Bottlebrush and birds

Our red bottlebrush (Callistemon) has joined the mango (now just about finished), paperbark, poplar gum and macadamia in bursting into flower. It is far smaller than the first three, although still three or four metres high, and the flowers are attractive to the birds as well as to us.

Lorikeet amongst bottlebrush flowers
Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) amongst bottlebrush flowers
Lorikeet feeding on bottlebrush
I wonder if it tastes as good as it looks?

I have seen Friarbirds feeding on the blossom, too, and a few insects – native bees, for instance.

What’s around – mid November

Blue butterfly feeding on pink bottlebrush flower
Pale triangle, Graphium eurypylus, feeding without quite landing

We’ve still had no real rain, in spite of my footnote a month ago – we had 14 mm in three days in the middle of October, then nothing again except for the shower I mentioned a few days ago. Our dry season is really living up to its name this year: monthly rainfall totals are July 1.0, Aug 0.0, Sept 0.0, Oct 14.2 and November (so far) 3.8 mm. The humidity and temperatures are creeping up, however, although only slowly, and encouraging some of our plants to begin flowering.

We have lilies (our first Ball of Fire for the season last week) and orchids, some heliconias and gingers; of the trees, the pretty pink weeping bottlebrush and the poincianas are doing well but the poplar gum is still losing leaves and putting out new ones, and the flowers are yet to come.

The insect life in the garden reflects all this. We still have a variety of species but most of them only in very low numbers. The dominant butterflies are the Zebra Blue, around the Plumbago, and (still) the Chocolate Soldiers. We’re getting a few more Hesperidae and Pale Triangles but a few fewer Crows, still no Eurema and still no female Eggfly.

Among the spiders, orb-weavers are almost absent but there are still quite a few jumping spiders and lots of flower spiders. Mosquitoes are not numerous enough to be much of a problem (no water for breeding sites), while flies are represented mainly by the little green Dolichopodidae, which have been here all along, and hover-flies. A few mud-dauber wasps are beginning to make nests again and the Blue-banded Bees are still enjoying the flowers.