Bulletin 26 July 1985: International Dolphin Watch -- Abu Dhabi Branch Report



International Dolphin Watch -- Abu Dhabi Branch Report

by D. Rowlands

The visit of Dr. Horace Dobbs, an authority on dolphins, to Abu Dhabi in April 1984 resulted in the forming of a local branch of the I.D.W., which was organised as a sub-committee of the Emirates Natural History Group. Recording forms were produced and a "Whales and Dolphins Handbook" was written by Ian Hamer and issued to members. The Dolphin Watch was divided into two sections.

The first logged reports from members and ran weekly spotting trips organised by boat owners and reported sightings from helicopter pilots.

The second section specialised in studying one particular group of Humpback Dolphins in the channel between Futaysi and Hudayriat Islands. This second section will be the subject of a separate report.

When in groups dolphins were very often observed swimming very close together, in twos or threes mostly. It was also observed that sightings usually depended on the presence of fish in the area; no fish meant no dolphins. Occasionally there would be a show-off dolphin, who treated the observers to a display of somersaults and backward flips.

One observer kept a list of sightings around the offshore complexes between September 1984 and March 1985. In Zakum Field 271 dolphins were recorded in 78 sightings, while in Umm Shaif Field 78 sightings yielded 510 mammals.

A full list of recordings carried out by the Emirates Natural History Group International Dolphin Watch for the year ending April 1985 is included in the chart accompanying this report.

Many questions remain unanswered, and no definite breeding ground was established. Why the sudden disappearance of dolphins from regular haunts, and their subsequent sudden reappearance? It is hoped that this first effort in recording the behaviour of dolphins in the waters around Abu Dhabi will form the basis of further work in this area.

(Dave Rowlands, ex-ENHG Mammal Recorder, has now left Abu Dhabi and returned to UK -Ed.)

Report
No.
Date Numbers
A = Adult, J = Juvenile
U = Unidentified
Size Behavior Color Remarks
 
1984 Humpback Bottlenose Others
 
1 20/3 - 12/5

60 U

2 19/4 15
3 22/4 10 Helicopter sighting
4 25/4 11
5 28/4 30+

2 m+

Dark grey Feeding one after slack water
6 3/5 4 Incoming tide
7 4/5 3 U
8 4/5 10 Feeding
9 11/5 4 dugong
10 11/5 2
11 11/5 6 - 2 m Dark grey and black
12 11/5 4
13 12/5 6 1.5 m Dark grey
14 13/5 13 U
15 17/5 6 Feeding
16 18/5 - 23/5 43 U

Report
No.
Date Numbers
A = Adult, J = Juvenile
U = Unidentified
Size Behavior Color Remarks
 
1984 Humpback Bottlenose Others
 
17 22/5 5 U
18 25/5 2 Feeding
19 26/5 3
20 27/5 2 Feeding
21 7/6 6
22 8/6 5 U Brownish
23 22/6 2 A + 3 J 14 U Humpbacks black/grey
24 1/7 Few
25 6/8 6 2 m. Greyish brown Ebb tide
26 8/8 2 U Umm Shaif Super Complex 19/19A Tower
27 22/8 1 2 m. Feeding
28 29/8 2 Dark grey Rising tide
29 31/8 2 Ebb tide
30 5/9 2
31 7/9 20 - 30
32 10/9 2 1.5 m. Bowriding Light grey
33 10/9 1 U Feeding on tuna
34 21/9 8 U Charcoal grey
35 28/9 1 J 1.5 m. Charcoal grey
36 Sept - Dec 600 +

Report
No.
Date Numbers
A = Adult, J = Juvenile
U = Unidentified
Size Behavior Color Remarks
 
1984 Humpback Bottlenose Others
 
37 Oct 47 U
38 12/10 2 U Charcoal grey
39 19/10 2
40 26/10 6 Uniform grey
41 30/10 3 U 2 m. Jumping High tide
42 30/10 3 1
43 Early Nov. 2
44 22/11 6 Feeding on tuna, ebb tide
45 22/11 2 1.75 m Grey brown Feeding
46 17/11 - 7/12 51 U
47 12/12 3 A + 1 J 1.75 m, 1 m Bowriding
48 27/12 7 Dark brown

Report
No.
Date Numbers
A = Adult, J = Juvenile
U = Unidentified
Size Behavior Color Remarks
 
1985 Humpback Bottlenose Others
 
49 1/1 - 23/1 50+
50 9/1 6 U
51 13/1 3 U Swimming on surface
52 Jan - March 204

 


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