Friday, 06 November 2015
In the South West of Australia, there are six seasons in the Nyoongar year, rather than the four European seasons. The six distinct seasons: Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang, serve to better represent and explain the seasonal differences that we witness each year.
Following on from the warm Makuru and Djilba seasons that we’ve experienced so far, Kambarang too has arrived nice and early. There are many Balgas (or Grass Trees) in flower at the moment with their green flower stalks or spears growing rapidly at 5-10cm per day and up to 5 metres tall. Starting on the northern side of the flower stalk, these will open white to cream, from the base all the way up.
With so many little flowers open all at once in the one place, anything that can crawl, walk or fly will be attracted to them; making them a wonderful place to observe the local insects in action. And speaking of insects, you’ll also start to notice the Noordoos (or Blow Flies) and the ants, quite an iconic way to signify the onset of the summer weather.
Along with the warming and drying weather, of course comes the return of the reptiles that have been in hibernation throughout the last couple of seasons. As an indication of how warm Djilba season was, we’ve already seen and heard reports of snakes being out and about during September, whereas October and November should be the number one and two seasons to see them.
When out walking along the coastal pathways or bush tracks take care and beware of where you put your feet; for the most part though, people generally make too much noise when walking so the animals know to get out of the way well before you pass by. Bobtail lizards too will start to make their way out of their sleeping places and sadly I’ve already seen a few squashed on the roads. Please do take care when you’re out and about and give them a chance to cross the roads or paths safely.
The birds have been busy nurturing their young that hatched early, and in some cases, are on to their second or third brood for the year. An example of this being a family of ducks that I saw with their first ducklings in early July and another group in October.
Looking and listening carefully, you should see and hear many other bird species including the Coolbardies (or Magpies) that like to protect their young by ‘swooping’ anyone or anything that comes too close to their nests. I like to use this time of the year to show my kids how to observe what is happening and some possible reasons why, so we often take the time to sit, watch and listen.
A couple of final and definitive signs that the heat of Birak isn’t far away are the striking flowers of the Moojar (or Australian Christmas Tree), indicating it’s a time to head towards the coast and the spawning of the Blue Swimmer Crabs.
Take care to follow the fishing regulations with regard to the crabs to help protect their breeding numbers and always return those under size or females with eggs, this way you too can care for country for our future generations.
Cultural Awareness Officer
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