World Birdwatch ’97 Celebrated in Yemen [Archives:1997/41/Last Page]

October 13 1997

More than 30 Yemeni and expatriate birders gathered on October 3rd to celebrate World Birdwatch ’97, a global event highlighting the importance of the conservation of birds and their habitats. The group, including a team from the Yemen EPC, members of the Yemen Ornithological Society, and visiting ornithologists Colin Richardson and Simon Aspinall had hoped to collect data on the birds which utilize Sed Al Khared, a man-made lake which lies approximately 40 minutes past Sana’a International Airport. Unfortunately, these plans had to be modified when the group was turned back at the airport checkpoint.
Proceeding on to Wadi Dahr, the avid birders hiked towards Wadi Bayt Na’am. During three hours of observations more than thirty bird species were recorded, including such migrant species as the European Bee-eater and Golden Oriole. The highlight of the day was an adult Bonelli’s Eagle, a globally threatened species which is declining in its European range, but which seems to be holding its own in Yemen.
During the evening, the enthusiasts visited the home of famed bird photographer Dr. Scott Kennedy for a two-part slide presentation on birds and their conservation. In the first part, Colin Richardson gave a talk about measures which have been taken in the United Arab Emirates to protect the birds which live there. Among other acts, legislation which safeguards the habitats of such breeding species as the Greater Flamingo has been very successful. Extensive irrigation of fodder fields at Hamraniyah and the Emirates Golf Club were cited as examples of how man has actually improved the habitat for migrant and local birds, thus increasing the numbers and diversity of birds which live in the Emirates.