Spring Equinox in Melbourne Australia
Nature is full of life right now and here are some of the things you can observe in Melbourne during the springtime.
WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE DURING THIS TIME?
By the reckoning of the six-season calendar, September & October are our 'True Spring' while in the seven-season calendar September is called 'Orchid Season' and October 'Tadpole Season'. Warm, wet & windy, flowers bloom in abundance and it was a time of plenty for the indigenous people.
Days Temperatures vary. The lowest recorded minimum temperature on the day of the Equinox was 0.1 º C. in 1945 and the highest recorded maximum temperature was 26.9º C in 1926. The highest recorded rainfall was 58.7 mm in 1916. There is still snow on the highest peaks.
Nights The Southern Cross is at its lowest; it can be found lying on its side in the south-west with the Two Pointers, Alpha and Beta Centauri, directly above. Scorpius is slowly disappearing in the southwest but Sagittarius through to Taurus, are visible. Capricornus and Aquarius are overhead at this time. Pisces the fish and Cetus the whale, are low in the east. Orion & Sirius return and are visible around midnight. The four stars of Pegasus form a square in the middle of the northern sky while three of the Southern Birds approach their zenith in the South. The Seven Sisters of the Pleiades are to the northeast, with Taurus and Orion. The bright band of stars called the Milky Way, arches across the sky from northeast to southwest.
Indigenous flora and fauna
Flowering September 1st is wattle day and our local forest has several varieties displaying their golden blooms including Australia’s National Emblem: the Golden Wattle. Donkey Orchids are flowering in Ferntree Gully National Park and the Common Bird Orchid and Alpine Greenhood in the Sherbrooke Forest, with more varieties appearing as summer approaches. Significant to Druids is the Southern Tick-Trefoil; a prostrate herb with three rounded leaflets and pink pea flowers. The Wonga Vines are now in flower: Pandorea Pandorana has gorgeous bunches of creamy white tubular flowers with maroon markings. The Mountain Clematis and the Love Creeper also bloom in spring. Other spring flowers include the Rough Bush-pea, Sprawling Blue Bell and Forest Hound's Tongue with the Snowy Daisy Bush, Bootlace Bush in the gullies. The Tall Bluebells will flower throughout spring and summer along with the Ivy-leaf Violet, Variable Willow, Kidney Weed, Bidgree-widgee, Broad-leaf & Prickly Woodruff, Yellow Rice Flower, Forest Buttercup, Forest Bindweed, Dusty Miller and Running Postman. The Kangaroo Apple, White Elderberry, Common Apple-Berry, Purple Apple-Berry and Prickly Current Bush represent those that will fruit later. And the Prickly Tea Tree, Prickly Moses, Austral Mulberry, Hazel Pomaderris, Banyalla & Scented Paper Bark represent the larger plants. The Silver Banksia begins flowering now – look for pale to bright yellow flower spikes with toothed leaves, silver underneath. Also blooming until December are the Flat-Pea (Platylobium formosum), which has large yellow & red flowers and dark green heart shaped leaves. The Blue Bottle Daisy, Forest Starwort, Golden Tip, Forest Mint, Grass Trigger Plant, Creamy Stackhousia, Musk Daisy and Tall Rice Flower will stay in bloom until autumn. The Kangaroo Grass now has new purplish-green growth, which will turn a rusty colour in autumn. Look for its rusty-red flowerheads during this time. October is the prime time for yellow & brown pea flowers, commonly known as 'egg & bacon'. The Alpine Grevillia, East in our Grove, shows the first signs of flowering around Imbolc and steadily brings forth its red flowers from this time.
Vegetable Garden It’s time to plant corn, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, brussel sprouts, and cabbages. Barley planted now will be ready for Lughnasadh and wheat for Autumn Equinox.
Animal Possums can be seen transporting their young, and the koalas mate during this time.Young kangaroos come out of their pouches. Birds Migrant birds such as the Sacred Kingfisher return from the North during this time. The wild ducks come into our area about late August and we must be especially careful for they have no road sense. Occasionally a whole family can be seen filing across the road, which is always a deeply moving sight. The quacking of ducks playing happily in next door’s swimming pool adds to the joy of the season. Also visible are Pied Currawongs, Blackbirds, Magpies, Kookaburras, Crimson Rosellas, immature King Parrots, Bellbirds and protective Plovers. The Black Cockatoos are nibbling the acacia seeds up in the hills. In the Ferntree Gully National Park Powerful Owls are nesting in the Blackwoods. Also seen are Black-Shouldered Kites, Eastern Yellow Robins and Fantailed Cuckoos. Stubble Quail have been sighted along the bike track near Knox City, and Wattlebirds can be seen swooping around the Grove. If you’re lucky you may hear the Crescent Honeyeaters ("Egypt, Egypt") and Rose Robins ("Tizz-tizz").
Reptiles & Insects Insects, snakes and lizards are all active. Skinks wake from their winter torpor and bask in the sun. Tadpoles can be seen in the ponds and the frogs are noisy. Millipedes are inclined to invade the houses.
Southern Hemisphere, Australia, Spring Equinox