Change of season

white pigeon with black tail
Torresian Imperial-pigeon, aka Nutmeg Pigeon, feeding on palm seeds

Townsville is gradually shifting from the Dry Season to the Wet. The change is not as distinct here as in Darwin, where it’s known as “the build-up” and accompanied by intense thunderstorms, but we do notice it all the same. In no particular order …  

  • The poplar gum is losing all its leaves. Again.
  • Nutmeg Pigeons, Ducula bicolor, are in town. We’ve had a couple high in our tallest trees for a few weeks, their baritone coo-hoo making their presence obvious even when they are out of sight.
  • The thermometer has forgotten all numbers smaller than 22. Days have been a bit hotter, up to 32 (still far cooler than Western Queensland’s record-breaking runs of 40-plus), and nights considerably warmer (we haven’t dropped below 22 for a fortnight and may not do so for another three or four months).
  • The Cape York Lilies have poked up their first leaves. Exotic (i.e. European) lilies have been flowering too.
  • Frangipani and Poinciana are flowering. The latter flower better when they are watered least, because they put their energy into leaves when there’s plenty of water, so neglected corners of the city shine out in unaccustomed splendour.
  • Chewed mangos have been appearing on our lawn for a couple of weeks, courtesy of the flying foxes which pick them from the neighbour’s tree and hang in our palms to eat them in peace.
  • The lawn has started growing again after looking all right with regular watering (but really just waiting around) over “winter”.
  • Clouds build up most days but haven’t yet done much beyond looking pretty.
  • We’ve had two separate mailouts from the city council reminding us that “Townsville is subject to cyclones” (!) and encouraging us to prepare for floods, storm surges, power outages, etc. I suppose they are necessary, given the numbers of people who are only here for a few years, but after twenty years we are well accustomed to both the weather and the warnings.
  • Our local (LNP) member of state parliament also sent us his newsletter and offered us, “a bright yellow Get Ready USB wrist band,”  free from his office and containing, “all the information you need to ensure you and your family are well prepared for this storm season.” It seems awfully hypocritical and tokenistic in the context of his government’s systematic attacks on the environment, up to and including spending our money on a coal mine which will contribute significantly to climate change if it goes into production rather than (as seems equally likely) being uneconomic, failing to commence operations and merely losing our money.
  • We’ve heard our first cicadas of the season – just a few, but we know there will be more later. Ditto beetles coming to the house lights at night. So far they are mostly small brown scarabs like this chafer but their beautiful green and gold cousins will be here soon, as will the impressive elephant beetles.

In the first year or two of this blog I ran a monthly series of posts on seasonality as it affected my Townsville garden and clicking on the “seasonal change” tag in the side-bar will find them plus more recent, but less regular, posts on the topic.

2 thoughts on “Change of season”

    1. I think the theory is probably that you carry it with you when you evacuate. Maybe you should check with David Crisafulli?
      Solar won’t help unless you have an off-grid set-up, by the way: as soon as mains power drops out, the inverter on grid-connected systems shuts down. It’s probably time I wrote about what happens to our tech when storms and cyclones come along, actually.

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