The Twitcher

LATEST TWITCH 25 01 2013

…Turns out that far from hiding in the Clarens woods (well, what’s left after the annual wood-chopping season), our Bigfoot clone has been seen cashing in empties at the Old Stone Bottle Store (Carling Black Label, if you are interested in his/her drinking habits) and caught on security cameras rising from the depths of the Ash River.     Kaalvoet was even photographed on the SAPS gate camera at the local Police Station, but somehow was neither spotted or detained.   Readers with more photographs to post should hurry along to the Brewery asap, as space on the ‘Creature Wall’ is running low. Turning to matters ornithological, as you would rightly expect, I have been pestered all week by growing flocks of Common Myna birds, or Indian Mynas (Acridotheres tristis) as they are more commonly known.   This little fellow is a member of the family Sturnidae (starlings and mynas) and is/was native to Asia.   It is an omnivorous open-woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, and has adapted extremely well to urban environments like Clarens – in spite of its rural location!   You will be riveted to know that the Indian Myna is an important motif in Indian culture and appears both in Sansrit and Prakrit literature (copies definitely not available at the Bibliophile).   The word “Myna” (as if you cared) is derived from the Hindi language mainā which itself is derived from Sanskrit madanā, but locally it is simply known as a cheeky little bugger.   The real point is that the range of the Myna is increasing at such a rapid rate that in 2000 the  IUCN Species Survival Commission declared it one of the world’s most invasive species and one of only three birds in the top 100 species that pose an impact to biodiversity, agriculture and human interests.   Whew!   Judging by the number of these visitors to my little corner of God’s green acre, it’s turning into a very real problem for Clarens. So I got to thinking.   We could arm the population with air rifles and publish recipes for Myna stew, Myna á l’Orange, or that well-known stand-by, Myna and Cherries in Phyllo Pastry.   However, given the average age of the village population and the prevalence of bottle-bottomed glasses, I suspect we would wind up with long queues in Casualty and not a dead Myna to our collective name.   So, it occurred to me that the previous Government, which we may or may not remember but obviously never supported, put a metaphorical fence around the Free State and insisted that visitors of Indian origin had but 24-hours to cross this enchanted land – and required a visa to do so.   At risk of exciting a host of retired civil servants now running cafes on the coast, could we not re-introduce this remarkable legislation and curb the widespread incursions of this bothersome creature?    Just think, whole squadrons of hot-air balloons with nets deployed across the Malutis; employment for legions of rubber-stamping visa issuers who would (again) simply refuse every application; and clear skies over Clarens!?!   Hhmmmm.   Perhaps I will just buy a pellet gun. The Twitcher