Saturday, 15 November 2008

Gunumeleng - The pre-monsoon storm season

Gunumeleng, the next season in the year, according to the aboriginal people from the Kakadu area, can last from mid-October to late December, and may, in fact, last from a few weeks to several months. It is the pre-monsoon season of hot weather that becomes more and more humid. Thunderstorms build in the afternoons and scattered showers bring a tinge of green to the dry land. As the streams begin to run, acidic water that washes from the floodplains can cause fish to die in billabongs with low oxygen levels. Waterbirds spread out as surface water and new growth become more widespread. Barramundi move from the waterholes downstream to the estuaries to breed.

We are still waiting for the rains. We definitely have the heat and humidity and a lot less breeze in the early evening than we had in October.

The trees, however, seem to get the message when it is their time to shine, almost as if they can feel the rains coming.

The umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla) is native to northern Queensland, north of the tropic of Capricorn. In the close up of the flower there is a brightly coloured rainbow lorikeet, feasting on the nectar.

The red poinciana (Delonix regia) is an old favourite in Darwin, and some would try to call it a weed, but at this time of the year it can put on a spectacular display. As the flowers fall there is a red carpet beneath it.

The orange poinciana is relatively rare, with a few specimins in Darwin which are equally colourful.

In the picture with the “grounded buoy” you will see the following: to the left of the buoy, a yellow/orange bougainvillea, then moving to the right, a large red poinciana, a pinkish/orange bougainvillea, a purple bougainvillea intertwined with an orange poinciana. If you look at the ground below you will notice that none of the plants are getting very much TLC, and they are still putting on quite a good performance, with very little rain.

No comments: