It’s probably not a good idea to sit under a Philenoptera violacea unless you have an umbrella.
Thousands of tiny frog-hopper insects – called Ptyelus grossus – live off the sap of these trees. And as fast as they are sucking sap they are also peeing, forming almost pure water puddles on the ground under the trees.
This is one of the reasons the tree earns the nickname ‘rain tree’.
The other reason is that for a couple of weeks a year, around the beginning of November, the dull, grey bush suddenly erupts with splashes of violet and blue, and we know that the rains will soon be following.
That’s unless the crows have anything to do with it …
It looks inviting, but you really don’t want to sit there
One of Rustle Crow’s relatives – or it could be Rustle himself! – has set up a maternity unit in Rustle’s old home.
From the various clicks, caws and chuckles that have started to drift down from the nest it would seem the happy event has taken place and we have some proud crow parents on the property once again.
If you look very carefully at the top centre of the nest, you can just about make out a baby crow beak peaking out
On Friday, while I was peering up at the nest and trying to see if I could spot our new arrival, Raymond – our garden helper – sidled up to me, shaking his head and tut-tutting.
“What’s wrong Raymond?”, I asked, expecting him to tell me that worms were eating the oranges again, or that he needed more fertilizer to put on the cabbage seedlings.
Instead he pointed up at the crows nest and answered ” Those birds, Madame. They are bad. We must chase them”.
“Oh? Why? What is bad about them?”
“They are keeping the rain away. Every time the rain starts to come they flap their wings like this” and he demonstrated, a pretty good impression I thought “and then the rain is afraid and it goes away”
“Rain rain go away, come again another day”
A crow with a view; making sure the rain has gone