Bushcare


Team 1 July 2017

Griffith Mates Bushcare Team

By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates partners were back today, again led by Sienna Harris, Griffith University Ecological Science student.

 

Rainbow Lorikeet - 22 July 2017 low res

Rainbow Lorikeet checking nest hollow

 

 

 

Koala scratches - 22 July 2017 low res

Koala scratches

 

Just before the Team arrived I spotted a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus checking out a tree hollow as a potential nest sight.

International students are always interested in our wildlife and they loved the bright coloured Rainbows. Rainbow Lorikeets are thought to mate for life (like most parrots) pairs preen and nibble each other during rest periods.

 

I was also able to point out a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita high in the top branches of a eucalypt. It was high up but hard to miss because of its loud screech.

We also looked at Koala scratches on a Queensland Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis.

 

 

 

Lantana Busters at work - 22 July 2017 low res

Lantana Buster Team

 

 

Lantana Buster - 22 July 2017 low res

Weeding is fun

 

 

We then split into two groups:

  • Sienna leading the Lantana Busters
  • I went with the Log Team.

The Lantana Busters worked on clearing the invasive Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses by rolling it up into swales across the slope retain water and reduce erosion by slowing water flow.

Pulling weeds may not sound exciting but there are always lots of smiles.

Hand saw team - 22 July 2017 low res

We can use a hand saw!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Griffith Mates always love to learn new skills, like using a hand saw …

Ochna buster - 22 July 2017 low res

Look at me! I pulled this out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… and pulling deep rooted Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata with the specialist TreePopper bushcare weeding tool.

The Treepopper allows almost anyone to pull difficult weeds by clamping jaws around the trunk then using the leverage of the long handle to slowly pull the deep roots without breaking.

 

Burtons Legless Lizard (Lialis burtonis) - 22 July 2017 cropped

Burtons Legless Lizard Lialis burtonis

 

 

 

 

 

Even finding what she thought was a snake did not spook one of the Lantana Busters. Everyone gathered around, even the log moving team, to inspect what Sienna identified as a Legless Lizard. The lizard was very cooperative and hardly moved while dozens of photos recorded our unusual wildlife.

 

 

How do we move that - 22 July 2017 low res

Mmm … a bit heavy for one of us to lift

The Log Team were also learning new skills.

Brains over brawn - 22 July 2017

Cross beams allow a team lift

This team are all from China and studying microbiology at Griffith University. So they loved the challenge of learning the power of applying more brains and less brawn. None of the team had used ropes before. However, they caught on fast, using a branch as a lever lift the log to get the rope underneath before learning to tie a knot that would not slip.

 

Brains win over brawn. Using two hardwood cross beams a log too heavy for one person can be carried by a team of six. Still hard work and slow going but achievable.

Team Success - 22 July 2017 low res

Team success!

 

 

 

 

The log is in place across the slope and nestled into the mulch so it will not move.

And they were very proud of themselves.

Well done team!

We finished up with a short guided walk inspecting the 2016, 2015 and 2014 National Tree Day planting and explaining the role of nest boxes providing shelter for Squirrel Gliders, Rainbow Lorikeets and Kookaburras.

 

 

 

Team 1 July 2017

Griffith Mates Team

By: Michael Fox

Fifteen happy laughing Griffith Mates joined me on Saturday morning to prepare the site for the 2017 National Tree Day.

See Alan Moore’s “We love Bushcare!” photo series. 

The team members were so interested in everything, from the fruiting Thread-moss Orthodontium lineare to a Huntsman spider on an old pipe, that I thought they must all be environment students. However, they were

Thread-moss - Orthodontium lineare - 1 July 2017

Thread-moss Orthodontium lineare

actually studying everything from business to one special person doing her second Phd in linguistics! They just all love being out in the bush doing something useful.

 

 

 

Most Australians would not be keen on getting up close and personal with a Huntsman spider. Griffith Mates students come from all over the globe … Zimbabwe, Malaysia, China, Japan, etc. and they are fascinated all Australian animals.

 

 

Common Crow caterpillar - 1 July 2017

Common Crow Euploea core

I showed the team a Common Crow Euploea core butterfly caterpillar with its fascinating black curls. The caterpillar was feeding on a Parsonsia vine and I explained that butterfly caterpillars will only feed on a limited number of plant species. If we maintain and increase the diversity of native plants in bushland and in our backyards we can bring butterflies back to our urban habitat.

