Bulletin 7 - April 1979: Chairman's Report for 1978

Chairman's Report for 1978

When a year ago we reviewed the activities of the Emirates Natural History Group's first year, some of us were a little concerned that we would not be able to keep up the momentum. Looking back on our second year we can, I think, put forward a modest claim that we did manage to keep going at much the same pace. Membership continued at well over 200 and our program covered as wide a range of topics as before.

The ENHG held 19 meetings during the year, in the course of which we heard nineteen talks and watched two programs of films. Of the talks, seven were devoted solely to Abu Dhabi's Natural History, History or Archaeology. M. Serge Cleuziou, Director of the French Archaeological Team in Al Ain came to give us another review of his expedition's work during the 1977-78 winter season at Hili. We also heard talks on oil in Abu Dhabi, unwelcome creatures of Abu Dhabi (rodents, bugs, cockroaches, etc), fishes of the Gulf, flint and local pre-history, and the flora of the region. Abdulla Qaddas of the Arid Zone Agricultural Project gave a lecture on his work on Sadiyat Island.

Five more programs were of direct relevance to the region. These were on locusts, the fish and coral of the Red Sea, desert life, natural history photography, and three films about the UAE. The remaining eight meetings dealt with more general subjects but three of these contained a strong element of natural history. A full of list of the programs arranged is printed below.

Several field trips were arranged mostly on an ad hoc basis in the immediate vicinity of Abu Dhabi Island. These were mainly devoted to bird watching and archaeology, but some useful records of desert flora were also made.

As in our first year three Bulletins were published, numbers four, five and six. Material for number seven is well in hand. The committee did their best to keep up the general standard of articles, and we hope the results will begin to lay the foundations of a permanent record of the natural history of the UAE.

The ENHG's recorders also reported on their various activities. Their work can be summarized as follows:

Recorder: Mark Hollingworth
296 species have now been recorded in the U.A.E including first sightings of little Pratincoles in mainland Arabia. Liaison and correspondence with several societies (and individuals) has been maintained and it is hoped soon to computerize the UAE records under the auspices of Richard King, the new Recorder. A useful slide collection is being built up which will eventually be incorporated into the ENHG Library.
Recorder: Rob Western
The main interest has been the continued fieldwork on the flint sites near Buraimi, on the Umm an Nar area, and in the desert off the Al Ain Road. Contact has been maintained with overseas organizations and individuals with a view to positive identification and dating of various artifacts, and a slide collection is being developed. A field trip to Umm an Nar was undertaken in January.
Recorder: Pat Harris
Various expeditions by the Recorder for flora and other interested parties have photographed, recorded and collected a fair number of species at different times of the year, and contacts overseas, notably with Kew, have been maintained. Though by no means complete, an attempt is being made to carry out a comprehensive survey of local flora.
Recorder: Bish Brown
Though not generally in the "limelight" of natural history discussions locally, insect study nevertheless constitutes an important part of our activities. The collection of insects has been continued throughout the year, and the new Recorder, Diane Donohue, hopes to extend our field of knowledge in 1979.
Recorder: Roger Brown
1978 has seen a further increase in identified species and a picture of local fish patterns is slowly building up. A checklist can be found in this issue of the Bulletin.
Recorder: Bish Brown
The Brown household continues to be both an air-conditioned haven and a graveyard for the various lizards and reptiles collected over the past year. Recordings have been made and very gradually a survey of local species and their habits is being made.
Recorder: Annette Allen
Very few written recordings were handed in over the year, but members have verbally reported several sightings of desert hares and foxes. There is plenty of scope for enthusiasts to go on nocturnal expeditions.


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