I know the crocodiles at the sewage ponds well. We were first warned of Ben
back in 1984, I think it was. Ben, according to Martin the curator, was
named by the sewage pond workers who fed it sandwiches. Ben became so
³tame² that while he was sunning himself on cool, dry season mornings, the
workers would drive by and opening the car door, stroke his back! I was a
little more wary, and it was with trepidation that I put a dinghy into one
of the ponds one day to rescue a pelican with a broken wing. Having just
had a caesarean, I was not particularly happy after three hour¹s paddling
(the boat had no oar locks), but my dedicated obstetrician was on hand. He
was one of those on the bank waiting to grab the bird when I finally caught
Anyway, the inevitable happened - the Conservation Commission set a trap.
The workers kept removing the rotten chook bait, but finally Ben was caught
(on a Saturday, and knowing the ranger and his wife concerned with Ben¹s
capture I¹ve that story too!). The workers did what any one would do for a
mate, and put in an unfair dismissal claim.
Then this present croc turned up. My first close encounter with him
occurred late one afternoon before Christmas , a couple of years ago. The NT
Tourist Commission had decided to hold their Christmas function at the
ponds. Barbara Backers and I turned up early to set up the trestle table
and laden it with goodies such as roast chicken and cold champers. I set up
my telescope hoping to encourage the staff to look at the waterfowl crowded
along the opposite bank. Then Barb went off to unlock the gate for the
It was a lovely evening, the sun was setting and it wasn¹t too hot.
However, my musings were rudely interrupted when I noticed the crocodile as
it swam past me and the table about twenty metres away. Then it turned
around and swam back a little closer this time. It repeated its actions,
each time coming a little closer. So I did what any self-respecting birder
would do I unmounted the telescope and picking up my tripod prepared to do
battle. Fortunately the crowd turned up just then and the croc decided to
It turned up for my birthday celebration two years ago. My friends and I
were sitting in the dark, me just having blown out the candles on my
icecream cake, when Valda heard a noise. Switching on my torch I spotted the
saurian repeating the tactics of the year before. But unlike the intrepid
NTTC¹ers, my friends decided then was a good time to leave!
Power and Water Authority people and I decided people should wear closed-in
footwear after the first of our birdwatching soirees when we noted a woman
teetering along the top of the raw sewage channel wearing high-heeled shoes.
on 18/1/08 12:06 PM, Frank O'Connor at wrote:
>> From: "Arthur & Sheryl Keates" <>
>> To: "Frank O'Connor" <>
>> Subject: Leanyer sewage ponds (Darwin)
>> Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 05:32:38 +0930
>> Hi Frank
>> Would you mind putting the following message on birding-aus please, if you
>> think the wording is ok?
>> Subject: Leanyer sewage ponds (Darwin)
>> Apparently a pilot has reported a 2-3 m salt water crocodile in the ponds so
>> access to the ponds will be denied until the croc is caught. This particular
>> croc has been in the ponds for over 5 years and local birders do not consider
>> it a danger. Being well fed on fish and ducks, the croc may take some time
>> to lure into a trap. There are another 2 smaller crocs present, one being a
>> Those of you who are familiar with the Leanyer ponds will know that birders
>> drive around in the safety of their cars. Birds are more approachable in
>> this manner. Under the terms of entry with Power & Water Authority, we are
>> required to wear closed footwear (to kick the crocs out of the way, sic!).
>> Last Friday 2 Little Ringed Plover and about 6 Yellow Wagtail were present.
>> Most of the thousands of ducks that were there before Christmas have
>> dispersed to the wetlands.
>> Sheryl Keates
> Frank O'Connor Birding WA http://birdingwa.iinet.net.au
> <http://birdingwa.iinet.net.au/> Phone : (08) 9386 5694 Email :
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