Bulletin 42 - November 1990: Comments


Bulletin No. 42 continues a theme begun a year ago: surveys of islands. Bulletins 39 and 40 contained substantial accounts of the natural history and conservation proposals for Qarnein, an offshore island just to the southwest of Das. This time we cover a survey of an inshore island, Merawah, west of Abu Al Abyad and Tarif in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi. This report is another example of an interdisciplinary survey as it covers history and archaeology, mammals, insects, reptiles, flora, shells and birds. It seems that bird watching is the Group's single most popular natural history pastime, true also of the Dubai Branch. The present autumn migration has already brought in a crop of new UAE records, including Long-toed Stint and Little Crake from Dubai, Great Snipe from Abu Dhabi and a possible Shore Lark from Das. It is good news also to have a new Bird Recorder in Bob Richardson who already has four years of ornithological experience from Oman. Bob takes over from Jenny Hollingworth who has done a good job of recording for so many years. This Bulletin also includes an interesting article about offshore birds around Dalma Island, written by Adrian Chapman, who has other articles for future editions. For would be ornithologists, the Vice Chairman of the Dubai Group, Colin Richardson, has a reference book on UAE birds in press at this moment, and this welcome book should be widely available in the near future.

For those Members who may be interested in the natural history of Oman, the Journal of Oman Studies is an annual publication aimed at providing extensive coverage of the latest research carried out in the Sultanate. This Journal is over 10 years old and offers fascinating insights into that country's past and present natural and cultural heritage. The close historical and geographical links between Oman and the UAE makes much of the information in the Journal relevant directly or indirectly to the UAE. Both countries share an inter-related archaeological continuity from the third Millennium Umm an Nar grave sequence through to the Portuguese incursions of the 15th and 16th centuries. J.P. Mandaville's botanical reconnaissance of the Musandam region is of direct relevance to the mountain flora of the Northern Emirates, while articles on mammals, insects and birds are, of course, relevant to the border areas of both countries. Annual subscription is Rials Omani 7 ($17) from the Editor, Ministry of Natural Heritage and Culture, P.O. Box 668, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. The Journal is also sold by Probsthain Oriental Booksellers of London.

For the first time in several years we have been unable to get together an Arabic article for the end pages. This is a great pity but reflects the fact that we have had to rely on a single person to translate articles for us. Surely there must be somebody out there who can write Arabic and who can contribute something original. Unless the Bulletin can communicate with local Arabs in their own language, we shall always be restricted to a transient expatriate membership.


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