Desert birder death

To: john hammond <>, Birding Aus <>
Subject: Desert birder death
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2008 05:45:11 +0930
I've known birders (and others) like you, and seen the distress caused to
families when something goes wrong, and I can't tell you how glad I am that
my special men (husband, son and son-in-law to be) are not like you.

Such behaviour is a major reason why I now weed out the gonzo birders who
email me - I grew sick and tired of  trying to look after men who risked
heat exhaustion and crocodile attack to get that special tick.  And there is
no way I'd recommend such visitors to my Indigenous relatives.  The serious
injury or death of any visitor to their country would cause them
immeasurable distress.

Sure, I've taken risks, as a buffalo shooter, and a biological consultant.
 But they were calculated risks - I knew the country, animal behaviour, and
my limits.  And while I often guide birders into mangroves, I avoid areas of
deep mud, and places where I know, or suspect there, might be crocodiles.

By the same token I wouldn't walk around lonely streets or parks of Darwin
at night and advise my clients accordingly.
Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
PO Box 3460 NT 0832
Ph. 61 08 89 328306
Birdwatching and Indigenous tourism consultant
PhD Candidate


on 10/10/08 1:56 PM, john hammond at  wrote:

> I find myself sitting here contemplating that poor blokes demise and i realise
> the risks i have taken in my pursuit of birds. Chasing a night heron has taken
> me into a swamp chest deep in water and sinking in the mud. If those waders of
> mine had filled up with water or i had become stuck i am sure it would have
> been game over. I often walk for a couple of hours into bush land with no
> water back up or even a snake bandage (usually wear shorts). My wife never
> knows where i am and i do all this because i assume nothing will go wrong and
> i will be back safe and sound in a couple of hours. On a desert trip it would
> be just like me to get caught up in the thrill of the chase and leave the
> water back at camp thinking of nothing but that "grass wren". I guess a tragic
> event like this wakes some of us up to the fact that even close to a city it
> doesn't take that long to take yourself to a place where no one can hear you
> scream.... John 
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