Friday, June 11, 2010

Poinciana Extravaganza!

After many of the birds fly north for the summer, including the "snowbirds" (tourists), my morning walks are pretty static; with one exception: the current eye-popping display of royal poinciana trees. This display is something the snowbirds miss out on, along with the hot humid weather. I think I'll take the wild splash of color.

Because of the frosty weather we had in Feb. and Mar., the poinciana's bloomed later and better than ever. I had to snap a few pictures for you before the blooms are gone. Poinciana's are not indigenous to Florida. They are transplants from Zambia and Madagascar. They are known by many names: royal poinciana, flamboyant tree (no surprise there!), flame tree, and peacock tree; although not one tree has srutted as far as I can tell.

The canopy on these trees, or "umbrella" as I like to call it, can reach up to 60 feet in diameter, yet they never grow much more than 40 feet tall. The poinciana is a real treasure down here. It's almost bug free, it loves our hot humid climate, it manages to survive drought, and it tolerates our salty sand. The only downfall are the long brown pods that form after blooming and drop to the ground. Hey, I'll take that trade-off any day!

I was concerned that my son and his family, who will be here next week, may not see the blooms or a lot of other birds and wildlife because it's so hot. But "lo and behold" this morning I saw two large box turtles sunning themselves, a redwing blackbird coming right at me with its red epaulets exposed, and a young tricolored heron; a rare pleasure for me. The heron had a bright blue bill, pink legs, and the buff-colored plumes of courtship. Unbelievable! I was so caught up watching this bird, I forgot to photograph him. Hey, I'm an artist!

Next Tuesday's Blog: "Star Billing," my rooster work-in-progress.