I suspect Mark’s comment about
they were concerned that we would find a "rare" species and the the "government" would take their land off them is equally true about their fear (False Expectations Appearing
Real) of unknown people finding not just rare flora or fauna but probably more likely aboriginal or early settler cultural sites, dinosaur or other important fossils, valuable minerals, an unknown Marijuana crop……….. or even more likely, concern about adverse
impacts on stock animals or more likely than that, people getting lost or injured or whatever whilst on their property.
An interesting comment about farmers not being hostile to birders. When i was working at CSIRO we were doing regular vegetation studies and bird counts on private properties around the Boorowa to Grenfell area. Many land owners were very reluctant to let
us on to their properties as they were concerned that we would find a "rare" species and the the "government" would take their land off them. It took a bit of discussion to allay their fears and we were reluctantly given access. I have found this is becoming
more and more the case these days but there are exceptions, our Painted Honeyeater banding site at Ungarie northwest of West Wyalong for example. The owner of the property adjacent to where we were banding in a roadside easement that has Acacia pendula
growing on it, stopped to see what we were doing. He was very impressed with what we were up to and in discussions told us that he had an environmental sciences degree and happily gave us permission to band, and camp, on his property.
In this day and age where radicals elements of society are illegally accessing private property, I can see why farmers are growing more reluctant to letting people onto their properties.