The long hot dry season is coming to an end. The wet season is not far off. The signs are all there. Afternoon storms building up on the Atherton Tablelands and Cape York Peninsula. In Cairns and along the east coast, the south-east trade wind has dropped out, replaced by the much less-refreshing north-easter. Days are becoming stickier. The night-time temperatures seem higher. Sleep comes to a sound-track of calling frogs and rumbling air conditioners.
Somewhere around Xmas. the monsoon will arrive. Heavy rain, the prospect of cyclones and flooding. Summer in the far north is a curious mix of bliss, tedium, and anxiety. The first real rain will have us dancing in the streets, some of us not fully clothed at the time. And the renewal of the FNQ environment is an extraordinary thing to behold.
Mind you, after a while, the thrill does wear off. A soggy, stinky, mouldy ennui prevails, the moist adjectives get a flogging and people begin to scan airline websites for cheap flights to arid destinations.
And there’s the worrying prospect of a cyclone developing in the Gulf or the Coral Sea. They can meander out there for ages, sometimes coming to nought. Other times, they make landfall and cause tremendous damage.
It’s hard to imagine that such a potentially dangerous time of year is, for our wildlife, a time of renewal. But that’s exactly what it is. Food sources become plentiful, water abundant, and the critters flourish. Even now, a few weeks out from the wet, our wildlife has sensed it coming, and is getting excited at the prospect.
AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear ABC Far North Wildlife Correspondent Martin Cohen explain how the approach of the wet season affects FNQ and its amazing creatures.