This is specially for Gillian in Texas, whose birthday it is today... Happy Happy to you dear little sister!!... I couldn't believe when I was talking on the phone to her some years ago, she heard some of these birds squawking raucously in the background, and came over all emotional and homesick. The hadedas (Ibis) are the cause of much bleary-eyed cursing in this house as they land on the roof above our bedroom at a quarter to five in the morning, like sacks of cement, gedoenk, gedoenk, screeching their ear-splitting version of the dawn chorus - Haaaauuw, hhwaaaarrrr! They didn't use to live in Joburg - we first saw them in the eastern Cape and were quite enamoured of their shiny petrol coloured plumage and gawky gait. Then the city had a plague - an infestation, of the horrible 'Parktown Prawns' - a kind of king cricket, an import from New Zealand I believe, that had the population in skin-crawling hysteria for a while - we were very thankful when, after two or three years of terror, in flew the noble hadedas, feasting on the hideous jumping, stinking, grinding PP's (who had been feasting on the snails, which have resumed residence in their thousands this wet summer). Now we're left with the 'da's - I don't know what they eat, but I think they're very hungry, going by the arguments they hold in our garden over the compost heap. I guess I prefer them to the prawns.
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