Bulletin 35 - July 1988: Comments


(The following article appeared in Bulletin 35, July 1988.)

After commenting in the last issue on the dearth of recording interest in some subjects, it is pleasing to include here an article on marine shells by Stephane Pras, recently departed Shell Recorder. It is six years since our last Bulletin entry on this topic, with articles in Nos. 16 and 17 by Kathy Kirby and Diane Wallihan. Prior to that, we have to go right back to the late 1970s, when Dave Corfield introduced cone shells in No.5. It is to be hoped that Stephane’s article will kindle further interest in these creatures so that, who knows, we may in time have a follow up article from another ENHG member.

From time to time Ian Hamer has given us an overview of his work on bees and wasps. The importance of his research over the years can be seen in the list given in Hymenoptera Highlights V, with several new species for the record. This is an area of study perhaps not fully appreciated by the general membership of the Group, but nevertheless Ian’s contribution towards an understanding of the status of these insects in the UAE is certain to be taken at more than face value by people within the country in the future.

Following Mike Crumbie’s various articles on the birds and trees bordering the east side of Abu Dhabi Island, Peter Hellyer now contributes an timely update. As the country’s first wetland reserve, the area around the old Eastern Lagoon is shown to be thriving and confirms many of Mike’s observation on the breeding status of various species back in late 1985 and early 1986.

Marijcke Jongbloed’s description of a botanical excursion this past spring is also interesting. While most of our Abu Dhabi plant specimens have been identified by Kew and Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, Marijcke has been fortunate to have a correspondent in Dr. L. Boulos of the University of Kuwait, who has conducted much research and many surveys into the plant life of the Arabian Peninsula. In future there will need to be some detailed correlation of determinations but while specimens but while specimens are housed in respective Herbaria, this will be a job for future research.

The constant threat of oil pollution in the Gulf and its possible consequences on marine life makes the articles by Dr. Bourne and Chris van Riet highly topical. We on Das Island witnessed the largest gathering of cormorants for at least two years this last spring, so there remains hope that their offshore breeding sites have not been too disturbed. Dr Bourne’s article is particularly interesting because his records were ship sightings while always on the move away from the coasts of Oman and UAE. These are observations that could not have been obtained any other way.

One small correction. In the Draft Law Banning Hunting in the UAE in Bulletin 22, we stated that the one bird species exempt from the new law was the Wryneck. It now turns out that due to a mistranslation this should have read ‘cormorant’. This bird was not included in the ban because of pressure form the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, which has always viewed the cormorant as a pest to fishermen’s interests. We live and learn.

Len Reaney’s article summarizing two years of bird recordings on Das has been held over until the next issue in November.


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