 

The next find was very strange hairy fungi with a colloid shape with hollow in the middle: Hairy Trumpet – Panus fasciatus. A new species to add to our Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve: over thirty fungi species found in the Reserve so far.

Hairy Trumpet 1 July 2017

Hairy Trumpet – Panus fasciatus

 

Plant signs

Installing interpretative signs

There was also work to do. Two teams went hunting for examples Tape Vine Stephania japonica and Slender Grape Cayratia clematidea and install interpretative signs to show Tree Day volunteers some of the plants that feed our native animals.

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Glass removal 1 July 2017

Site safety – removing broken glass

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Preparation also includes maximising site safety by removing broken glass. Not exciting work but very important.

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Visit Facebook to see Alan Moore’s “We love Bushcare!” photo series that captures the mood of joy and pride of our Griffith Mates student partners preparing for. 2017 National Tree Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sherwood Scouts - 27 May 2017

On patrol on Farm Fire Trail

By: Michael Fox

It was a pleasure to welcome the Sherwood Scouts to Fox Gully Bushcare on Saturday.

Scout Leader Kate had a range of activities prepared to build skills in reading contour maps and using a compass.

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Ringtail family - 27 May 2017

Ringtail family

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First stop was the Federation Track to see a family of Ringtail Possums Pseudocheirus peregrinus. High in a tree with strong backlighting the two adults and a joey were hard to photograph.

 

 

 

Ed checks nest box - 27 May 2017

Checking Glider box with GoPro camera

 

Scout Ed tried his hand using the GoPro camera on a pole to check one of the new Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis nest boxes.

Nest box installation is an important part of habitat restoration as till July 1893 the mountain and surrounds were designated as a railway timber reserve. My intial survey of the 2ha of Fox Gully Bushcare reflects this history with only thirty six trees older than 100 years and only five old enough to have a 50% chance of having nest hollows. Many bird species and arboreal marsupials like Giders depend on tree hollows for breeding. Nest boxes provide a interim solution for these species as the forest recovers and natural tree hollows develop.

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Squirrel Glider at home

The initial installation of ten Hollowlog Home nest boxes 2012 was so successful that BCC Habitat Brisbane organised installation of an extra ten boxes last year.

So it was particularly special to find our find a Squirrel Glider in one of the new boxes. Squirrel Glider are listed as threatened by Brisbane City Council and families typically use up to five nest hollows.

Brushtail - Kookaburra Box - 27May 2017

Mother Brushtail at home

With installation of nest boxes the initial one family of Squirrel Gliders has been breeding and there are now two families living in the Bushcare site. Evidence that the Gliders have now started using the new nest boxes is a sign that the population of these special creatures may expand further.

Continuing on down the Geebung Track we checked on mother Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula in the Kookaburra nest box. Mother Brushtail moved in shortly after the initial installation and has since raised at least two joeys in her home.

Returning via the Eastern Outlook Track we examined the seam of quartz rock that runs through the mountain, the natural regeneration in the area where Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses has been cleared and the Stingless Beehive Tetragonula sp. in a fallen tree.

The Scouts had a good time and we hope to welcome them back for National Tree Day on 30 July

 

 

 

 

 

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Read The Regenerator BCC Community Conservation Partnerships Program Newsletter.

Then tell your own story about Brisbane’s nature and enter

the Nature Writing Competition (see page 3). 

Your story will be published in The Regenerator, you will win a pack of nature-related books and have the opportunity to attend a nature writing workshop.

Entries close 30 June so get writing.

 

 

By: Michael Fox

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(clockwise) Mik Petter, Wayne Cameron, Ian Walker, Dr. Christian Rowan, Michael Fox, Sienna Harris

Our local MP Ian Walker gave us to opportunity yesterday to brief Dr. Christian Rowan, state Shadow Minister for Environment, about our restoration work around the mountain and the broader Brisbane catchment. We met at the Love Well Project … excellent coffee and an outstanding place to meet with a view over Brisbane City.
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Mik Petter – B4C President and Wayne Cameron – Catchment Manager, represented Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C). Sienna Harris represented Griffith Mates and Alan Moore, Photography Workshop leader, and I represented Mt Gravatt Environment Group.
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Mik and Wayne shared information on the history of Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee Inc. (B4C): established in 1997 as a community based social enterprise that provides coordination, support and specialised ecological services to protect, restore and maintain Bulimba Creek catchment in partnership with our members and wider community to build a web of green across the region.

