Bushcare Articles


Click to view presentation

By: Michael Fox

The Pollinator Link concept was well received at the BCC Habitat Brisbane Citywide Meeting this week. This was an important test of feasibility as the audience included experienced BCC Habitat Offices with university qualifications in environmental science, Robert “Bob the Beeman” Luttrel and bushcare members who know the

on-ground reality of restoring our urban bushland habitats.

Backyards, parks and even unit block balconies represent habitat opportunities for our native flora and fauna. Examples include Garden for Wildlife Alice Springs, The Wildlife Trusts in UK and the National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife in USA.

The Pollinator Link concept takes this a step further to focus on linking patches of bushland habitat in our urban environment.

Pollinator Link – Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve to Bulimba Creek

I developed the concept when I was struggling with the issue of creating a wildlife corridor linking Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve with Bulimba Creek via Mt Gravatt Showgrounds. The on ground reality is that any effective link through the Showgrounds would hit a wall of houses and backyards. Being able to fly, our pollinators’ – birds, butterflies and bees plus moths, insects, flying foxes, micr0-bats, capacity to cross man-made barriers like roads and fences means they have potential to make an important contribution to ecological biodiversity. My inspiration for the Pollinator Link model came from the Pollinator Pathway in Seattle and the High Line in New York.

Patch-matrix-corridor mosaic – Wellers Hill

As I researched the concept and looked for examples of potential Pollinator Link locations I realised that in some areas like Wellers Hill where there are a number of isolated patches of bushland we could go beyond linking and actually consolidate habitat within urban spaces with a little a 10% of properties engaged. Pollinator Links have potential to create urban pollinator “patch-matrix-corridor mosaic”* habitat by interconnecting patches of bushland with wildlife friendly backyards. (* Habitat Fragmentation and Landscape Change Lindenmayer & Fischer (2006))

The Pollinator Link concept passed the feasibility test now we move to implementation stage:

How would you like to be involved?

  • Identify sites to be linked.
  • Join the 2013 Pollinator Link Week
Advertisements

By: Michael Fox

Our community speaks out against destructive mountain biking on Mt Gravatt:

Southern Star – 1 August 2012

Local Councilor Krista Adams has reconfirmed the Council’s long standing commitment to keeping Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve free of mountain bike riding.

Letter of support – Whites Hill-Pine Mountain Community Group Inc.

BCC Local Area Services are providing strong on ground action – closing illegal tracks, mulching damaged areas and increasing their presence in the Reserve to catch riders still ignoring our community’s laws. Riders, who apparently could not see multiple signs saying “No Motor Bikes No Mountain Bikes”, have now been told very clearly that off road riding is illegal and subject to $500 fines.

We have also received emails and letters of support by community members and groups heartened by our action and the support we have received from Council.

We are proud of our community

Track exit beside No Mountain Bikes sign

and appreciate the recognition of our work however we know from past experience that illegal mountain bikers will be back fast if we, as a community, don’t stay alert.

As recently as Wednesday last week, National Tree Day, I found fresh bike tracks on in the area just down hill of the water reservoir. I was walking those tracks to document the erosion and tree root damage caused by mountain bikes.

New mountain bike bridge

These were not just tracks cleared through the bush, I even found a what looked like a fairly new timber bridge.

Mountain bike activity in that area has caused erosion up to half a metre deep in places and extensive root damage to mature Koala food trees.

What action can you take?

Illegal mountain biking can be reported to the BCC Call Centre 24/7 on 07 3403 8888

Please be careful about approaching riders by yourself. These riders are already acting illegally and we have had a number of reports recently of community members being subjected to aggressive and violent verbal abuse.

Track erosion

v

g

g

g

g

Roots damaged and under mined by erosion

g

By Michael Fox

I am always learning something new about our extraordinary local environment. Until recently I had never heard of Finger Lime Citrus australasica or any of the other native citrus.

Finger Lime surprise capsules

I discovered these fascinating plants when researching species for use in building Pollinator Links through our suburbs. Finger Limes are native to rainforests in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales, where they typically grow as an understory plant.

White Chocolate Finger Lime Cheesecake

Finger Limes have come out of the rainforest and into commercial orchards growing in the full sun. Chris Bourke of Tamborine Native Citrus can supply Finger Limes grafted onto commercial citrus root stock which will promote rapid growth and produce smaller trees suited to backyards. Finger Limes can also be successfully grown in pots so even unit dwellers can join in the fun. What colour will you grow?

Orchard Swallowtail laying her eggs
Photographer – Jude Fox

The lime juice comes in tiny surprise packs that stay intact when cooked in a cheesecake, ready to explode in your mouth as you eat. If you would like to make your own bush tucker cheesecake you can find the recipe at Marvick Native Farms. Substitute Finger Lime for Desert Lime and of course use Queensland Nut Macadamia integrifolia instead of Hazelnuts. Don’t whiz all the limes. Fold some juice capsules into the mix before pouring into the cake tin.

Better still you can grow your own Finger Limes and bring beautiful Orchard Swallowtail butterflies to your backyard. Be patient with the butterfly caterpillars, they will do very little damage to your lime tree. Eating the citrus leaves allows the caterpillars store toxins that transfer through to the butterflies making them taste unpleasant to bird predators.


