Bulletin 2 - June 1977: Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
P.O. Box 906
A Glossy Ibis in Abu Dhabi
On the afternoon of 27th April 1977 I saw an adult Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus near the Abu Dhabi sewage farm. There have been only four previous records of the Glossy Ibis from the United Arab Emirates and I believe that this is the first record from the state of Abu Dhabi.
The Glossy Ibis was with a group of about 50 Curlew, some of which were of the orientalis sub-species with the extremely long bill. Several members of the ENHG saw this ibis on the following day, but I could not find it when I returned to the area on 8th May. There were numbers of other interesting migrants in the same area over the same period, including a group of six Red-necked Phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus.
During the morning of 27th April I was down in the Liwa at Radoom (position 23'05'N, 53'38'E) and I counted a flock of 53 Brown-necked Ravens, Corvus ruficollis. This is the largest group of ravens I have seen in the Emirates.
On the morning of 28th April I saw a mass of about 10,000 Socotta Cormorants, Phalacrocorax nigrogularis, on the beach between Ras al Khaimah and Umm al Qawain (position 25'43'N, 55'52'E). These birds were probably part of the colony from Zirqa Island, dispersing after the end of the breeding season.
c/o British Embassy
8th May 1977
Please would you tell me how to keep lizards indoors, as I would like to keep some in my flat? Could you tell me what they eat and drink?
I passed your request for information on keeping lizards to Mr. 'Bish' Brown, who is our lizard expert. His reply follows:
Thank you for your letter. I am pleased to hear you have an interest in keeping lizards. Before you dash out to buy a tank, however, I must ask you to think about the responsibility you are taking on. Even a small lizard will need to be fed at least once a day and you will probably have to search for flies and insects. This will take up some of your spare time each day.
The best container in which to keep lizards is a glass or plastic aquarium with a lid or mesh cover. For one or two lizards, it should be about 12"x9"x9" high and should now be called a "vivarium". At one end put a layer of about 1.5" of soil, pack it down lightly and sprinkle with water. Allow this to dry thoroughly by placing it in the sun. Now fill the other end with dry dune sand. Collect a thin piece of beach rock about 6"x4"x1" thick and place this on top of the firm sand. This gives the lizards a place to hide and dig a hole.
You are now ready to look for your lizard. It is better to start with only one, then you will be able to check that it is eating the food that you give it. Lizards can live a long time without food or water, so it may be slowly starving to death.
What sort of lizard? Not the geckos you see climbing walls and windowpanes, as these would always be escaping. Look under a piece of wood for ground geckos. Remember not to lift the piece of wood with your fingers -- use an old broom handle in case there is something else like a scorpion underneath the wood.
What will it eat? Most lizards live on flies and small beetles (not bees or hornets or large beetles). Unfortunately they have to be supplied live and regularly. A small piece of grape will give liquid required generally, but every now and again place a shallow dish of water on top of the stone. Remove it after a short while in case the lizards spill it. If they do, place your vivarium outside in the shade to dry out.
Lizards like to be kept warm, so they are best kept in a place where the air-conditioning will not blow on them. Around 75 to 85' F (24 to 30'C). Do not put them in direct sunlight.
Always keep notes on exactly what happens in your vivarium. If you have two lizards and they fight they are probably both males. Ground geckos lay small white eggs, so look out for these. Remember that geckos are able to shed their tails so do not pick them up too often.
Well, Richard, I think that 'Bish' has answered your letter very well and hope that you will have lots of interesting hours with your vivarium. --Editor
P.O. Box 4188
7th May 1977
As we are leaving Abu Dhabi, it is with great regret that I write to advise you that I must resign my membership of the Natural History Group.
I would like to say not only how much I have enjoyed the meetings I have attended in the short time the group has been running, but also to congratulate everyone associated with the group and its organization.
The range of subjects covered, the high degree of interest, and the efficient way in which everything has been organized, are indeed a credit to the group. To have produced such an interesting bulletin in the few short months since the group was inaugurated is nothing short of amazing -- my congratulations to all concerned.
May I wish the Abu Dhabi Natural History Group all the very best for its future. You have filled a need long felt in Abu Dhabi for a society with locally oriented interests -- good luck and best wishes.
Thank you Helen for your good wishes. We look forward to welcoming you on your inevitable return to Abu Dhabi. -- Editor
P.O. Box 270
1st June 1977
Re: Wilfred Thesiger's visit to UAE
I would like to say how much I enjoyed the opportunity of meeting Wilfred Thesiger on his recent visit to Abu Dhabi.
During his discussion after the film show 'Arabian Sands' he asked if there was anyone present who had been in the area of his previous journeys of Arabia. As my husband was away that evening -- in the desert near Bu Hasa -- he was unable to attend the meeting much to his disappointment, and therefore unable to say where and when they had met.
The memorable occasion of the meeting was on the first exploration well in Abu Dhabi -- at Ras Sadr in January 1950.
Perhaps this information may be of interest to Wilfred Thesiger.
P.O. Box 303
It has been reported to me that on or about March 28th, a group of people was exploring the coastline between Abu Dhabi and Dubai when their guide noticed turtle marks on the sand.
The guide was able to trace to the spot where the turtle had laid some 85 - 95 eggs. These being quite a delicacy were removed.
Later on in the day further traces were found of another turtle but the 'nest' had been raided by a fox. The guide, knowing that the fox could not consume the large quantity of eggs, found the remaining ones hidden in tufts of vegetation to where the predator would later return.
Patron: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan
Served from Molalla, Oregon, United States of America