Winter Solstice in Melbourne Australia

Synopsis:

Here's how we experience winter here in Melbourne (Victoria) Australia

WINTER SOLSTICE IN MELBOURNE

According to the 6-Season Calendar proposed by Alan Reid and modified by Glen Jameson, it is 'Deep Winter' in the Middle Yarra region of Victoria, Australia.

The Skies

Days Averaging 15 degrees Celsius, the air is crisp and the days are short. The sun rises at about 7:30 a.m. and sets at around 5 p.m. It is misty in the mornings, clearing to greyish days. We seldom complain about the rain for without it, there we will be water restrictions in summer. The highest recorded rainfall was in 1987 when we had 24.4 mm

Nights Averaging 7 degrees Celsius, the lowest recorded temperature was 0.3 C in 1928. The Southern Cross is very high in the night sky and so is the Midwinter Full Moon. Rising in the southeast it takes a high arch, appearing directly overhead at midnight. It is a wild, white moon in contrast to the yellowish mid-summer moon that rises in the northeast and stays close to the horizon. Sirius & Orion slip below the horizon during winter but the constellations from Virgo to Aquarius are visible in the Northern Sky. Tucked into Sagittarius is Corona Australis, 'the Southern Crown', a semicirclet of stars. The Northern Sky is also graced by two birds: the Eagle (Aquila) and the Swan (Cygnus), which is below it, and slightly eastward. Across the other side of the sky are the four 'Southern Birds': the Phoenix to the East and above it the Toucan and the Crane (Grus) and then the Peacock (Pavo), closer to the South.

Indigenous flora and fauna

Flowering First to make a showing is the Common Apple Berry (Billardiera scandens) – a climber with dark green leaves, greenish-yellow tubular flowers & light green berries, flowering from June to January. Then the Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon), which begins flowering in July, continuing until October. The Scrub Nettle (or Stinging Nettle) flowers from winter to summer, which contrasts with the non-stinging variety that flowers around the Summer Solstice. The Stinging Nettle prefers moist, shady gullies where it acts as a food plant for the larvae of the Australian Admiral Butterfly. In the Grove the Heath begins flowering towards the end of May and stays in flower throughout winter along with the Correas. The White Westringa (not strictly indigenous) begins flowering in June and the Happy Wanderers in July. Several varieties of Grevillea also begin to flower. The Mistletoe that we use in our Winter Solstice Ceremony is plucked from a wattle tree, which is just beginning to bud. The seedpods (sori) on the kangaroo ferns are prominent - black to brown down the leaves like an aboriginal painting. The shield ferns are beginning to grow their bulbils. The lichen on the trunks of the silver wattles sometimes cover half of the trunk.

Vegetable Garden: Garlic planted at the Winter Solstice will be ready for harvest it at the Summer Solstice

Animals

According to the seven-season calendar proposed by D. Jones & S. Mackay, April to August is Wombat Season. The winter sun brings the wombats out of their burrows, so that they can be seen feeding in broad daylight. Such behaviour contrasts with the summer months when they stay lodged in their burrows by day and only come out at night. Their breeding season peaks between April and June, following which the cubs are nursed in the pouch. Echidnas search for their mates during June, and breed later.In Bass Strait, seals & dolphins enter the inlets.

Birds: The Superb Lyrebird survey is done during June with bird lovers getting up early to check who's who in the forest. This is the time when the males court the females and make their territorial displays. Currawongs, Magpies, Kookaburras, Galahs, Yellow tailed Black Cockatoos and Red Wattlebirds are conspicuous during these months. Gang-gang cockatoos and Australian King Parrots can be seen in the suburbs during autumn and winter. Lorikeets search for flowering Eucalypts. Lapwings are laying their eggs in the grasslands. Herons, Egrets, Spoonbills & Ibis flock to flooded paddocks and by mid June Swans and Coots may be seen on lakeshores.

Insects Woolly bear caterpillars appear on the grass.


Tags:
winter solstice, southern hemisphere