Bushcare


By: Michael Fox

Fox Gully Bushcare

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More than 50mm of rain this week has created an opportunity to move to Zone 6 and remove Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata before the flowers set seeds. Ochna has a deep tap root which is very hard to remove unless the ground is soft.

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Rani with TreePopper and Chinese Elm

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I introduced our newest volunteer Rani Lustosa, of Two Dogs Landscaping, to the TreePopper, an ideal tool for attacking woody weeds like Ochna. The TreePopper design means that the weeds are pulled from the ground vertically minimising the risk of breaking off. At the same time there is minimal disturbance of the soil, the wildlife and fungi living in the soil.

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Regina tackling Fishbone Fern

While Rani was having fun with the TreePopper, Regina, Liz and I were clearing Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus and Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia.

By: Michael Fox

Yesterday Laurie Deacon, my Co-president and I were honoured to welcome our state Environment Minster Hon. Leeanne Enoch to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Minister Enoch was accompanied by our local MPs Corinne McMillan and Joe Kelly. We were also joined by Wayne Cameron, Bulimba Creek Catchment Co-ordinating Committee (B4C), Rob Janson and Greg Neill representing N4C and Coorparoo Finger Gullies Bushcare, and Greg Wellard, Mackenzie Bushcare.

Butterfly Hill-topping Site
Koala inspecting visitors

First stop on our tour is the butterfly speed dating site: look for the butterfly sign near the Summit Track entry. Some butterfly species practice “hilltopping behaviour” where males gather on in locations like the amphitheatre like space with the protection of trees along the edge for safety, all with the objective of attracting a female.

Our visitors were particularly interested in the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus population in the Reserve. One of our Koala Drinker team, Jake Slinger, spotted a Koala watching from the trees right where we were standing.

(l-r) Greg Wellard, Rob Janson, Greg Neill, Leeanne Enoch, Wayne Cameron, Corinne McMillan, Joe Kelly, Greg Neill, Laurie Deacon, Michael Fox

Our visitors were very impressed with restoration at the 2017 National Tree Day planting site.

I particularly complemented our political representatives on the impact of the Containers for Change initiative which has caused a very positive problem. When I look back at past CleanUp’s for comparison:

The reduction in rubbish meant our 2020 CleanUp not only had our largest team of volunteers but also our largest Weeding Team. A very positive problem!

By: Michael Fox

Making a new home for the family.

Sitting in the sun having breakfast I look up to see two Laughing Kookaburras preparing a new home in a termite nest high in a tree. We currently have twenty one nest boxes within Fox Gully Bushcare already providing breeding habitat for Squirrel Gliders Petaurus norfolcensis, Rainbow Lorrikets Trichoglossus haematodus, Pale-headed Rosellas Platycercus eximius and Brushtail Possums Trichosurus vulpecula.

Kookaburra chicks in Boobook Owl box

The artificial nest boxes are intended to support wildlife while natural nest hollows develop in the forest. Our Kookaburras have been using an owl nest box for breeding, so it is exciting to see the termite nest is now large enough for our Kookas to create make their own home.

Male Variegated Fairy Wren

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Look for a family of Variegated Fairy Wrens Malurus lamberti playing in the scrubby habitat alongside Acacia Way. Small forest birds like the safety of tangled habitat like this where they can nest and escape from Kookaburras and other large predator birds like Pied Currawongs Strepera graculina and Kookaburras.

You can provide habitat for these special birds in your backyard by building a Habitat Tripod.

Headache Vine

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Perhaps you can grow the beautiful Headache Vine Clematis glycinoides that is currently flowering along Acacia Way.

“It is a useful climber that could be used to cover the framework of a fernery. The growth is very dense and provides safe nesting sites for small native birds.” Australian Plants Society NSW

A useful vine, as it is happy growing in shaded areas and the crushed leaves help manage headaches.

Lipotriches sp. – Solitary Bee on Dianella flower

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We also found a different solitary native bee species visiting flowers of Blueberry Lily Dianella longifolia. Lipotriches sp. do not form colonies, the individual females make nests in the ground. Native plant species like Dianella require Buzz Polination (sonicating) which shakes the pollen out of the flowers.

Native Indigo flower

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Native Indigo Indigofera australis is also starting to flower along Acacia Way. Native Indigo is caterpillar food plant for Long-tailed Pea-blue Lampides boeticus and Common Grass-blue Zizina labradus butterflies.

Native Indigo can also be used for natural dying of cloth.

By: Sheamus O’Connor

Expanded garden space - 25 July 2020

Rainy not cold … perfect for Bushcare

We had a lot of fun yesterday in the puddles, luckily it was not too cold as we got soaked!

Thanks to our hard … wet … workers, we got heaps done in such a short period of time.
Logs and branches adjacent to the path will reduce damage to our new Lomandra planting by stopping people walking off the track. At the same time logs make safe habitat for lizards and provide valuable food for beetles and other insects.

Logs Gertrute Petty Place - 25 July 2020

Logs protect planting

Garden beds have been extended to cover areas where fast spreading invasive weed has been Dyschoriste depressa poisoned. Our energiser rain loving team planted and mulched the expanded garden area.

