Autumn

Autumnal Equniox: Thunder pipes down


March 25th, 2012
by Jo Law

During this pentad when ‘thunder piped down’ came a few days of glorious sunshine and low relative humidity (of below 50%). From a geocentric viewpoint, on March 20th at 5.14 UTC the sun passed through the ecliptic meridian, the astrononmic position of the sun reset to 0º. In the northern hemisphere, it was the vernal equinox and a public holiday in Japan. In the southern hemisphere, autumnal equinox passed by without much fanfare. On March 25th, the length of night exceeded the length of day by 1 minute. From now on until the June solstice, the day will grow shorter.

The chickens responded to the gradual shortening of daylight by moulting. Their discarded feathers litter the thick grass. The growth of the grass will begin to slow with the lessening daylight. The tick population amongst the long grass will also dwindle in the face of drier and cooler weather (or so we hope). One of their main hosts, the long-nose bandicoots, who have been flourishing with the abundant insects as a result of the rain, will decelarate their reproductive cycles (of producing young every 7 weeks) in the cooler months.

Sitting on the front deck in late afternoon, the air was growing chilly. A junvenile King Parrot greeted us on the balustrade. We have missed these frequent visitors, who have left us last spring to breed in the highlands. Now on winter’s approach, they are once again returning to the warmer coast.

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