Butea monosperma or the Flame-of-the-forest is difficult to miss in early summer - bright clusters of flowers cover the canopy giving the tree its common name. The flowers are visited by a variety of insects, birds and some mammals. Here, a Rose-ringed Parakeet (a common resident species) digs into the keel-shaped lower petals of the flower to lick up the nectar. But the parakeet needs to work for the reward - the stamen pops out and smacks pollen on the forehead of the bird. As the bird visits different flowers and trees, it pollinates the flowers. A surprisingly large number of Butea trees still persist in the state - this photograph is from Farrukhabad district. Since the landscape is flat and largely agricultural, flowering trees stand out like beacons, and the floor below them gets carpeted with falling petals. A dash of orange (bottom photo) lighting up the usual earth colours! (Photographs date: Apr 4, 2009)
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