Ornithological Notes (CLARENS NEWS: 11 September 2012)
Things have gone quiet since Woody and Doris elected to take a spring break, and hired a sit-in maid (Grizelda the one-winged Guinea Fowl) to take care of their clutch of 300 woodpecker eggs buried deep beneath the Leaning Tower of MTN. Your correspondent was however struck this week by the sudden appearance of a fairly innocuous African Pied Crow (Corvus albus, to fellow twitchers) with the most astounding call ever recorded in these fair mountains. This little fellow has been seen and heard the length of the village mouthing (beaking?) the Moonlight Sonata, as well as a number of rather irritating ABBA songs. Bird experts from all over South Africa have been descending on our fair village to record this extraordinary cacophony of birdsong and can be seen at all hours lurking with their binoculars and recording equipment in the village’s rapidly greening shrubbery. Indeed, international interest has been sparked, not least because the little fellow’s choice of ABBA songs defy common decency and taste. However, all good things come to an end, as your correspondent discovered when he bumped into the larger than life proprietor of the Phatt Chef Restaurant. Apparently his new smart-phone, endowed for some inexplicable reason with his personal choice of ring tones, was snatched from atop his freshly-barbequed steak last Sunday afternoon (when his attention was disengaged) by – yes – a Pied Crow. Attempts to bring the bird down with an empty wine bottle only resulted in the poor creature gulping in fright and swallowing the phone. Anyone calling Simon should be warned that he will be stuck on voice mail for a while and that the signal may fade as the new owner ascends through 5000 metres to escape other birds equally irked by ABBA songs. It can only be hoped that the battery dies before the Crow enters Gauteng airspace and triggers SA’s air response system.