The Winter Solstice is upon us.

While our cousins to the north gird themselves for Midsummer and their traditional  excuse  for Bacchanalia,  we in the Antipodes must make do in reverse. In the Southern Hemisphere  the Northern solstice approaches, the time at which the Sun is at its northernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs around  June  22 each year.

Where I am -- on June 20th here in the sub tropics -- the sun will rise at 6:35am and set at 5:02pm. (It will rise at 7:35am, an hour later, in Melbourne).  During the days that follow, 6.37 am will be the latest the sun will rise to my north east before jumping out of its night bed, bright eyed and bushy tailed,  earlier bit by bit. So by December 22nd, it will be up real early at 4:50am and breasting the horizon a long way to the south east.

Such are my days....

Since I spend so much time outside and I'm located in a sort of solar hub here on the seashore I appreciate the fact that my house faces north and any day I know that to my left and right reside west and east -- always. So any wind -- registered by my trusty albeit now tatty wind socks -- are self evidently coming from hither or yon.

For the first time in my life I can talk about prevailing winds and weather with the confidence that I have had coal face experience of the conditions under which I live.

Glass House Mtns viewed from Bribie Island
WillyWeather helps too. A garden rain gage is another handy tool.  In a while I'm sure I'll be able to tell you with reasonable confidence how strong the wind in blowing -- in knots.

But having ready access to the  openness of the sea where I can see for 50 km all about -- so flat leading off into the horizon --  ensures I have a vista tool second to none.

Cape Moreton 40 km away --which I can see on any visit to the local bayside -- is one of the wettest places in South East Queensland and  its tackling hook shape seems engineered to grab moisture from the Coral Sea/Pacific Ocean and shepherd it across the coast so that so much of it falls on the Glass House Mountains.

We seem in a swirl of weather whose pattern is different from the big city capital to our south.

So while weather and the length of the days spent out in it registers  with me , it is the tides that draw me into the wondrous syncronicity of it all. If I don't know what's happening with the tide -- whether its coming in or going out -- my daily routine can be mucked up big time. The tides rule the beach and 'the beach' is  a variable that depends on how much water has come ashore and how much of the sand is exposed for foot traffic.

And then when King Tide come ashore.... It is a sort of festival of possibilities as the inundation breeds so much promise for fisher folk and other critters alike.

In similar mode, the bird life here -- always abundant and various -- shifts with the seasons. While we get shore birds flying in from Siberia to troll our mud flats, local bird species seem to come visit and go away in sync with ecological markers -- fruiting and flowering of native flora especially.

So my backyard is an aviary. Any day we may be visited by up to  a dozen  different species --and that's because we offer water. Of course add seeds  to the menu -- which we don't do --  then the parrots would invade in plague numbers. (Best to wait and  let them visit when the malaleucas and grevillias bloom) But go to the shore line or investigate the swamps....and the species mix changes sharply. And each wetland habitat seems to have its own customized mix.

So when out and about you go looking for what you know could be there: Sea Eagles near the river mouth, Black Swans on the north lake, Pelicans on the sand bar ...and maybe (always you gotta look for the off chance) Jabirus on the southern wetlands...and my favorite: Black Cockatoos in the Coastal Banksias.

When wading the waters: flying like birds submerged -- Estuary Stingrays and BanjoRays.




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