where guests wandered amongst the beautiful beasts.

 

Left:

A whelk fossil found by one of the younger guests touring Fossil Valley.

This broadsheet is published free to families in the Al Ain area. If you are a member planning an activity with a natural history theme please notify us so that others can join you. Everybody is able to contribute to ENHG and Emirates recordings. For further of our activities please visit our website: www.enhg.org or join our e-mail discussion group at Topica.com. The Group meets at 7.30pm on 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month, usually at the Intercontinental Hotel, check Topica for details. New Members are welcome.

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The ENHG   Newsletter…                                                  April, 2004– Issue #219
RAK 2004 - alias Ras Al Khaima Trip 2004
                                                                                                                                      article & photos by Brien Holmes
 

 

    On the weekend of March 17-19 2004, the Al Ain chapter of the ENHG travelled to Ras al Khaimah for a weekend of touring some of the more spectacular sites in the Emirates.

The tour included stops at:

the yanz of Wadi Sha'am
the abandoned village of Sili in Wadi Sha'am
the Wadi Suq tombs at Shimal
the dhow building yards
the ghost town of Jazirat al Hamra
the fort and farm at Falayah

A yanz atWadi Sha'am
    Across the wade bed and at the end of the wadi is the abandoned settlement at Sili. Evidence suggests individuals were living in the community up until a generation ago -- one man we spoke with estimated people moved out 20 or 25 years ago. The exodus from the community would correspond with the construction of new housing, complete with municipal water supply, sewers, schools and electricity, constructed with the first oil revenues.

    At least two of the original houses at Sili have been renovated in the past two years, evidence that families are returning to the community, if only for weekends. Many of the doors of the houses are locked and many of the courtyards appear to have been abandoned only recently. Unfortunately a few of the structures are showing signs of neglect.

Weary ENHGers return to their vehicles in wadi Sha'am.

Monthly Presentations

Our thanks to the presenters for sharing their insight and experience. Because of the Music Festival, Inter-Emirates Weekend, RAK Weekend and Nizwa Weekend there was no time to prepare write-ups for these excellent presentations – my apologies to all.

March 09 -                                  Traditional Housing in Al Ain,                                                                                      by Phil Iddison.
March 23 -                                  The Camel Brain,      (to be published in Tribulus soon)                                          by Laurence Garey
                                            
April 13 -                                   ' Environmental Issues in the UAE –
                                                   Role of the WWF, in the UAE.                                                                         by Dr Frederic Launay,
                                                                                                                                              Director of the World Wildlife Fund - EWS
April 27 - cancelled

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The ENHG   Newsletter…                                              April, 2004– Issue #219
Inter-Emirates Weekend 2004
by Will Moore
 

     This year, the Al Ain Chapter of the Emirates Natural History Group hosted the annual Inter-Emirates weekend. ENHGers from the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Chapters were treated to some of our local interests. Activities included trips to the Al Ain Oasis and Al Ain Museum, the Hanging Gardens, Wadi Khutwah, Hili Archaeological site, Saleh's Farm, Mahdah Oasis, Fossil Valley and Camel Souq on both Thursday and Friday mornings. A special workshop session was put on with presentations by Bob Reimer (on maps, GPS’s and websites), by Dr Laurence Garey on the camel brain and on human remains from Al Buhais. The beetle display by Mike Gillett and associated bug pinning activity by Dr Brigitte howarth added to this special after-noon activity. Special thanks to trip leaders, presenters organizers, volunteers and to the Al Ain English Speaking School for providing us with the workshop space.

The Hanging Gardens - clinging to life!
Bob Reimer gives a talk on Computer websites, GPS, and maps.

Guests attending the workshop session.
Bug pinning! Yeah!
Right: Amal Baky organized an excellent dinner with the help of the Ihter-continental Hotel Chefs.
    The IEW would not be complete without the catered dinner - held at the Al Ain fort - thank you Amal Baky for your excellent organization and thank you to the staff of the Intercontinental hotel who catered the dinner. Thank you also to the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism for preserving this beautiful historical building in Al Ain.
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The ENHG   Newsletter…                                          April, 2004– Issue #219
Inter-Emirates Weekend 2004 - cont.
 
    This year's Inter-Emirates Weekend included an open photography competition. This was a "People's Choice" contest with those attending the IEW dinner voting on their favourites. The winners, in no particular order, included Naseer Ommer: "Camouflage" (a wadi Khutwa toad with palm trimmings) Rick Green: "Dune" (a dune shot from Al Hayer) Geoff Sanderson: "Carmen the Caramel Camel..." (use your imagination!) Jerry Buzzell: "Alert!" (an agamid with tail coiled like a scorpion, at Jbeeb), and Naseer Ommer: "Etherial Beauty" (a dragonfly on a stick, at Subaita). Congratulations and well done to these four snappers. Thanks to all who entered photos and to all who voted. Thanks to Milena who did most of the work.
Nizwa Weekend     This trip to Nizwa was organized and led by Geoff Sanderson. Thirty-two members went along. The trip included stops on Wednesday: at Ibri, Al Sulayf abandoned village, Ibri Suq, Bat – Um An Arr period tombs, Al Ayn necropolis World Heritage site, Amlah, Nizwa Fort.

Then on Thursday:
Trip A went to Tanuf Village and Wadis, Fort Jabrin, Bahla Suq - Silver Smith then to Potters, Wadis Ghul Village, Al Hamra Village, and Al Misfah Mountain Village, and
Trip B went to Jebel Shams and the cliff walk. Ten Al Ain members enjoyed a leisurely walk along the cliff face; it was the first time on the hike for nine of the trekkers. From the new signboards, we know the trail is approximately four kilometers in total and the hike in should take about an hour. We also learned that the village is known as Sap Bani Khamis and had, at one time, approximately 15 families.
Finally on Friday, stops include: Nizwa Goat market and Suq and Manah Village.

A weary group take shelter in the shade on the Cliff Walk at Jebel Shams
                                                                                                  photo by G. Sanderson

[ For more on this trip, see the September issue - or check out the website links to Nizwa: Jebel Shams.]
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Patron: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan

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