May 11th, 2010

Keeping an eye for Arabian Oryx and blue whale//How much mash Riam ate


Keeping an eye for Arabian Oryx and blue whale.

Arabian oryx is one of the most beautiful and elegant antelopes of our world. With pure white body, black face mask and long curving scimitar horns, it lived and thrived in the desert of Arabian peninsula. It is believed the mythical unicorn was derived from the Arabian oryx. They used to roam all over the desert lands here. They could handle the dry and harsh condition of the desert. They just could not handle the coming of guns together with 4x4 SUV coupled with man’s lust to kill .

The last wild Arabian oryx of the world was killed in 1972 in Oman.

Since then, stringent measures were set in place and they were introduced back into the wild from captive herds. Their history in Oman is chequered. The reintroduction went well and they were poached. Then stronger measures were taken and their numbers rose again and I hope that will remain that way.

The drive to my site took me skirting the border of the Arabian Oryx sanctuary of Oman. I always kept an eye for them hoping that I would be able to catch sight of one of these magnificent creatures in the wild. But I never did and therefore no photos of the oryx were taken by me. But do yourself a big favour and go Google photos of the Arabian Oryx and give yourself a visual treat.

My project consist of building of a port and drydocks/ship yard facilities among other things about 600 km South of Muscat in the Wusta region.

Main Breakwater of port

01ab-main breakwaterb
closeup of part of Main Breakwater

02aa-main breakwatera
Placing of Corelocs on Main Breakwater

Yours truly beside the Corelocs

03 drydockshipyard
Drydocks & shipyard facilities

03a drydock 1 (2)

There is a cold up welling in the ocean bringing nutrients from the deep waters. When I stood on the cliff overlooking the port and drydocks, I often spot enormous size bait balls of fishes in the ocean below. It is reported blue whales do come to the coast here. I kept an eye for them. Even if I have no success in seeing any of them yet.

That cold upwelling supported a big local fishing industry and the masses upon masses of sea birds.


Thousands of sea birds

In my last visit, I caught sight of a desert fox even if that was not in the desert. I was on the lee breakwater and I thought I saw a dog at first. Then I realised it was a desert fox.

desert fox on Lee Breakwater

The first and the last time I saw a desert fox was when I was in Saudi Arabia reported here.
Travelling in desert around Riyadh and little baby Bustards


Then there was this lone flamingo.

While I could not see the Arabian oryx or blue whale, the fox and flamingo gave some consolation.

In the nearby town was this shop. That shop had a interesting sign. It took a while to realised that the shop was not teaching kungfu or any form of bodyguard services. I guess you folks are smarter than me and realised what business the shop is doing just at a glance.



How much mash Riam ate

I normally give Riamfada 25-30 grams of mash before my breakfast and 25-30 grams of mash when I got back for lunch. What she did not eat will be thrown into the kitchen midden for the wild birds to enjoy.

In addition to the mash, she would also get veges sporadically only as I am a carnivore. But she would get fruits at foraging points with chop almonds/brazil nuts with sunflower seeds also at foraging points.

I noted before that sometimes she ate more mash and sometimes less mash. She hardly scattered any mash at all.

So I decided to see just how much mash did she eat over a period of time.

The measurements of mash intake were done this way. In the morning after I got up, I would go to Riamfada's room to let her out. She would then fly to the living room and then joined me in the kitchen where I weighed and record the mash. Instead of being thankful to me, she would make a nuisance of herself and try to bite the lead off the pencil. I then would take her and the mash back to her room and leave her there. I then will eat my breakfast and have some peace for 30 minutes or so. I then would go to her room to remove her bowl to weigh in the kitchen. Riam would join me and fly about the living room and onto me and do some recalls if she felt like it for about 15 minutes or so. I would then return her to her room, give her fruits /almonds/brazil nuts/sunflower seeds in the foraging points in her room, place the mash back in the cage and leave for office.

