Bulletin 34 - March 1988: Bird Recorder's Report

Bird Recorder's Report

by Jenny Hollingworth

The main part of the bird report for 1987 is the list of species recorded by members of group in the UAE for last year. The total of 238 plus several suspected escapes is to be published in the next Bulletin. There were eleven new species added in 1987. Five of these came from Len Reaney and the Das Island birdwatchers: Wilson's Storm Petrel (7.7.87 and 7.8.87), Scops Owl (29/30.3.87, 1.4.87), Hypocolius (11.4.87), Marsh Warbler (22.5.87) and Rock Bunting (7.1.87). Chukar was another new species seen by Len and Rob Western in Fujairah (27.4.87). New species seen in Abu Dhabi were Goldfinch (16.1.87) and Corncrake (30.10.87), both recorded by Jenny Hollingworth and the latter species also by Cathryn Overall. Two new species of eagle were added to our list: Steppe Eagle (2.4.87) in the Northern Emirates by Jenny Hollingworth and Nick Jephson, and Imperial Eagle (11.12.87) seen in Dubai by a mixed group of Abu Dhabi and Dubai bird watchers. Finally, only just making the 1987 list were two Honey Buzzards (26.12.87), recorded in Dubai by Wilhelm Doleman and Jenny Hollingworth.

Several bird-watching trips took place during the year, to Jebel Ali, Dubai, the Northern Emirates, the East Coast, Dhabiyah and Muscat Sewage Farm (the latter part of the ENHG trip to Oman in February). Excluding Muscat, these trips plus the regular records from Das Island throughout 1987, and from Asab since summer, enabled us to record such a large number of species. The year also saw an increased emphasis on passerines, due to more regular watching of parks and wooded areas at Mushrif and Khalediya in Abu Dhabi.

1987 was not a happy year with regard to our major bird-watching site -- the ex-Sewage Farm, ex-Eastern Lagoon and, in 1987, the Reserve. All access into the mangrove area was stopped and even ENHG members watching from the opposite bank were moved on or in some cases even taken to a police station. In August, the flamingoes, hitherto a striking feature of the area, left. Extensive dredging removed the shallow water areas in which they feed. Many wader remained, but a deep water channel and steep banks will also destroy their habitat. We face the distinct and sad possibility in 1988 of seeing only the very occasional seabird or osprey in the area which in the past contained hundreds and at times thousands of birds.


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