A pedestrian goat track and a mountain bike track between road and Federation Track were closed to allow regeneration and re-mulched earlier plantings.

 

Our next monthly working bee is Saturday 29th August 8am – 11am. Hope to see you there.

Little Eagle 3 - Hieraaetus morphnoides - 13 May 2020 - P Demmers

Square-tailed Kite (pair)

By: Michael Fox

A pair of Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura seem to be making our Reserve their home. Pieter Demmers sighted the pair at a possible nest site at the top of the Goodenia Track near Mt Gravatt Campus. Stacey McLean kindly provided the correct identification.

Friday, I actually watched one of these impressive birds circling over our National Tree Day plantings. I’m hoping this is a sign of habitat health, as large raptors are unlikely to take up residence in the Reserve if there is not plenty of food.

 

Eupanacra splendens - Hawkmoth -11 May 2020

Eupanacra splendens Hawk Moth

This been a great season for butterflies and moths with thousands of sightings of Hummingbird like creatures hovering in front of flowers. Hawk Moths long tongues allow them to hover in front of flowers while drinking the nectar.

We love butterflies in our gardens tend to ignore moths. However, moths vastly outnumber butterflies with 11,000 species compared to about 400 species of butterflies.

Eupanacra splendens - 13 Apr 2018

Eupanacra splendens caterpillar

On Gardening Australia, Professor Ken Walker, senior curator of entomology at Museums Victoria, explained the importance moths in our gardens. Moths work hard under cover of darkness providing valuable pollination services. Moths are also valuable food for birds visiting our gardens as well as lizards and other animals.

 

Butterfly and moth caterpillars feed on our garden plants, like this Eupanacra splendens caterpillar on my Peace Lily Spathiphyllum sp. However, they rarely do a much damage and we end up beautiful butterflies and interesting and valuable moth pollinators.

 

Banded pupa parasite wasp - Gotra sp. - female - ovipositor 2 - 2 May 2020

Banded Pupa Parasite Wasp

 

Professor Walker also refers to beneficial garden insects which includes some some of the ichneumon parasitic wasps found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. The ichneumon wasps have no sting and perform valuable pest control activities.

The female Banded Pupa Parasite Wasp – Gotra sp. has no sting but a long ovipositor used to lay eggs on caterpillars. (Latin ovi = egg, posit = placed)

 

Tiger Ichneumon Wasp - Metopius sp. 2- 1 May 2020

Tiger Ichneumon Wasp

 

Tiger Ichneumon Wasp Metopius sp.

Ichneumon wasps are some of the most attractive insects you can see in the Reserve.

 

 

Alan Moore photographed this Yellow-banded Ichneumon Wasp Echthromorpha agrestoria 

Yellow-banded Ichneumon Wasp - Echthromorpha agrestoria - A Moore 28 May 2020 lr

Yellow-banded Ichneumon Wasp Echthromorpha agrestoria

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Great getting out in the bush after the rain. The Fox Gully Bushcare team worked on weeding the 2018 National Tree Day site.

All the plants are thriving including the weeds. Our main focus was removing Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus, Flannel Weed Sida cordifolia and Cobblers Peg Bidens pilosa before seeds set, breaking the weed cycle.

The rain also bought lots of insects and spiders including two species not previously Reported in the Reserve. An Eight-spotted Leaf Beetle and Round Ant Eater spider.

 

Eight-spotted Leaf Beetle - Paropsisterna sexpustulata - 10 Mar 2020

Eight-spotted Leaf Beetle Paropsisterna sexpustulata

 

 

Round Ant Eater - Zenodorus orbiculatus (female) - 10 Mar 2020

 

 

 

 

Round Ant Eater spider Zenodorus orbiculatus (female) Note name change from Omoedus orbiculatus.

 

 

Union-Jack Wolf Spider -Tasmanicosa sp. - with egg sac - 10 Mar 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Union-Jack Wolf Spider Tasmanicosa sp. – with egg sac

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Andrew's Cross Spider - Argiope Keyserlingi - underside - 10 Mar 2020

 

 

 

 

St Andrew’s Cross Spider Argiope Keyserlingi – underside

 

 

 

 

 

Variable Ladybird Beetles - Coelophora inaequalis - larva - 10 Mar 2020

 

 

Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis larvae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transverse Ladybird Beetle - Coccinella transversalis - 10 Mar 2020

 

 

Transverse Ladybird Beetle Coccinella transversalis

 

Griffith Mates at work - 1 Mar 2020

Weeding Team in action

By: Michael Fox

I love our annual Clean Up when the community turns out to help maintain our special Reserve. Heather Woods, our event coordinator, registered our largest ever team:
  • 75 Volunteers;
  • 66 Adults; and
  • 9 Children (under 16)

Dainty Swallowtail - Papilio anactus - 1 Mar 2020

Dainty Swallowtail Papilio anactus

 

The reduction in rubbish to be cleaned up means the largest group joined the Weeding Team this year.

