Ben Esgate [1914-2003] from an interview in October 2002 [Jim Smith PhD]:
“Birds and everything like that are getting scarcer.
I reckon that since I have grown up, the bird life on the Blue Mountains has receded by 80%.
Too many bushfires destroy the breeding grounds of many birds, particularly Kookaburras and birds that use hollows. Clearing of land unnecessarily, and always killing the big trees, not the little ones. The big ones make the nests of tomorrow. In the smaller bird line, feral cats are causing no end of trouble. Pardalotes and all that sort haven’t got a chance, anything that builds a nest low in the trees.
Burning off National Parks, and areas adjacent to National Parks, just because the mob squealed because they have gone a built a house near the National Park, and now you have to keep fire from getting it.
The first things that happens then is that you have got to keep burning off around where people live…It might only destroy a bit in this place and a bit in that place, but it is still destroying things.”
“I reckon that I shot every third fox that I ever saw, never mind the ones I went hunting for, in my life. One in every three bit the dust and I’ve shot dozens and dozens and dozens of them. That meant that, including the offspring, there were several hundred foxes less to feed on our native wild life and wipe them out.
I saw them wipe our Rock Wallabies out in the Megalong completely…I shot foxes for many years, right up until I was 80.
I was knocking over 20 a winter up there (Galong Bluffs), when I was 79.
I never shot in a National Park. They knew up there, the National Parks mob, they knew I was knocking them off and they thought it was wonderful.”
 Blue Mountains Bird List, by Carole Proberts, http://www.bmbirding.com.au/bmlist07.pdf
 ‘The last of the Cox’s River men : Ben Esgate 1914-2003‘ / by Jim Smith, (NLA).
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Tags: Ben Esgate, bird life, Blue Mountains wildlife, burning off, bushfires, feral cats, foxes, getting scarcer, hazard reduction, Jim Smith, Kookaburras, Megalong, Pardalote, Rock Wallabies, tree hollows