Posted by: Robin Hawkins | July 22, 2016

Nestled into a corner of a road-curve next to the path I walk every day on my way to work is this tiny little “accidental wetland”. It started off a few years ago as a poorly drained mudpool between two roads, and with time various reeds and other “water-plants” have established themselves and have now become a rather pleasant little wetland populated by quite a range of birds and frogs and things that provide a charming soundtrack to my morning walk. There are hundreds of woven warbler nests and myriad little finches that are just starting to warm their vocal chords as the sun just hints at rising over the buildings, and the symphony of chirps, bleeps and croaks from the invisible frogs just puts a spri8ng in one’s step, no matter how chilly the morning. I find such little pockets of indomitable nature to be such a fount of optimism in an urban sprawl fast being redecorated with plastic shopping bags, acres of glass shards and broken beer bottles and a sprinkling of discarded condoms, with a dash of melted rubber and metal scrap. Not too many miles to the West we have the wasteland that once was the thriving Milnerton wetland, with its now extinct populations of fish, water-fowl and all the various creatures that go with that. That once heavenly spot is now a desolate stretch of dead water, thanks to the over-taxed sewage system that leaches human shit into the water-table. No sign of living fish anymore, and the birds one may see are simply passing through. Yet here, in the middle of urban Bellville, this little Eden has evolved all on its own. Okay, there are no fish, as the “pool” is fed only by a small spring that comes and goes with the rains. But there seem to be a lot of other species slowly moving in, judging from the volume and diversity of sound that one hears as one rushes passed, huddled into coats and beenies as we make our reluctant way to work. Like the cows and goats roaming the open spaces near my home, such glimpses of the green that once was the peninsula give one hope.

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