As you may know from my most recent post, Alice Springs was experiencing a rare ‘wet event’ in the form of rain. We have received two thirds of our average annual rainfall in a week, some areas more. The normally dry Todd River has been flowing for days.
We received about 180mm of rain in 6 days. Some areas north of here have had more, areas near the airport have had less. Our average annual rainfall is about 280mm, or about 11 inches a year. Many years we get considerably less than that. It is not a vast amount of rain unless you are in the desert where plants and animals and houses and drains are not used to it, and it happens to come all at once!!
As the weather has lifted, my iPhone and I have sent out to try and document some of the changes.
The Spencers Burrowing Frogs are everywhere… even as road kill… no photo… yech. But nearly every morning we are assisting one little frog out of the spa. This fellow paused to let me take a photo.
“Eat grasshoppers and mosquitoes, please, little froggie!”
Insects fill the air. Birds will struggle to fly if they consume all that is available. No doubt mice will appear in droves soon, with so much food abundant. One year we trapped over 50 mice, and then stopped counting.
The air is so thick you could cut it with a knife, and no longer smells as sweetly of eucalyptus, but is tinged with the odours of decomposing leaves and drying mud.
The ‘Naked Lady’ native lilies throw a new flower head or two every time it rains or we have a couple of cloudy days. But after a big rain, they are positively prolific, and gorgeous!
One morning, these tiny, fragile little mushrooms appeared in the herb garden. They had perished before day’s end. I know these may not be unusual for you to see, but they are a little out of the ordinary for us, and surely would not have sprouted but for the continuing damp conditions. As I looked around the following day, I saw two more types of mushrooms.
There were a few slack periods of rain when you could almost think the weather was lifting. I happened upon this nest of the ‘furriness’, and at first could not figure out what I was seeing. First glance told me it was a lot of mould growing on an apple. And then I realised it was moving! Dozens and dozens of caterpillars were writhing and squirming to figure out whom to follow, and to where. Such is the perfection of nature, they quickly figured out that only a few feet away was one of their favourite snacks, a wattle bush.
During that slackened wet period, one wonders if Mother Nature didn’t have a quiet word to the ‘Processionary Caterpillars’. “Get out now, while you can!”
And they did!
Off they went. Top to tail.
And lucky me, I got to see it. And photograph it… and lucky you, even shoot a short video! I marvel at my technical skills sometimes! Lol. (…like the two legged dog who walks, it’s not that it is done well, it’s that it happens at all!!)
A little bit of lore, while we are at it… The ‘Processionary Caterpillar’ is also known to the Indigenous Arrernte People here, as the ‘Yeperenye’. Their Dreamtime stories tell of the Yeperenye caterpillar and two others, arriving separately and battling the ‘green stink bug’. When the stink bug started to win the battle, the caterpillars ran, and the mountain ranges known as the MacDonnell Ranges represent their deceased remains.
The land is turning green before our eyes, no longer the Red Centre for a few short weeks, more like the ‘Emerald Oasis’ or as my blog friend called it ‘Glen Alice’. The river is already going to sleep again. Everywhere there are signs where once were swirling waters. Everywhere things are growing. With ample water and now the sunshine, you may hear them from where you are!