Sewage farms

To: "Syd Curtis" <>, "bird" <>
Subject: Sewage farms
From: "Geoff (BT)" <>
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 22:22:33 +0100
Syd and all

Virtually any sewage farm in Australia will beat Perry Oaks these days, it's
been obliterated by the construction of terminal 5 ! I spent many an hour
there in my birding youth, you got used to the pong after a short while, I
think the olfactory senses switched off after a few minutes of being there.
What was really tough was being only a matter of metres from aircraft, with
all the noise & the stink of fuel - far worse in my view than the sewage
aroma ! Couldn't happen these days, security wouldn't allow such close
proximity to aircraft.


Geoff Bowen
Norwich UK

-----Original Message-----
 Behalf Of Syd Curtis
Sent: 03 October 2006 00:22
To: bird
Subject: Sewage farms

I'm not a twitcher - too lazy to be effective - and I tend to delete unread,
postings concerning Werribee and other sewage farms.  But on re-reading
"Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird Book", (Methuen, 1980) which is a treatise
on twitchers and twitching in the UK, I wonder how Australian sewage farms
shape up to their English counterparts.  Quoting Bill Oddie (at p. 120):

    "I suppose that most non-birders imagine that a large part of the appeal
of bird-watching is that it gets you out in the country and takes you to all
sorts of lovely places.  Of course, as I presume this book has already
demonstrated, this is a very small part of the appeal.  It's a good thing it
is only a small part, because many of the best bird localities are extremely
ugly and unpleasant.

    "Old-fashioned sewage farms, with their open pans of festering excreta,
attract flies as well as wading birds and bird-watchers.  To be honest they
are quite peaceful places, because no normal human being could put up with
the stench without wearing a peg on his nose.  Mind you, the peacefulness of
one of the best sewage farms in Britain (Perry Oaks in Middlesex) is marred
a little by the fact that it is almost in the middle of the main runway at
Heathrow airport.  It is one of the few places in Britain where you can be
deafened and asphyxiated at the same time, while still watching a Temminck's
Stint.  Sewage outfalls on the coast are pretty good too; you can test your
skill at distinguishing small rare immature gulls from large common mature
turds.  I'm not being gratuitously unpleasant - it's true!"

(Quote ends)

Gruson's "Checklist of Birds of the World" indicates that one can't expect
to watch a Temminck's Stint at any Australian sewage farm, but in other
respects how do ours shape up in comparison?  And yes, I realise I should
check Luggage Point (Brisbane's sewage outfall) myself, but like I say, I'm
much too lazy.


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