Wathba lake became, in the winter of 1998/99, the scene of the first ever
successful breeding attempt by flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber)
on the mainland of the Arabian peninsula. Indeed, it was the first documented
such occasion in Arabia since 1922 when breeding took place on Bubiyan
island in Kuwait.
Although winter rains had flooded the low-lying sabkha here in most years it was not until treated waste water was used to maintain the water level year round that the flamingos took up residence and started constructing their nest mounds. After several years of waiting breeding finally took place during the winter of 1998/99 after the area had been officially declared a reserve area by UAE President HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Responsibility for the management of the lake rests with Abu Dhabi's Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency, ERWDA. In collaboration with BP-Amoco, ERWDA plans to provide a visitor centre, nature trail and observation hides over the next few years. With over two hundred species of bird having been recorded on the site to date, not to mention the opportunity of seeing flamingos displaying at close quarters, the reserve is sure to prove immensely popular.
The photographs show a general view of the Al Wathba lake reserve and the flamingo colony in early 1999 just before hatching of the first eggs.
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