Down south, a year has four seasons. Melbourne can have that many in a single day. Here in far north Queensland, indeed, right across tropical Australia, we tend to count just two seasons – the wet and the dry.
In the wet, the monsoon brings huge amounts of rain and the possibility of cyclones – and it’s all that water that makes this place such an attractive home to our wildlife. During the dry, the days are hot, nights are warm and the place is chockers with tourists.
Of course, it can rain during the dry, but the rain comes from a different direction and in usually much smaller amounts. But within those two broad “seasons”, there are subtle changes, periods when change is on its way, when signs of what’s next become more apparent. Indigenous people in tropical Australia identify several distinct seasons – in the lush wetlands of Kakadu, in the Northern Territory, the local mob recognise six distinct seasons.
Our wildlife correspondemt Dr Martin Cohen is in Kakadu this week, working with a Japanese film crew who are documenting the region’s most famous wetland – Yellow Waters – and some of its wildlife, including Norm the comb-crested jacana, who Martin reckons should get the dad of the year award. LISTEN to Martin explain the critters and the seasons of Kakadu