Seasons in Lowland California

This can be an entertaining subject, since there are so many possible ways of dividing up the Californian year.  Here are a number of possible alternatives.  You can pick which you like best, or pick one for each of your favorite natural-history subjects, or ignore the lot, or make up your own, or . . .

1. The traditional, literal astronomical seasons:

Spring—21 March (vernal equinox) to 20 June (summer solstice)

Summer—21 June (summer solstice) to 20 September (autumnal equinox)

Fall—21 September (autumnal equinox) to 20 December (winter solstice)

Winter—21 December (winter solstice) to 20 March (vernal equinox)

2. The simplest system for us might be

Rainy season—October through March

Dry season—April through September

3. A three-way system

Rainy season—November, December, January, February—coldest, wettest; overwintering birds

“Spring”—March, April, May, June—most plants flowering, all birds nesting

“Summer”—July, August, September, October

Note: breaks between “seasons” can be: 1) calendar month 2) middle of calendar month 3) 21st of month (in conformance with astronomical system).  Any of the following systems can use any of these three permutations.

Six seasons:

January-February—rain and cold and freshness?

March-April—wildflowers, summer birds arrive

May-June—heavy duty nesting

July-August—dead period; fog on coast; birds quiet

September-October—warm on coast (indian summer); winter birds arrive

November-December—first regreening

Twelve “moons”:

January—frost moon

February—glowing green moon

March—new flower moon

April—clover moon

May—drying moon

June—baby bird moon

July—fog moon

August—changing moon

September—migrant moon

October—harvest moon/acorn moon

November—winter birds moon; hunter’s moon

December—new grass moon

You could do an all-plant or all-bird or all-insect version of this, e.g.:

January—lotsa duck moon

February—Allen’s hummer moon

March—swallows come back moon

April—grosbeak moon

May—pretty dunlin moon

June—fledgling moon

July—baby quail moon

August—big shorebird moon

September—lost warbler moon

October—accipiter moon

November—pheasant hunting moon

December—CBC moon