By: Michael FoxIMG_6793

Mt Gravatt Environment Group member Morag always has hundreds of Green Tree Frog Litoria caerulea tadpoles which she shares with local children.

I remember as a child watching the amazing transformation as tadpoles metamorphose into frogs: growing legs and losing their tails before hopping out into the world.

 

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Feeding on lettuce

Freya (7) and Clementine (4) took delivery of these tadpoles just before Christmas. About seventeen in all.teen in all.

Caring for tadpoles means boiling a lot lettuce to feed them.

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19 January and legs forming

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Four weeks and transformation is underway with legs growing.

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Fish tank cleaned and with rainwater from the family tank.

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Legs growing stronger

 

 

Grown up

Time to leave home

Transformation complete, time to leave and find a new home in the gully. To date ten successful graduates, three tadpoles and two frogs in the tank.

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Frog and mower

Unexpected dangers in urban habitat

Of course the journey to the gully habitat has its own urban dangers. Scott has to be careful when mowing. He had to encourage three baby frogs to gully safety last time he mowed.

Now that the semi-permanent spring has been restored to Fox Gully repopulating with our local frog species is an important step.

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Lord Mayor's 2016 Australia Day Awards

Laurie receiving Green Heart Award

By: Michael Fox

Mt Gravatt Environment Group was honoured on Australia Day with presentation of the Lord Mayor’s Green Heart Award – Organisation 2016.

 

 

 

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The award citation:

“Mount Gravatt Environment Group is dedicated to their local environment. Their mantra ‘bringing birds and butterflies back to suburbia’, is achieved by the careful planning and implementation of many projects within the local community including mountain and gully restoration and various flora and fauna projects. The group has been responsible for the rehabilitation of Fox Gully into a vibrant wildlife corridor.

The group works closely with other community organisations to ensure maximum outcome and benefits for Mount Gravatt.”

Laurie Deacon Family and Cr Adams

Cr Krista Adams, myself, Laurie and Sigrid with Green Heart Award

Our President, Laurie Deacon, Sigrid – representing the next generation, and I all attended the award ceremony. An impressive event held in City Hall and hosting an amazing group of individuals members who are giving their time generously to our community.

As with many community groups, the achievements acknowledged with this award are the combined efforts of many individual Mt Gravatt Environment Group members, as well as, some extraordinary community partners who provide support with training, equipment, plants, grant funding, research and boots on the ground. Thank you to:

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Brush-turkey mound - 27 Dec 2015

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A special Christmas with a Brush-turkey Alectura lathami chick hatched from mound built in the Fox Gully wildlife corridor. The male turkey has been scratching together mulch, and some plants to build a mound to impress his two girlfriends. He obviously did a good job as we now have at least one new chick in the gully.

Brush-turkeys are a challenge for gardeners however they are part of our bush habitat.

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Mimosa Creek in flood – Jan 2015

Edited By: Michael Fox

Saturday December 5th was the last working bee of the year at Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve.

2015 started out very wet with January storms flooding the new bikeway bridge over Mimosa Creek.

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Flood damage repair – straightening and staking

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After the flood Lomandras have done there job holding the bank in place. However, the newly planted trees are a different story with most knocked flat by flood water.  Liz, Marshal and I moved in to straighten and stake before this beautiful new planting is lost.

Zone 2 - 22 May 2015

Zone 2 – weed infestation May 2015

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Repairs done our Bushcare team returned to working in Zone 2 to tackle the infestation of Guinea Grass Panicum maximum, Small Leafed Privet Ligustrum sinense, Easter Cassia Senna pendula and Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus.

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Zone 2 - 15 Dec 2015

Zone 2 – weeds gone – natives returning

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Having cleared the larger weed species the area we are working on near the boundary with Upper Mount Gravatt School now resembles a primary forest. In the open spaces, native plants no longer smothered in weeds, are springing back to life. Many Cheese trees Glochidion ferdinandi, free from competition are racing for the sky. Ground covers such as Native Wandering Jew Commelina diffusa and Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus are protecting the soil from erosion and keeping it cool, acting as Living Mulch.

Common Flatwing Austroargiolestes icteromelas - 15 Dec 2015

Common Flatwing Austroargiolestes icteromelas

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As we were packing up and looking forward to morning tea, a delicate Common Flatwing Austroargiolestes icteromelas damselfly with bright metallic green stripes paid a visit, hovering over a small patch of vegetation.

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Koala 13 Nov 2015

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus

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We now have proof at last that it’s not just Mount Gravatt that is home to Koalas Phascolarctos cinereus. The one pictured here, almost invisible from the path was spotted last month by a dog walker. A mother and baby have also been sighted. This is another good reason to keep weeds at bay. Koalas need to come to the ground and move across the forest floor to look for suitable food trees. Their task is made much harder when there’s a lot of thick weedy vegetation in the way.