Riamfada foraging //

When I came back for lunch, Riam was allowed out of her room and I took her bowl of mash to weigh again and the balance discarded into the kitchen midden.

Then fresh mash into the bowl for her to eat while she tried her best to bite the lead from the pencil again. She and the mash was returned to her room while I have my lunch and peace for 30 minutes. I then would weigh the mash to see how much she ate and returned that mash to her cage. Before I leave for office, fruits/almonds/brazil nuts sunflower seeds placed into foraging points in her room.

Her mash weighed again once more when I came back in afternoon to see what she ate.

So you will see the records in this way

M = x+y where M is for morning, and x for what she ate during that initial 30 minutes or so and y for what she ate after that.
L = x + y where L is for lunch and x for what she ate during that initial 30 minutes or so and y for what she ate after that.

The neighbourhood walk with kitties then took place with us foraging for sidr fruits for her and treating her on her recall flights. With the sidr season ending, I took to carrying 4-5 cherries in my pocket to treat Riamfada. After the neighbourhood walks, fruits/almonds/brazil nuts sunflower seeds placed into foraging points in the living room for her to fly about to. In time, she would have enough and would fly to me to be given her share of fruit juice from my cup. She then would hang about me and given her headrubs while I watch the news.

Then when light outside faded into night, I would say good night to her as I walked her back into her room. This was the only time that she would give beakrubs to my wife finger without chomping them off. Riam would be so sweet to my wife then, sometimes giving her a few bars of whistle while she rubbed her beak on her fingers. she got pop back to her room to sleep on the thick sisal rope looping about the bars of that cloth hanger that got turned into perch for Riam.

I did not bother to weigh fruits as she might discard half of them. Neither did I bothered to weigh the nuts/sunflower seeds I gave her.

Maybe she ate more fruits/nuts when she ate less mash. Maybe not. But that’s for her to decide for herself. I was surprised at times to see almond halfs and pieces of brazil nuts in her mash bowl when they were all placed at foraging points. For reasons entirely of Riamfada’s parroty mind, she would take those almond halfs/pieces of brazil nuts (that she loved to eat) from those foraging points and flew them back into the cage to place into the mash bowl. You can try to figure out why she did that. I took that as some kind of parroty joke from Riamfada.

I could have given her less mash. So less mash to discard. But then, I will deprive the neighbourhood wild birds of the leftover mash that they seemed to love. I couldn't do it to them.

These are the records

1 May Sat
L=9+ 3
total = 29 gm

2 May Sun
L=1+ 3
total = 17 gm

3 May Mon
L=9+ 1
total = 21 gm

4 May Tue
L=7+ 2
total = 21 gm

5 May Wed
L=2+ 0
total = 6 gm

6 May Thu
L=10+ 2
total = 32 gm

7 May Fri

total = 8 gm

We then left in mid morning towards Jebel Akhdar to our favourite picnic ground.
She stuffed herself on fruits, cucumber, nuts and sunflower seeds the rest of the day. No mash given to her after the morning

8 May Sat
L= 6+0
total = 27 gm

9 May Sun
L=6+ 2
total = 22 gm

10 May Mon
M= 6+2
L= 5+4
total = 17 gm

11 May Tue
L=8+ 3
total = 25 gm


Important old letters on harness
Harness for flighted parrots – To Nick and folks

August, 2005.

‘ cargo cult'

'Ramadan & Kitties on beach// Chess -1st Saturday IM Tournament // Tinkerbell Harness for Piper '


If you like the photos here, they are all taken by my wife and uploaded on my behalf by her.

She has her own sets of photos in her Flickr account here



If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust

I am a life member of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Do join us to do
whatever we can for the wildlife that shared our planet.
or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice


For those that through no fault of their own, or otherwise, and had to part painfully and unwillingly from their beastie or birdies, whether in the past, or the present, or in the future, I dedicate the saga of Riamfada that I had wrote , and continue to write to that final handover , to you all.


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