In view of the amateur status of both the Committee and membership, the ENHG has always seen its primary role as one of recording, rather than of interpreting records. This does not preclude some analysis and assessment, however, as shown in the articles on Hafit, Bees/Wasps, and Scorpions in this edition. Systematic recording demands a certain amount of dedication and the Chairman's efforts to make the Recorder's job more meaningful is to be welcomed. Since August there have been individual meetings led by the Reptile, Mammal, Bees/Wasp, Plant and Bird Recorders. Attendance has been minimal -- 3 to 6 members at each meet -- but there is a new determination among those few to try and achieve more. People are always coming up to Recorders on Monday evenings and asking questions about a strange 'triffid' on the Sueyhan Road, or an unknown warbler from Sadiyat, or a glazed sherd from the Liwa. Spot answers are rarely easy and the Workroom meetings constitute a step towards sharing records and information with others, in the hope that suggestions and criticism will help the Recorder indulging in his hobby to the benefit of the Group as a whole. So let's see a little more interest in future. Even if you don't travel off the Island more than twice a year, Abu Dhabi itself offers a great variety of natural history if you are prepared to look for it.
The imminent demise of the Sewage Farm, Abu Dhabi's foremost bird-spotting location, is a reminder that urban development leads to both good and bad results for natural history. Good because it helps to create larger habitats for plants and insects, as well as attracting more migrant birds; bad in the destruction of unique biotopes. Bird records from the Sewage Farm show a long list of firsts for the UAE and in its heyday from the mid-seventies it was a healthy habitat for such rare (for the country) plants as Typhus domingensis, Lippia nodiflora, Scirpus maritimus and Fimbristylis sieberana. We hope to chronicle the rise and fall of the Sewage Farm in a future Bulletin, so further records and/or anecdotes will be welcome.
This edition for the first time includes two articles in Arabic in an attempt to present natural history to a wider audience in UAE. To begin with, articles will be translations of articles printed in previous Bulletins, and we get the ball rolling with "The Adaptation of Desert Animals to their Environment" and "Hints on Collecting and Preserving Wild Plants". Our thanks go to the translators -- any offers?