Does summer end when the festivals pack up and the outdoor cinema screens are dismantled for the year? Has the end of summer arrived when you can find a car park on a Sunday morning at the beach? Or is it the end of summer exactly at the end of February, like the calendar says? We don’t think so. In fact, the four season calendar we inherited from the northern hemisphere doesn’t necessarily match our Australian climate.
The traditional Nyoongar culture offers an ancient insight into the yearly seasonal cycle of the South West, where there are actually six seasons across the course of the year. These seasons are Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang.
These six seasons below, reflect the changes observed over the landscape at different times of year. These observations go beyond just the weather conditions to include changes such as the times that different plants come into flower, when reptiles emerge from their hibernation and the changing behaviour of birds.
We’re currently in Bunuru season
This is season of the adolescence which occurs in February to March. It’s regarded as the hottest time of the year. According to the Bureau of Meteorology website, Bunuru follows Birak season and continues with hot easterly winds and cooling sea breezes on most days, but not every day.
This was traditionally a time for living and fishing by the coast, rivers and estuaries. It was a time to enjoy a diet of seafood and freshwater foods as staples.
With the recent electrical storm dazzling the Perth skyline and an extremely hot start to March, we’ve seen evidence of Bunuru – and even with a cooler change for some days there’s likely to be more hot weather ahead.
When the hot weather returns, it’s a good idea to keep your air-conditioner set at 24C and minimise direct sunlight coming into your house as much as possible. This will help to reduce the amount of electricity you’re using and avoid a shock when you get your next electricity bill.
The Birak season is traditionally hot and dry and runs from December to January. This season is also known as the season of the young. Pictured are flowers from the moodjar tree, commonly found during Birak.
The Bunuru season is the hottest part of the year. There is very minimal rain at this time of year (if at all) and it runs from February to March. At this time of year you can find white flowers with lots of flowering gums such as Jarrah, Marri and Ghost Gums. Bunuru is also known as the Season of the young.
The Djeran season is also known as the ant season. It runs from April through to May and usually is the first sign of the weather cooling down for the year. During Djeran you can find red flowers such as the Red Flowering Gum, and the Summer Flame. Banksia's also tend to flower at this time.
The Makuru season runs from June until July. It's the coldest and the wettest time of the year. Flowers that emerge during this time include blue and purple flowering plants. Makuru is known as the Fertility season.
The Djilba season is a mixture of wet days with increasing number of clear, cold nights and warmer days. This season runs from August to September and is a time where you will find yellow and cream flowering plants. This season is also known as the season of conception.
The Kambarang season is the wildflower season, also known as the season of birth. It occurs from October until November and will welcome flora of many colours. At this time of year you can expect longer dry periods of warm weather.
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