Australia

A contribution from Wendy

We live in the mountains of New South Wales, Australia, out of town, with National Parks nearby at an altitude of a little less than 4000 feet. I've "tested" many of the beliefs and found most to be true and applicable to our neck of the woods.

Here are some which can generally be counted on....

I've observed that when the choughs come to visit and give their haunting, keening calls, then mist, cool weather and sometimes rain will come from the east and hang around for three days. The choughs often visit, but they have a wide vocal range and save the keening calls to herald in the easterly. We all loooooooove the easterly !!

The black cockatoos are said to fly and call when rain is on the way. Not always reliable.

Likewise the swifts - when the swifts soar and swirl in groups, cooler weather and sometimes rain often follows.

And there are the ants. They come into the house in droves prior to rain. When they leave, the rain is imminent. The longer the ants are in the house, the longer the rain will last and/or the heavier it will be.

If it rains on the new moon, it will either rain again a week later, or rain for a full week, or the month will be generally wet.

When the rowan, the holly and/or the pittosporum produce many berries, the following winter will be harsh. This is nature's way of providing for the birds.

I've also found some of the British folklore, regarding weather on certain days of the year being a predictor of the length of seasons, to be completely applicable to our area when the particular day is brought forward six months. I've been watching this for years.
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Nature's Weather Watch

In 1998 Glenda John wrote and illustrated a book Nature's Weather Watch which is a guide to forecasting the weather by observing animals and plant life. Glenda lives in Australia and therefore many of her observations relate to animals, birds, insects, plants and fish of that continent. It also includes the usual observation of the wind, clouds, moon and stars.

It was printed by Queensland Complete Printing Services, Nambour, Queensland, Code 4560, Australia who should be able to provide a copy. Its ISBN is 0 646 35167 2


Australian Reader's Digest

The September 2003 edition of the Australian Reader's Digest contains an article titled "And Here's the Wattle Forecast".

It states official weather records in Australia date back less than 200 years. Aboriginal knowledge of weather and effects on the living world, goes back tens of thousands of years.

Here are two samples.
1.   In Northern Australia the biggest storms usually occur when the tide is high in the middle of the day.
2.   In central Australia, expect rain when the bearded dragon lizard sits erect and looks at the sky.

It also stated that an Australian Indigenous Weather Knowledge multi-institution project focused on the weather and climate knowledge of the indigenous people of Australia and the Torres Strait Islands, has commenced.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology provides a web site dedicated to Climate, Weather and Aboriginal Culture, in support of this project.

From an Aussie on the Hunter Coast, NSW, Australia

How true it is that nature knows far more than we do, and by observing her we can learn much.

I have noticed that when cows lie down (not counting calves) it will always rain within 3 days, if horses lie down there will be much rain on the way, also if horses run wild there will be wild weather on the way.

If ants build high there is a lot of rain on the way.

If the Currawongs call back and forth to each other, there is a south change on the way.

Black cockatoos calling means that rain is on the way, this is said that is because the wood in the trees they poke into for grubs becomes softer before rain.

Planes leaving contrails behind them means a cold change on the way, within 3 days, and being from the south that will also bring rain.

Since 1997 Charlie Northcroft has provided weather information for farmers in several areas of Australia. He is a person who uses modern technology to forecast weather but has a keen interest in Folklore Weather forecasting.
See his work at these sites.
Central and Southern Tablelands, NSW, Australia
Western Districts Weather, NSW Australia
International Weather and Crop Information
Here is an excellent site titled Australian Bush Forecasting Aids which has been running since about 1999. It lists many signs that rain may be coming shortly to your area. The site also provides some recent validation of bush forecasting aids during 2005 to 2007. If you are interested in forecasting the weather in Australia look through the other pages while you are at the site.