Aunty Delta’s Bush Tucker Seasons

As a young girl, I learned the European seasons at school, but growing up on Country, I observed seasonal changes through Bundjalung eyes, from our Elders. But these too have been shifting, due to climate change and the destruction of local habitats. The seasons vary up and down the coast and as you travel inland. These are my observations of the bush tucker seasons around Arakwal Country.

Bush Tucker walk
Aunty Delta Photo by Wendy Bithell

Aunty Delta’s Bush Tucker Seasons

  • Wet season
  • Mullet Season
  • Cold Season
  • Coming out Season
  • Windy Season
  • Thunderstorm Season
Macadamia. Photo by Wendy Bithell

Wet Season

When: January, February, late March

Observations: Lots of heavy rain and the wetlands are full.

Bush Tucker: Native mulberry, coastal acronychia, midjem, dianella, macadamia, walking stick palm are all fruiting. The geebung is flowering.

Mullet Season

R-L Finger limes, sandpaper fig, dianella, lillypilly. Photo by Wendy Bithell

When: Late March, April, Early May

Observations: The cold snap flushes the mullet out of the rivers and estuaries, into the ocean, and they run down the coast. Land animals are resting. The ospreys are breeding. There is burning off in the wallum country. Paperbark tree flowering, eucalyptus flowering, banksias are flowering (lorikeets feasting on the yummy flowers and nectar).

Bush Tucker: This a time when our first nations people would gather along the beaches to share in the mullet run. Working together using nets, catching their bounty. Pink lily pilly, native ginger, pig face, Ribery, hairy psychotria, plum pine, finger limes, bolwarra, lemon aspen are all fruiting.

Cold Season

bush tucker-raspberries
Native Raspberries. Photo by Wendy Bithell

When: June to Late July

Observations: Cold and frosty, with cold westerly winds. Days are shorter., Bush turkeys are showing their vibrant colours in the breeding season. Lapwings chicks start to run around.

Bush Tucker: Pigface are fruiting. Native hibiscus (cottonwood), native raspberries and banksias flowering are flowering.

banksia flowering
Banksia Spinulosa. Photo By Wendy Bithell

Coming Out Season

When: Late July to August

Observations: The chill is starting to disappear at night. Koalas (Burabee) and echidna are starting to move around. Snakes and lizards are starting to show themselves. Starting to seeing the possum joeys riding on their mums backs. Birds collecting their nesting materials. The Gannets are fishing. Whales moving both ways, north and south. Platypus are busy breeding. The Corkwood, grevilleas flowering, bottlebrush are all flowering attracting the lorikeets and honeyeaters.

Bush Tucker: The blue lily pilly is fruiting. Banksias are flowering. Sandpaper fig is budding

Windy Season

Davidsons plum Photo by Wendy Bithell

When: September to late October

Observations: Strong winds dominate this season. Days starting to get longer. Whales are going south. Look out for ticks. Birds are sitting on their nests. The tawny frogmouth nesting. Yellow tailed black cockatoos arriving in large numbers. The seas are rough with northerly winds which bring in the blue bottles (use the crinum lily leaf on your blue bottle stings). The snakes are mating. Pied Oyster catchers, beach stone curlews are nesting on the beaches and estuaries

Bush Tucker: Native tamarind, peanut tree, sandpaper fig, Davidson plum are all fruiting. Lamandra,  silky oak and Dianella are flowering (the dianella flowering indicate that the flat heads are ready) Geebung are on the ground ready to eat.

Grass tree
Grass tree (Xanthorrhoea) Photo by Wendy Bithell

Thunderstorm Season

When: November – December

Observations This a time when thunderstorms and hail storms dominate the afternoons. Purple swamphens have their chicks. There are plenty of oysters and pipis. There is an abundance of insects, including cicadas who dominate the soundscape.

Bush Tucker Davidson plum, peanut tree, pig face fruiting, dianella are all fruiting. Sandpaper pig is peaking. Crinum lily, Cunjevoi,  Midjem, Grass tree,  cinnamon and lemon myrtles are all flowering.

To learn more, join me on a Bush Tucker Walk with Vision Walks. They run most Saturday’s 10-12 and alternate between the Heritage Park Arboretum in Mullumbimby.

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