|baby mynah fueling up before flying lessons|
I've seen people in parks take dozens of pictures of chipmunks, the same little rodents that my mom catches in a trap to release across town to try to mitigate the damage they do burrowing up the lawn.
It's funny how the critters you see all the time in a place can start to become less impressive.It hasn't happened here yet though! Much like in the desert around Las Vegas, wildlife sightings here are a little less ubiquitous and still exciting and impressive.
Birds are by far the animals I see the most of. There are the pigeons and- one time a baby mynah and parents- on my 14th floor window sill, the flamingos In Ras Al Khor (translates, I think, to Head of the Creek)
|Ras al Khor flamingos|
|must confess, not my photo, but a great shot of the hoopoe|
A few weekends ago, Michelle and Layla and I went to the Arabian Wildlife Center in Sharjah Desert Park to learn what other critters are in the area. This place was great- it's an indoor zoo! In a climate like this, what a concept. And it was surprisingly large and also had a very modest entry fee for the whole Desert Park which also includes a Natural History Museum, a petting zoo and a botanical museum- but the Wildlife Center was the star attraction. I figured being indoors there'd mostly be rodents and reptiles-
which they did have plenty of! But they also had wild cats of various types and sizes, even a cheetah (the cheetah was outside, but we viewed it from inside), and jackals and foxes, porcupines and bats, an aviary room, some ungulates (mostly oryx- also outside), an Arabian wolf, orangutangs and a little cafe. All the animals at the center can be found (or could be found before they were hunted to local extinction) on the Arabian peninsula. The sheer variety of subspecies of gerbils was pretty staggering. My favorite reptile was this weird creature called the Sandfish (or scincus scincus for the biologist types) that burrows, or swims under the surface of the sand, we weren't allowed to take photos in the wildlife center, sadly, but you can see a really quick video of one diving under the sand here: http://youtu.be/d4hEhgosKfg
As it starts to cool off and I get to do more camping, I'm guessing I might spot a few of the reptiles, rodents and insects we saw at the wildlife center. On my one overnight in the Abu Dhabi desert so far, I didn't run into anything but in the morning, it was clear they'd been around!
|camping: morning after tracks. gerbil?|