x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Istabsir: How to catch your falcon

For our weekly series of visual essays, Galen Clarke sets out with Ibrahim Ali Sams as he tries to snare himself a falcon on a small, empty island just off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

Ibrahim Ali Shams captures wild falcons on a deserted island near Yas.
Ibrahim Ali Shams captures wild falcons on a deserted island near Yas.

Our weekly series of visual essays

 

In the waters near Yas Island, surrounded by mangroves, is a small empty island where Ibrahim Ali Sams spends his days in a hut barely large enough to sit up in.

Peering through small holes cut in the canvas, he carefully watches for falcons to swoop down on his pigeon bait.

His traps are sophisticated yet simple: once a bird pounces on the bait, a net hidden in the sand springs to life, trapping both predator and prey.

When Ibrahim catches a bird he gives it away to friends, for this is just a hobby.

He starts at sunrise and does not head home until sunset. Aside from the mangroves in the surrounding waters, there is nothing but sand and sun.

His hobby is a time for reflection as much as it is to catch falcons.

This season, which he says is not over yet, he has caught two falcons.

 

Experience Ibrahim Ali Sams's lonely labour of love here.

 

gclarke@thenational.ae