Tenterfield's changing seasons and weather

Tenterfield is experiencing a harsh drought with an overall very little rainfall throughout the year. As each passing year comes about brings even less rain and more chances of a flood that was bigger than the previous one. Since 2001 Tenterfield went from a lush green place to a dry semi arid area. From 2001 onwards many bird species disappear. These bird species did not become extinct, they simply migrated elsewhere.

However, about 2008-09 the seasons began to change again. Winter is usually cold but about 2009 or 2010 Winter actually became a warm to hot season just like summer and the winter of 2012 was cold again.  What was different about the winter of 2012 in Tenterfield was the fact we had frosts just about every single night. Frosts only used to occur in Autumn and Spring in Tenterfield, never in Winter.

The sad part is the lack of rain. Tenterfield used to get about 200mm or more of rain each year. Summer and Winter always used to be wet, and the place was always green. And if we were lucky it would snow about once a year somewhere in or near Tenterfield.

Summer time is now a dangerous time of the year with the potential outbreak of bushfires. In 2001 a major bushfire came just 11kms from burning Tenterfield to the ground had it not been for the sudden downpour of rain that put the fire out, Tenterfield may not be here.  I cannot forget the brave efforts of the Rural Fire Brigade, from the local areas to the team from Victoria who unsuccessfully tried putting the bushfire out.

Tenterfield Creek in winter.
Photo taken 20th August 2012.
With that said Tenterfield is getting drier by the month. For 3-4 years now Tenterfield has had dead grass everywhere during the latter half of each year. Very little grass is green. Only the grass that seems to be frost tolerant goes green in winter - all the other grass is dry, crunchy and patches of dirt are starting to show through.

As the winters become warmer, the birds that breed in spring start breeding earlier, in late winter. With all the birds that have remained in Tenterfield, they appear to struggle with finding natural food sources. Tenterfield's birdlife revolves around the cycles of rainfall. Birds are turning toward humans for a supplemently food source, simply because they cannot find enough natural food on their own.

Only time will tell as to how many birds remain in Tenterfield. Some species of birds have returned to Tenterfield while others have left since 2010. A lot of the Masked Lapwings have not been seen in Tenterfield in the last few years, and the Australian Magpie numbers are starting to thin out too. If the drought continues the way it is going, and the way the birds are moving out of town, in 20-30 years I doubt there will be any birds left in Tenterfield at all. Gloomy but all true!


18 September 2012 - Hail Storms happen like this every 3-4 years, almost on the exact day.

The Drought status
The 11th October 2012 onwards has seen the rain return. The drought might be finally breaking, as rain has been falling quite regularly and the clouds are beginning to stay for up to 3 days before moving on. It is a promising sign anyway.
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