Petyan – spring – season of wildflowers
Late July to August
The spring season is depicted by bird eggs, wildflowers and great meetings.
The lifestyle for the Gariwerd communities during petyan:
There were great meetings of Aboriginal bands of up to 1000 people for settling legal conflicts, singing and dancing corroborees, wrestling and boomerang throwing competitions, football games, trade, seeking partners for marriage. Clans were summoned by smoke signals or message sticks.
For the woodland areas of Gariwerd, petyan brings the following:
- Many orchids and lily are in flower, including:
leopard orchids, hare orchids, pink fingers and sun orchids
leaves of common bird orchid appear
leek orchids appear
nodding blue lilies
flying duck orchids
Trees are in flower including silver banksia, yellow box and late black and silver wattles.
Many shrubs/grasses are in flower including parrot peas, mint bush, bauera, tetratheca, rice flowers and christmas mint bush.
Many herbs and grasses in flower, including:
lomandra mat rush has fresh spiky flowering heads
Fringe lilies, tall sundews, grass trigger plants, grass trees and kangaroo grass flowering.
Cherry ballart is fruiting.
- Many mammals are breeding during petyan.
Ring-tailed possums carry young.
Koala young leave pouch at approximately 7 months old.
Koalas mate again.
Lots of mammal activity with holes appearing everywhere as bandicoots dig for grubs and echidnas dig for ants.
- Bush rings with sounds of courting birds, frogs and insects.
Many birds are moulting.
Olive-backed orioles are calling.
Cuckoo shrikes are feeding on caterpillars.
Many birds are breeding and nesting, including:
grey butcher birds
superb fairy wrens
wood swallows nesting after migrating south
Many birds returning south:
fly catchers arrive from the north
trillers move south
rufous fantails and rainbow bee-eaters arrive from the north
Migratory birds return.
Snakes and skinks are active:
skinks and snakes basking in the sun
lizards becoming active among the rocks.
- More butterflies emerge:
wanderer and common brown butterflies are plentiful
caper white and wood white butterflies emerge
Insects active, including:
hover flies visit guinea flowers
cicadas emerge, leaving pupa case on tree trunks
first termites take wing
red ichneumon wasps common
large number of insects visit the bush pea and lily flowers
moths and beetles collect around lights
Caterpillars create leaf damage on eucalypts and sawfly grubs are now large.
For the wetlands areas of Gariwerd, petyan means the following:
- Swamp paperbarks are in flower.
- Platypus lays eggs.
- Snipe return to long grass around swamps.
Swamp hens have running young.
Reed warblers return.
- Reptiles/ Amphibians
loud frog chorus
pobblebonk and growling grass frogs on the move
- Eels migrate downstream.
The Gariwerd Homelands | Bureau of Meteorology Temperature and Rainfall Graphs for this region
Permission to use the
Gariwerd seasonal calendar
is granted by the Elders/Directors of Gariwerd, which includes the Gunditjmara, Winda Mara (Kerrup Jamara), Goolum Goolum, Kirrae Whurrong and Framlingham peoples. A link to the Brambuk website is included, www.brambuk.com.au.