Pollen season – and beautiful pigeons on the recently mown grass verges

Our verge has not been mowed for many, many months and the grasses have taken over completely


Every year during springtime, there is a conflict between the local residents of Pinelands who want to keep the beautiful wild spring flowers on the grass verges flowering in our neighbourhood for as long as possible, and who thus get mightily upset with the city council when their squadrons of mowers come roaring down our streets in a purple-blue haze of exhaust smoke, chopping down, flattening and weed-eatering all vegetation like a plague of locusts…

I think this is a syringa tree - it also creates incredible amounts of pollen!

… and those who, sniffing and sneezing and reaching for yet another box of tissues and yet another anti-histamine tablet, curse the lack of service delivery and the continued absence of the mowers, as clouds of pollen are swirled around by the south-easterly winds of spring and early summer.


This year, I think the City Council completely forgot about our street. It was fine – and actually quite pretty – while there were still large patches of colourful daisies and other wild flowers all along the verges. But when those wilted, withered and died, the grasses took over completely.

The flowering jasmines outside the window release their delightful sweet scent - which can sometimes trigger a sneeze-attack

I noticed that some of the neighbouring streets had been cleared for a long time already, while we were still pushing our way through knee-high and occasionally hip-high grasses that were tall enough to lose a cat or a small dog in!

To make matters worse, those awful syringa [?] trees started flowering and pollen-distributing at the same time, followed closely by the jasmine-creepers on the trellises outside our office and bedroom windows, so our hayfever and allergy levels soared.

Determined not to get sucked into the vicious cycle of a reliance on anti-histamines, we sniffed and sneezed and sniffed and sneezed our way through one day after another.


Urgh. Sniff.

After the lawnmowers and weedeaters have flattened the vegetation, the pigeons return

In fact, I had already resigned myself to the fact that

  1. none or too few of our neighbours felt strongly enough about the proliferation of tall grasses to complain to our local councillor,
  2. the local councillor had received such complaints but was unable to assist because he had other more important problems that needed sorting,  and/or
  3. the municipality had run out of money/buggered up the contract with the mowers/decided that the Leafy Green Suburbs should live up to their name – so there!

Oh dear, I’m going to …  a—a—aaa—tschoooo!!!!!


Each displays a different combination of colours

I was astounded when the mowing team suddenly arrived in full force a week or two ago. This was a day before we went away for a week. By all accounts, the pollen and dust count – as well as the purple-blue diesel-haze of mowing machinery – in our street skyrocketed for a couple of days, as the mowers imposed a sense of order on nature once more and removed bag-loads of grass-cuttings.

Perhaps it was just as well that we were away.

Earlier today, I spotted some of the flock of beautiful pigeons that often loves to forage on these verges. I’m sure these must be high-bred racing pigeons, as they are simply exquisite. I hadn’t seen them here in recent weeks – quite understandable, given the height of the grass!

One of them strikes an elegant pose for the camera

Today, I got the feeling that they were exceedingly content with their lot, as they puttered along, pecking here and pecking there, scratching the sandy earth to reveal a tasty … I don’t know … what do these birds eat? seeds? grains? worms? … anyway… they were contentedly foraging and dust-bathing, now that they could see the earth again!

I thought they were so gorgeous, that you might like to have a look at them too, so I hauled out the telephoto and did some ve-e-e-e-r-y ….  sl-o-o-o-o-w …… wa-a-a-a-a-lking across the street, humming peacefully to myself and pretending that I wasn’t interested in them whatsoever. They didn’t buy the act at all, but graciously permitted me to take some snapshots. In fact, the bright white one even struck a pose for me!

Don’t you agree that they are simply gorgeous? I do wonder to whom they belong…

6 thoughts on “Pollen season – and beautiful pigeons on the recently mown grass verges

  1. If I’m not mistaken, they’re doves.
    Sympathies for the allergies. Can you get desensitized there at all? I was years ago and was fine but since we’ve been here there is a plant (and I’ve no idea what it is) somewhere near our pond that always sets me off in the summer, and a climber near the house. Though the latter will have to come down eventually as we need to renew some of the outside of the house soon.

    Your photos are always breathtaking, Reggie! 🙂

    • Thank you, Val!

      I did some reading up on the difference between pigeons and doves, but it seems that the terms are generally used interchangeably:

      “Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae within the order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerines. In general terms “dove” and “pigeon” are used somewhat interchangeably. In ornithological practice, there is a tendency for “dove” to be used for smaller species and “pigeon” for larger ones, but this is in no way consistently applied, and historically the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation between the terms “dove” and “pigeon.” (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbidae)

      I think they may be homing pigeons, actually (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homing_pigeon).

      I wonder whether they know the famous Winston, the carrier pigeon, who was part of a much-publicised experiment in 2009 to see whether it was faster for an information technology company in South Africa to transmit data by carrier pigeon than to send it using Telkom, which is our leading internet service provider. (Can you tell that the techies may have been a little frustrated with the lack of internet speed?)

      It may surprise you that Winston the pigeon took only two hours to carry a 4GB memory card 60 miles from Unlimited IT’s call call centre in the town of Howick to deliver the memory stick to the firm’s office in Durban. In the same amount of time, the ADSL had only managed to send 4% of the same amount of data. (See here and here).

  2. Hi Reggie,
    Sorry to hear about the allergies. Hope you’re feeling better now that the grass has been cut.
    I hadn’t heard the story of Winston the carrier pigeon. Oh how funny…
    I also love your photos. Nice to see the jasmine’s flowering now. I think that’s my fave scent.
    I saw a play here about the Syringa tree and but didn’t know what it looked like. Thank you.

  3. Pingback: We salute the sun | The Fantastical Voyages of Flat Kathy

I'd love to hear your views

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s