Bushcare


By: Michael Fox

2020 has been a difficult year with most of our Bushcare events cancelled. So I decided to check in with our partner “nature” to see what has been happening while we have been distracted by a COVID pandemic.

National Tree Day planting 2016 …………………….2021

2016 National Tree Day planting expanded the previous year’s planting of small forest bird habitat. A combination of Habitat Tripods and insect attracting plants to feed Fairy Wrens.

National Tree Day 2017 site ……………………………. 2021

Our 2017 National Tree Day site was a closed car park blocked off and overgrown with weeds. Cleared of weeds, mulched and replanted the site is starting to regenerate healthy habitat for Koalas and small forest birds. .

National Tree Day 2018 site prep …………………….. 2021

The 2018 National Tree Day site needed special preparation because the large amount of asbestos (fibro) dumped there. The BCC Habitat Brisbane team organised professional asbestos removal contractors to clear the site. We then covered the site in a thick layer of cardboard fridge boxes from Harvey Norman. The cardboard was then covered in mulch and planted so any residual asbestos will be locked in by plant roots.

National Tree Day 2019 planting ……………………… 2021

2019 National Tree Day was restoration of a very degraded area where BCC contractors had cleared a large area of Lantana Lantana camara. Plants were chosen to maintain the view while restoring native habitat. The special site has an amazing view out to the Bay Islands hence the track name: Eastern Outlook Track. A great spot to sit and enjoy the winter morning sun.

Australia China Youth Assoc. 2018 …………………… 2021

The Australian Chinese Youth Association are a diverse group of Griffith University students from China, Japan and Australia, all passionate about working with China. The students were studying a wide range of subjects including medical, business and environment. I have never worked with a group so good at finding wildlife: everything from spiders to bugs fascinated them. The group happily worked on a challenging steep site removing invasive Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia and doing such a good job the fern has not returned while natural regeneration has already bought back native grasses including Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus – butterfly caterpillar food and Poison Peach Trema tomentosa – feeds fruiting eating birds.

Clairvaux Bushcarers 2018

I missed working with our Clairvaux Mackillop College students over the past twelve months. The Clairvaux Bushcarers worked hard clearing weeds to allow natural regeneration to restore the habitat. The students with all their energy are a real pleasure to work alongside. It is always a pleasure to introduce our local wildlife to this fascinated audience. Everything interests them: Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus, St Andrew’s Cross Spider Argiope Keyserlingi or learning that Ladybeetles have a larval stage Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis: adult beetle and larvae (right). I am already working with the College to set event dates for 2021.

National Tree Day 2020 had to be cancelled however the BCC Natural Areas team stepped up and organised contractors to plant a large area at the Summit.

2021 is already looking good with Clean Up Australia on Sunday March 7th.

Find a full range of volunteer opportunities.

By: Michael Fox

Join CleanUp Australia 2021 – Mt Gravatt Summit

Our annual Clean Up is growing attracting more community groups like our Griffith Mates partners and a total of 76 volunteers in 2020.

Our Clean Up teams have reduced rubbish from 55 bags in 2011 to 10 bags in 2019.

Date: Sunday March 7th 2021

Start time: 7:30am

Meet at: Mt Gravatt Summit carpark – near Love Well Project

Please join our Clean Up teams picking up rubbish or removing removing weeds.

By: Michael Fox

I love Bushcare because I am always finding new species to add to Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Finding Tree-running Mantid Ciulfina sp. nymph makes three mantids found in the Reserve.

The Three-eyed Leaf-rolling Cricket Xiphogryllacris orthoxipha is the first cricket we have found.

Meet all our fascinating insects at Insects, beetles, bugs and slugs of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

By: Michael Fox

Caper White – Belenois java

I am very lucky to live beside Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve so butterflies and birds are common in my garden. However, at the moment gardens all over Brisbane are welcoming butterflies in large numbers. “Why are there so many butterflies in Brisbane?”  Jessica HinchliffeABC Radio Brisbane

Splendid Ochre Trapezites symmomus

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The Caper Whites Belenois java kept moving not wanting to be photographed but I did get a couple of photos. But I did find a Splendid Ochre Trapezites symmomus which posed perfectly for a photo. Note the characteristic antenna clubs which help identify species.

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Cycad Blue Theclinesthes onycha laying eggs

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The Cycad Blue Theclinesthes onycha are back for their annual visit. People often worry about the damage to the leaves on their Cycads. However, even being attacked by caterpillars of these cute butterflies every year my Cycad is still thriving.

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Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata

I have also had some special birds visiting.

A pair of Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata have been visiting hoping to set up home. However, the Pied Butcherbirds Cracticus nigrogularis and Noisy Miners Manorina melanocephala have been chasing these special visitors away.

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Pale-heaed Rosellas Platycercus adscitus

A pair of Pale-heaed Rosellas Platycercus adscitus are also regular visitors. Today they were have a drink at one of the Koala Drinkers.

Invite birds, butterflies and bees to your garden by providing Water, Food and Shelter.

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

 

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