Tree falls - Southern Star - 18 Nov 2015

Southern Star – 18 Nov 2015

By: Michael Fox

Susan Jones and I met with a specialist Council arborist today at Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare, to discuss action required to improve public safety for mountain neighbours in Gosford Street.

Balancing public safety and wildlife habitat is always complex. Brisbane City Council’s arborist team have checked the health of trees along the property boundary and identified a number of removal. The team’s assessment was then matched against an independent arborist’s report for confirmation.

Long term safety will be managed by replanting with native grasses and low ground covers. Offset planting to replace trees will be undertaken away from the boundary.

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Koala - Gertrude Petty Place - 23 Nov 2015 lowres

Koala – Queensland Blue Gum

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Finding a Koala sleeping in a Queensland Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis in another part of the Buscare site, highlights the importance of replacing canopy when trees are removed for public safety reason.

 

 

Noisy Miner - feeding chicks2 - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Noisy Miner feeding chicks in nest

By: Michael Fox

Some species, like the Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala, are quite happy to share our urban environment. These Miners like to make their nest in the protective wire basket on the lights. Very clever … protection from bigger birds and warmth at night for the eggs.

Now they just need food for the chicks. Nectar feeders, Noisy Miners are honeyeaters, still need protein from insects for their growing chicks.

So it was interesting to have Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, join us for Roly Chapman Reserve Bushcase last Friday.

Monarch Danaus plexippus - caterpillar - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Monarch butterfly caterpillar feeding on Red-headed Cotton Bush

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We found a number of fascinating and photogenic insects in the Reserve.

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Sometimes environmental weeds are the place to look for some of our most attractive insects. The milkweed species, Red-headed Cotton Bush Asclepias curassavica is a favourite of the Monarch or Wanderer butterfly Danaus plexippus.

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Small Green-banded Blue - Psychonotis caelius - caterpillar2 - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Small Green-banded Blue caterpillar on Red Ash

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One way to find micro-locals is to look for chewed leaves. An expert like Helen Schwencke can even tell what insect she is looking for just from the pattern of chewing on a leaf.

Caterpillars of the Small Green-banded Blue Psychonotis caelius feed on leaves of the Red Ash/Soapy Ash Alphitonia excelsa. The caterpillar’s lime green colour blends perfectly with the underside of the leaves.

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Native Hibiscus Hibiscus heterophyllus

The name Soapy Ash comes from the effects of saponins on the leaves which create a foaming soapy action. A useful bush soap.

The attractive Native Hibiscus Hibiscus heterophyllus growing in the Pollinator Link display gardens are fast growing and good plants for attracting food for insect eating birds.

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Small Brown-black Leaf Beetle - Nisotra bicolorata - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Small Brown-black Leaf Beetle on Native Hibiscus

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We found a number of Small Brown-black Leaf Beetle Nisotra bicolorata feeding on Native Hibiscus.

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Ladybird Coelophora inaequalis - wings - 16 Oct 2015

Ladybird Coelophora inaequalis

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Seeing a Ladybird Coelophora inaequalis spreading its wings is something special. The pattern of dots is a key to identification of Ladybird species.

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Milkweed Aphid - Aphis nerii - 16 Oct 2015 crop

Infestation of Milkweed Aphid Aphis nerii

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Ladybirds are particularly valuable for control of infestations of Aphids.

Aphid infestations can cause massive damage as they suck juice from plants. Ladybirds are particularly valuable for garden pest control as both adult and larvae Ladybirds are predators.

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Sawfly - 16 Oct 2015

Sawfly – species not identified

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We found this beautiful Sawfly adult feeding on Sandpaper Fig Ficus opposita. We have not identified the particular species of Sawfly. I have sent the photo to the Queensland Museum Ask a question team for identification.

Sawfly larvae are curious looking caterpillars that feed on native plants.

The Sandpaper Fig is often called the Supermarket Tree. It attracts birds, can be used for shade, food, medicine, tools, fire and string to make nets and traps.

Calendar coverBring mountain magic into your home or office or share the with family and friends.

Alan Moore, Photography Workshop leader has produced a special 2016 calendar as a fundraising initiative for Mt Gravatt Environment Group.

This year’s Photography Workshop was called Nature Close-up, so Alan has selected participants pictures show the mountain habitat up through a macro lens.

Order your 2016 Magic of the Mountain calendar and put a bit of Nature Close-up on your wall at home or share with family and friends around Australia or overseas.

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“Stunning, well done!”

Robert Ashdown – Nature Photography

Peek inside your calendar

Price: $15 plus $3.00 post & packing.

Purchase calendars at:

All funds raised will contribute to Mt Gravatt Environment Group research and community education activities.

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