I have been birding at the landfill for almost 20
years because, for the first 10 years, I was counting
Bald Eagles on a weekly basis for Eagle Watch. As I
noted more and more exciting birds out there my local
Audubon group starting making annual trips out there.
So, the place has been used a birding site for many
years. For a number of years Susan Gaze was the
environmental specialist for the landfill and was just
super in allowing total access to the entire landfill,
including up to the top of the "mountains". She would
load people up in her jeep and take them out to see
the eagles if they wanted. The landfill even put in
some dummy pipes for a pair of nesting Northern
Rough-winged Swallows so they wouldn't get drowned in
the operating water transfer pipes. The landfill
folks have always been as accommodating as possible,
in my opinion.
Since then the administration has had some changes and
along with that has been the setting down of rules for
everyone's safety. This is a very sue happy society
we live in now-a-days and I am sure the regulations
are just as much for their protection as for ours.
The birds will still come and we will still be allowed
to see them and that is the good thing.
--- "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Florida birders,
> I sure wish someone else had risen to the bait here,
> but no one has.
> First, I don't see the requests from the Volusia
> landfill folks as a disaster, or a loss of access,
> or even a negative statement about birders'
> behavior. These are good people running a business.
> They recognized that birders want access, and that
> this is a positive aspect of their operation. And
> something they want to continue to allow.
> They rose to the occasion by formalizing some rules.
> Rules to ensure our safety and avoid interruption
> to their operation.
> Best I can tell, these are the same rules they gave
> us verbatim when we signed in. So formalizing the
> rules is efficient: they don't have to use up
> personnel time chatting with each and every birder
> entering their operation.
> Formalizing these rules is also positive in that it
> makes things clear. I was at the site 4 times this
> winter. Twice I was with groups who had gotten
> permission for special access. The other 2 times I
> was with birders who had been there before, and were
> able to say: we are allowed here, and here, but not
> here. During all 4 visits, we were careful not to
> abuse our access privilege.
> Other birders, from out of state or maybe on their
> own for the first time, would not have the benefit
> of knowing the protocol of where to park and where
> to scope from. Yes, they were told when they signed
> in, but some of this is ambiguous on the ground in
> an unfamiliar area. Formalizing the rules--marking
> the spots--is a positive thing.
> I don't see the formalization of rules, and
> designation of access/parking areas, as a negative.
> They want us to keep coming.
> That part was easy; yet I must address this: both
> Bob W and Wes were vehement that the birding
> community, and they personally, were betrayed by
> birders who broke the rules. Dave Hartgrove's note,
> in the first sentence, states this was the reason
> for these rules:
> "After several of incidents over the past winter,
> where persons
> looking for various gulls exhibited far more
> enthusiasm than common
> I personally don't have evidence of this, actual or
> hearsay, but I have to assume the Landfill personnel
> (and Dave's reporting) is correct: someone/s messed
> up. Intentionally or out of ignorance.
> Does that deserve all the vitriol? All the (direct
> quote) "*&^%$%&*!@"?
> Someone may have blundered out of ignorance, or
> because of the lack of clarity in the verbal
> instructions. But what I'm hearing is an
> opportunity to flag the whipping boy du jour (no
> names mentioned, of course), and let the world know
> how superior the writer is to the rest of the
> (Can you read between the lines? Maybe...just maybe
> those common folk, the ones w/o connections, aren't
> good enough birders to be allowed in there...?)
> I'm not big on vehemence and venom. I've been at
> the receiving end of some of it. I'd like to see a
> birding community where we help one another,
> beginner to high-list chaser. I try to avoid
> contention, I'm a Libra and a crusader for fairness,
> I raised kids and don't care for squabbling. Some
> folks can only feel good about themselves when they
> are putting down others. Pretty transparent.
> I don't thing the birding community deserves the
> lashing. This is a totally negative message without
> specifics. Volusia Landfill has posted some rules
> and designated some spots for us. This tells me
> they support our presence and want to continue it,
> while minimizing any negative impact on their
> operation. I don't see this as a platform to
> proclaim superiority while stomping down others.
> Landfills attract gulls, have you heard? Guess we
> didn't need anyone to tell us that.
> I thank both Michael Brothers (the quiet guy) and
> Wes Biggs for their time and efforts in helping to
> set up group visits and representing the scientific
> and birding community to the landfill personnel.
> They bridged the gap for us.
> As for some new formalized rules, it's business, not
> personal, get over it. And anyone who hints that
> the birding community should take this personally is
> doing a great disservice.
> Dotty Robbins
> High Springs
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Meret S Wilson
Ormond Beach, FL
TBBS, Tomoka State Park
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