Pop(u)lar Gum in blossom

Our huge Poplar Gum (Eucalyptus platyphylla) has, as predicted, burst into flower – suddenly and exuberantly. The trigger seems to have been the few millimetres of gentle rain which arrived on Sunday, since by Monday the whole tree looked like this:

creamy gum blossom
Poplar gum blossom

It has become enormously popular with the Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) in consequence. They have abandoned the paperbark (they had nearly stripped it, anyway) and dozens of them at a time are feeding in the canopy.

Rainbow Lorikeet in the Poplar Gum
Rainbow Lorikeet in the Poplar Gum
two lorikeets arguing
Two lorikeets disputing over the flowers

Anyone standing beneath the tree is showered with the caps off the flower buds, and with fragments of twigs, leaves and flowers.

The birds keep up a screeching racket which bursts out even louder when they squabble, as they often do.

With all that, they are (as I said last week) very difficult to see. They have an amazing knack of vanishing into the leaves. When you watch for a while, you can see most of the ‘why’ and ‘how’: they have to walk around on the small branches and reach out through the leaves to the flowers, because the flower stems are not strong enough to take their weight.

Lorikeet with head showing through leaves
Now you see it …

Their colours are surprisingly good camouflage, too, as the bright blue head becomes sky in sunlight and grey branch in shadow, while the green and yellow become leaves.

How much of the bird can you see in the small picture here? Click on it for a larger version and look again.