It takes time to get used to the fact that Belize doesn't have the same concept of the four seasons we are used to in the United States.  In North Carolina, where I grew up and spent most of my life, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter are distinct seasons and provide an easy way to refer to times of year.  "Last winter we went to Florida," or "Sure has been an early spring," or "The leaves are especially pretty this fall."  

Here in Belize, the year is not structured exactly the same.  Instead of the four seasons I'm used to, there are only two:  dry season and rainy season.  The latter is the longest, stretching from June through December in most cases, though this year it seemed to last through January and start up again in May, leaving but a short three-month dry season.  Even during rainy season, it certainly doesn't rain all the time.  It rains more at night than during the day, but storms are more frequent and can be heavy, even if short-lived.  Occasionally it stays gray and rains off and on all day long, but that is rare.  And it rains on occasion even during dry season, but much less frequently.

This year -- this "summer" -- just when we thought rainy season was here to stay, Mother Nature's waterworks turned off.  Although I don't have official rainfall statistics to quote, on Ambergris Caye July was dryer than June, August seemed dryer still (with the exception of our brief brush with Hurricane Ernesto in the early part of the month), and September was downright desert-like.  Even the locals were complaining about the heat and dry weather, and passing motor vehicles kicked dusty dirt in our eyes when they passed us on the unpaved roads.  It was 83 or 84F every morning by the time I got up (6:30 to 7 am). Almost every day without fail, the skies were brilliant blue, the sun was shining brightly, and it was a perfect time for visitors to enjoy a tropical island vacation.  But for residents, the lack of clouds and cooling rain can get a bit stifling over time.

And then it changed.

Over the past few days, we've started getting some brief daytime showers and brilliant lightning and thunder shows at night.  And clouds, yes cooling clouds!  Although the high temperature most days is still hitting the 88 through 90F range in the mid-morning to early afternoon timeframe, we've been having great breezes in the later afternoons and evenings; and at times, there is the slightest "edge" to the breeze that almost feels...dare I say, cool.

The birds are in high gear as fall migration time has arrived as well.  Almost overnight we started noticing wood warblers in the heavy tropical foliage out our windows, along with the plaintive call of the Great Kiskadee that had been silent all summer long.  Even year-round residents like orioles seem more active and plentiful.  The Roseate Spoonbills are back at Grand Belizean Estates, along with the flock of Blacked-Necked Stilts wading in the mangrove pools, and many more birds flying overhead.  But again, I used the the US seasons "fall" and "summer" to describe these differences -- because they are important and distinct times for birders -- even though both are part of the rainy season in Belize.

I suppose no matter where one lives, there are certain constructs that will never die, and for me, one of those is the concept of the four seasons.  It's different here in Belize in spring, summer, fall, and winter, no matter how those "seasons" are described.  So now, I'm going to say it, even though the leaves won't be changing:  Fall is here!
Black-Necked Stilts
Roseate Spoonbill
Gavin Wishart
9/28/2012 05:34:28 am

Hi Emily,

I can't say enough about how useful it has been to read your blog on Belize these past few months. My wife and I are planning a 2 week trip to Belize this coming month and the information you share online is exteremly useful, all the way from the type of food to expect, the weather, how to get about and even how to dress for various occasions. Of course nothing beats the real thing and that is the next step for us. If we bump into you or Barry while we are there, expect to receive a beer or rum punch at the very least for your generosity.

Keep up the great work.

BeBelize Emily
9/28/2012 06:57:30 am

Thanks Gavin! It's great to know that the blog has been useful to you and your wife. I hope you have a great trip to Belize. Last year October was the wettest month of the year, with the least breeze and the most bugs, though, so bring your bug spray -- and we'll hope last year it was an anomaly! :)

11/12/2012 05:55:52 am

Love your Blog and one day I definately need to get myself down to Belize.
Cindy Parker


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