In a flap over pesky hadedahs
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.