In a flap over pesky hadedahs

The Citizen (KZN) - - Letters - Cliff Buch­ler

Other than Shaun “Polly” Pol­lock be­ing a crick­et­ing icon and one of the best com­men­ta­tors, he and I have an­other thing in com­mon. An in­tense dis­like for the bostrychia hagedash. He has them in KwaZulu-Natal. And New­lands sports ground at­tracts them.

They thrive in my ver­sion of the Gar­den of Eden.

Whether or not you be­lieve the bi­b­li­cal ac­count, the idea con­jures up a place of beauty over­run with flow­ers, trees, shrubs and bab­bling brooks.

My habi­tat is known as Eden and part of the Gar­den Route, so call­ing it by that name is apt.

But, like the orig­i­nal, our gar­den ain’t per­fect, with its share of crime and weirdos (aka hu­mans).

And the es­capee from Juras­sic Park – the dreaded hadedah.

Its mem­branes nic­ti­tate evily as it swal­lows a large in­sect or snail. It’s large, about 76cm long, and grey/brown in colour. The nar­row white hor­i­zon­tal stripe across its cheeks looks like a mous­tache, although it doesn’t reach the mouth cor­ners. A Hitler looka­like. Wings are pow­er­ful and broad, en­abling quick take-offs.

His ear-split­ting call makes him un­wel­come. And when there’s a whole gag­gle, nor­mal sounds are drowned out, even from weed-eaters.

And when mat­ing they take to the air, do­ing on-go­ing fly-pasts with the dis­tinc­tive haa-haa-dedah reach­ing a glass-shat­ter­ing crescendo. If they were any nearer earth, they’d punc­ture eardrums.

What makes it all the more both­er­some, they do their love­mak­ing at three in the morn­ing. Can they not make it co­in­cide with a hu­man timetable when in all prob­a­bil­ity couples are do­ing it? My Heidi, nas­tily, wants to know who I know who’s “still do­ing it”. Says I’m just a bit­ter old man, hav­ing lost the art. Haha.

When for­ag­ing, the con­tact call is a low growl, sim­i­lar to that made by a young puppy. When this hap­pens our dog­gies go ba­nanas, think­ing there’s a sexy bitch on the lawn. It up­sets them no end when dis­cov­er­ing it’s the ugli­est bird on the planet and not some four-legged bit of fluff.

Like the gamy cou­ple in the orig­i­nal gar­den, the hadedahs should be ban­ished from ours.

I ex­pect Gree­nies on the fa­natic fringe to picket my gar­den. Your turn to bat, Polly.

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