Sunday morning 4th December and John McCrystal and a friend were riding Shire Road to the summit of Mt Gravatt. John, a member of Team Fatboyz, was practicing for the Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer – August 18-19, 2012, he certainly didn’t expect to encounter two Koalas running down the road towards him!

Koalas travel 5 to 10km to find new home territory.

“They came running down the mountain and then starting running toward us on the road. They then froze in front of us started snorting, I think they were scared. We had to shoo them off the road. They then climbed the first tree they found.” John

John grew up on the side of Mt Gravatt and he had never heard of Koalas on the Mountain. I have heard from others that there have “never been” Koalas on Mt Gravatt and any animals found must have been relocated there after recovery from injury. This has always seemed to be an unlikely explanation because injured animals, including Koalas, are returned to locations as close as possible to where they were found.

Koalas on Mt Gravatt – What is the answer?

Southside Community News – Jan 2012

.

Professor Carla Catterall, Griffith School of Environment, advises that from the 1970s to the 1990s koalas were not seen in Toohey Forest, in spite of many naturalists  walking in the forest and doing ecological surveys there.  This has been a puzzle given that Koala food trees are present in reasonable numbers.  Professor Catterall suggests that Koalas may have previously been in the forest then extirpated (local extinction) in the early 20th century.

Koala fur industry

.

Hunting for Koala pelts was a major industry after European settlement. Who would want to wear Koala fur? The Koalas I have handled didn’t exactly feel luxurious and soft. Glenn Fowler’s 1993 report, “BLACK AUGUST” Queensland’s Open Season On Koalas in 1927 available at Australian Koala Foundation site, provides and insight into this unlikely trade.

‘Although (fortunately for the koala) not highly valued, the koala’s thick soft fur soon acquired the reputation as being a particularly effective insulator against the cold – ideal for protecting the human body from “the icy blasts of winter in Northern Canada and Europe”. Koala fur was renowned for its ability to withstand any amount of hard usage.’ Fowler, 1993.

For me, the really sobering thing was realising that as recently as 1927 the Queensland Government approved a six month open season on Koalas. More than 500,000 Koala pelts were delivered to market – a huge impact given the number of pelts that would have been unusable and the joeys left to starve.

Koalas returning to Mt Gravatt

Koala sightings Mimosa Creek Precinct

.

Nature is now giving us a second chance with Koalas now breeding successfully in the Reserve and increasing sightings particularly around our Fox Gully Bushcare site: Mimosa Creek Precinct.

Griffith University researchers believe that there is more functional linkage between Toohey Forest and other forest areas in the western past of Brisbane than might easily be assumed: in spite of the hazards of roads. We have one sighting of a Koala successfully crossing the Motorway onramp however the recent death of a Koala hit by a car on Klump Road highlights the need for safe wildlife corridors connecting Mt Gravatt Reserve with Mimosa Creek, Roly Chapman Reserve and Toohey Forest.

Cathyrn Dexter, Griffith University, is leading a project with Main Roads Department which aims to create permeable landscapes that will allow animals to move around without having to interact with roadways: safer for wildlife and drivers.

We will draw on Cathyrn’s research as we restore the Fox Gully wildlife corridor to improve the chance for Koalas to move safely across Klumpp Road. In the short term we are working with Cr Krista Adams to have Koala crossing signs erected on Klumpp Road. While the active police presence is likely to have much greater impact on speeding, Koala crossing signs will be a valuable community education tools building awareness that nature is returning a special animal to our urban bushland environment.

n

Living on the edge of Mt Gravatt Reserve we often have butterflies visiting our yard. Today I videoed this Cabbage White Pieris rapae feeding on the Thyme flowers in our rose garden.

Michael Braby in Butterflies of Australia describes this erratic flight and feeding behaviour. This butterfly is using his proboscis or haustellum, a hollow straw-like tongue, to feed on nectar. The proposcis in normally kept rolled and extended for feeding.

Southside Community News - December 2011

a

Our Pollinator Link initiative, described in my Southside News article, aims to bring more butterflies to suburban backyards.

If you have citrus trees you may find the leaves being eaten by the caterpillars of Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus butterflies.

kjkjadhfkjh adfjlkadf  lkfdsdk jaldkfj  lkajsdf  lkdf lakd flk df lk lkj df lkaj df alkdjf lakdsf

lasdkf adlkflakdsjf  lkajdf

laskdjf ladf

lasdkflkjlkjafds  adsfkl

In Mt Gravatt Reserve the caterpillars of these spectacular butterflies feed on Crow’s Ash Flindersia australis. 

However if you can be put up with a few chewed leaves on your fruit trees these “bird-dropping” caterpillars

ver if you can be put up with a few chewed leaves on your fruit trees these “bird-dropping”

ver if you can be put up with a few chewed leaves on your b

b

will grow into this larger caterpillar

ver if you can be put up with a few chewed leaves on your fruit trees these “bird-dropping”v

b

b

b

b

which builds this delicate chrysalis suspended from a branch

lkajdflaksjdf la;lskd ;alkdj fa ;laksdj flakjsdf ;lakdj falksdjf

lkaldjf aldskfj adlfkj jl;akds falksdfj asdjf l;akj ;ldkfj aa;sldkf

;alksdjf ;alskdjf a;sldkfja sd;flkasjd f;alksjf asld;kfj  asdlkfj

sdfg

sfg

emerging as this spectacular Orchard Swallowtail butterfly we found in the garden this week.