Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hibiscus Madeline Champion and the Birds

Hibiscus Madeline Champion is one of those old world hibiscus that is truly a champion in many aspects. It is robust shrub which can be trained into a small tree that produces flowers throughout the year.


It is peach with delicate red veins radiating out from a red locus at the base of the flower. An areola of pink blush is seen around the red core.
 
The five-petaled flower has a frilly edge.


The unopened pollen pods look much like cashew nuts while the style branches into five separate styles, each bearing round tufted stigma.


Hibiscus flowers are always very popular with the birds. A Yellow Vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) perched prettily among the flowers, giving me an opportunity for a vantage shot.


 
Another of its ilk chilled off on the cut off end of a stem.







However, it just perched on the stem without ever going near the flower for the prized nectar.


Unlike the bulbuls, sunbirds have a fixation with hibiscus flowers or rather its nectar.

Sometimes we can see sunbirds hovering briefly in front of the Hibiscus almost like the way hummingbirds do.


 It clinged on the flower stalk of a hibiscus while partaking of the sweet nectar.


This is the female, without the metallic-blue throat.




Next to the Lipstick palm another Hibiscus Madeline Champion thrives happily, 


attracting a plethora of birds to its numerous flowers.


It is quite characteristic of sunbirds to swing on the flower stalk, swaying on it for a while before they ...


dipped down to sip the nectar from the base of the flower. 

 
Going through the backdoor instead of through the front of the flowers, they get the nectar without having to contribute pollinating services. This is surely not a win-win situation for the Hibiscus. Here a male sunbird is seen siphoning off some 'free' nectar.
  

Early morning blooms.


Mid-day sunrays picked up the yellow and orange hues of a Hibiscus Madeline Champion rendering it a golden beauty against the azure sky.




In the late afternoon, this Hibiscus is still looking fresh enough to grace the driveway.


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