We are working with the Council Rangers and Habitat Brisbane team to prepare the site for the 2020 National Tree Day Planting on Sunday, 02 August. Special focus will be planting species that enhance the visitor experience by attracting butterflies, like the beautiful Dainty Swallowtail Papilio anactus, while maintaining the views to the city and Glass House Mountains.

Weeds cleared - 1 Mar 2020

Huge area of Guinea Grass and Creeping Lantana cleared

 

The weeding team did a great job clearing a huge area of Guinea Grass Panicum maximum, Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and Glycine Neonotonia wightii. Clearing the weeds and removing trip hazards is the first step in site preparation for planting.

 

 

Blue Banded Bee - Amegilla cingulata - 1 Mar 2020

Blue Banded Bee visiting Blue Tongue flower

 

Species for planting will be based on our research for Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Blue Tongue or Native Lasiandra Melastoma affine, currently flowering at the Lookout, is very popular with the solitary native bees in the Reserve. Like Blue Banded Bees Amegilla cingulata

Other species observed on the day were Great Carpenter Bees Xylocopa sp., Stingless Native Bees Trigona sp., and caterpillars of Glasswing Acraea andromacha and Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras butterflies and Pale Brown Hawk Moth Theretra latreillii.

Guide on Patrol 2 - 1 Mar 2020

Guide on Patrol

 

Meanwhile the Rubbish Teams were busy around the Summit and along the roadway collecting the usual fastfood packages and some strange parts fallen off cars.

 

 

 

Griffith Mates Team - 1 Mar 2020

Griffith Mates Bushcare Team

 

 

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Heather with rubbish collection

 

 

 

Thank you to all the community members, the Holland Park Girl Guides and Griffith Mates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Heather Woods for organising the event.

By: Michael

Scarlet Honeyeater - Myzomela sanguinolenta - P Demmers - 18 July 19

Scarlet Honeyeater

Thanks to Pieter Demmers and Rachel Cruttenden we have two bird species and a native gecko added to our Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Pieter photographed this beautiful Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta At 10 to 11cm this is one of our special small forest birds feeding on nectar, some fruit and insects.

 

Brown Goshawk - Accipiter fasciatus - 21 Dec 19

Brown Goshawk

 

Pieter found a Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus a medium-sized raptors found across Australia in timbered habitats. Brown Goshawks feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles and insects.

 

 

Robust Velvet Gecko - Oedura robusta 2 - P. Demmers - 4 Feb 2020

Robust Velvet Gecko

Rachel first found one Robust Velvet Gecko Oedura robusta with Pieter following up that sighting to find three geckos. It is nice to find native geckos living in the forest rather than just the noisy Asian House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus.

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Sheamus O’Connor, Group Leader of Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare, reported on the Group’s first event for 2020 with sad news:

“Unfortunately, an injured koala was found about 50m down from GPP, up on the hill, sitting at the bottom of a tree. She had been bitten by a dog on her wrist and was very sick from infection. Angela, the local wildlife rescuer, collected her however has little hope in full recovery. Let’s hope she recovers.

We’ve got signs now but that is obviously not enough, people ignore them and continue to have their dogs off lead. What will it take for people to take responsibility for their pets?” Sheamus Dog Kills Koala - Feb 2020 adj

 

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As reported in the Southern Star this week the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus did not survive this dog attack.

It is very disappointing that irresponsible individuals still ignore the signs and let their dogs run loose in the Reserve.

Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve is a special place with a wide diversity of flora and fauna including a healthy breeding population of Koalas appreciated by tourists, international students and even increasing property values in the area.

Dogs off-leash are also a problem for walkers with children or people walking their own dogs on-leash. For other people, even a well behaved dog off-leash creates uncertainty because they don’t know how that strange dog will behave around their children or their dog.

Unfortunately, we have reports that challenging walkers with dogs off-leash is often met with aggressive rudeness. So consider simply taking a photo, from a distance, and reporting to Brisbane City Council call centre on 07 3403 8888.

Dogs do love to run loose, so consider visiting the local Abbeville Street Park off-leash area or look for one of the other 150 City Council dog off-leash areas

 

 

Mates on trail - 9 Nov 2019

Fishbone Fighters on the trail

By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates Bushcare team joined us again today to help eradicate the invasive Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia from Fox Gully Bushcare Zone 10.

As always the team was an interesting mix of international students: Osaka Japan with its amazing aquarium, cold Gansu in north-west China where winter temperatures range from -13°C to a toasty 3°C, and a local student with a French heritage whose passion is environmentally sensitive urban planning.

 

Weed Busters - 9 Nov 2019

Fishbone Fighters hard at work

 

 

 

 

The Fishbone Fighters worked hard first cutting back the prickly Barbed Wire Vine Smilax australis which will tear an unsuspecting Bushcarer’s arms to pieces. However, Barbed Wire Vine is very hardy local native which can tolerate a hard cutback to allow access for weed removal.

Proud Bushcarers - 9 Nov 2018

Proud Fishbone Fighers

 

Thanks again to the extraordinary Griffith Mates Bushcare team who have been partnering with Mt Gravatt Environment Group since April 2013.

 

 

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