Another week, another woodpecker. Well, three more actually. Woody and Doris are delighted to announce the unseasonal arrival of their first clutch of hungry offspring, signalled by the loud cracking of eggshells in the night, below MTN’s failed tribute to post-modernist architecture and forestry. Named Golum, Lefty and Squawk, these new additions to the avian population of Clarens were busy digesting their first meal as dawn broke over the prone bodies of bikers hibernating on the village square. Yup, the Steel Wings are in town again, having taken flight from the urban smog to celebrate the birth of the Woody’s heirs with a 4-million decibel cacophony of flatulent rumbling. Not surprisingly, the Guinea Fowl have fled the noise and even the White-Faced Duck have gone silent and sunk to their eyeballs in the reeds. Speaking of which, the 12 Guinea-Ducklings and the subjects of my ill-fated observation of last week, have also had enough. After weeks of attempting to master the art of rowing their reed rafts around the Golf Course dam, under the confused tutelage of their self-appointed foster-mothering White-Faced Duck, they too have had it and fled the scene. Protracted paddling in a clockwise direction has exercised their left wings to the point of absurdity, while their under-employed right wings are hardly more than speckled stumps. In a concerted mutiny, they made the shore and sprinted for the familiar shape of Gargantua Guinea Fowl, their biological mother, disappearing under the cover of her welcoming wings in the long grass. Aaaah! Sir David will be pleased at this heart-warming end to a tale of the very unexpected. The Twitcher ( With his titanium pecker and cellphonicly charged love nest, we await the reply to Woody’s application to become the world’s first bionic bird by officially getting his own Steel Wings – ed)
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