“It is the time of the year again, when the saraca tree (Saraca sp.) starts to bloom in earnest. Flower buds seem to sprout from everywhere, from main branches to the usual places at the end of branches. When the flowers starts to open, a faint aroma fills the air, maybe this is the signal to the birds to start to gather at the nectar party that the tree has to offer.
“The party seems to start much later in the morning, when the sun warms up the tree, encouraging the flowers to secrete nectar in the flowers. This being evident when the birds start to congregate in greater numbers. This activity would continue throughout the day.
“The species of birds that gather are mainly sunbirds: Purple-throated (Nectariniua sperata) (above left), the Crimson (Aethopyga siparaja) (above right), Olive-backed (Cinnyris jugularis) (below left) and Brown-throated (Anthreptes malacensis) (below right). If anyone has spotted other sunbirds, they are welcome to add their comments to this article.
“As G. Sreedharan had mentioned earlier, and I quote:
“”I went by the saraca tree at Lower Pierce this evening and saw that the sunbirds were still actively feeding there. You can get good views of the male and female Crimson Sunbird, Olive-backed Sunbird, Plain- throated (Brown-throated) Sunbird and the Purple-throated Sunbird. Interestingly, the Crimson will feed right down to the lowest levels whilst the Olive-backed rarely ventured below the mid level. The Plain- throated and Purple-throated kept to the mid and upper levels though the latter were less likely to feed in the open.
““So it seems also that the birds also have their levels in their feeding habits, however this is not a hard and fast rule as some of the Purple-throated do come down to eye levels of the tree to feed, this being so when there are less people surrounding the tree.
““The odd bird that stood out from the crowd was the Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica), I managed to capture the evidence on camera, and my friend Ingo who was there verified it. So it must be there to feed on the numerous amount of insects, tiny insects taking advantage of the abundance of nectar.
““I believe the tree would continue to flower for another week…””
21st February 2009