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Particularly significant points were the business like management of B4C which complements grant funding and volunteer contribution with commercial projects across Brisbane and as far as Esk. This combination of financial strength and depth of on ground experience across both technical environmental areas and community engagement allows B4C to provide valuable support for groups like ours: technical advice, legal framework, insurance and bookkeeping.

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Explaining the value of interpretative signs.

The excellent support our five Bushcare groups receive from BCC Habitat Brisbane is complemented by B4C’s support that allows us to source grant funding for printing our popular Walking Mt Gravatt track maps and the interpretative signs which help create a real “National Park” experience for visitors to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.
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Sienna talked about Griffith Mates, a Griffith University initiative that organises events for students, including Volunteering at Bushcare. A powerful partnership we find ourselves working with students studying engineering, international business as well as the expected environmental science. Listening to students talking about home in Hong Kong or Zimbabwe, seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter.
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(l-r) Ian Walker and Christian Rowan

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Alan told us about the 2017 Photography Workshop, our fifth year helping visitors “See the forest in a new way” through the lens of their camera. Each year Alan focuses of a new theme and many participants return each year … so it is important to book early as we have limited numbers.
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Time to get the politicians out to experience this special Conservation Reserve in the middle of the city.
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I explained that the butterfly sign was positioned at the entry to the Summit Track where the natural amphitheatre creates a speed dating site for dozens of butterflies of different species.

By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates partners returned in March to continue their work clearing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses. The Mates started clearing the Lantana in September 2015 and they were very happy to see the native grasses, sedges and vines returning where the weeds had been cleared.

I love having Griffith Mates onsite … there is always a lot of discussion and laughter. This time  put the team to work on clearing Lantana regrowth. This is real get on your hands and knees detail work … not as exciting as the mass clearing done at past events so I was not sure how these young people would go. I should not have worried, as always the Mates amazed me with their commitment and the quality of their work.

Lantan Buster Blues Bros 25 Mar 2017

Blues Brothers at work

The Mates even take having fun to whole new levels. These two were bouncing off each other so much I had to introduce them to the Blues Brothers movie.

Lantana Buster Teacher in Action - 25 Mar 2017

A born teacher at work

I have rarely seen someone take such simple pleasure in teaching new skill … in this case how to remove Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata with the Treepopper.

Lantana Buster Team - 25 Mar 2016

Seventeen Mates, forty hours Lantana Busting. Thank you Griffith Mates.

 

 

bush-monsters-clean-up-5-mar-2017-heather-woods

Bush Monsters raring to go!

By: Michael Fox

Heather (Woods) and the Bush Monsters again led the charge for our 2017 Clean Up Australia.

Thirty four participants, including a babe in arms: it is good to see them starting young, and other family groups were broken into three teams:

  • Summit Team – cleaning up the picnic area
  • Road Team – picking up fast food packets
  • Weeding Team – clearing Mother-of- Millions and Asparagus Ferns
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Carl, Jean and future     bush lover

Joe Kelly MP Member for Greenslopes and Matt Campbell joined the Summit Team cleaning up the picnic area.

Thanks to the work of Brisbane City Council maintenance crews the picnic area is generally tidy these days. However, Clean Up Co-ordinator Heather focused the Team on detailed job of collecting pieces of broken glass. It is important to keep the picnic area safe for kids to run barefoot in the park.

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Dolcin Family on Summit Team

I think the Road Team needed a third type of rubbish bag specially branded as McDonalds Rubbish. While the Reserve is much cleaner these days throwing fast food packaging from cars still seems to be a popular sport and the vast majority of drink cups and packets have the famous golden arches brand.

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Family fun on Road Team

I have rarely seen so many happy faces picking up rubbish … must be something to do with being out in the fresh and the trees.

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Amber and Barb more fun on Road Team

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Weed Buster Allegra

I led the Weed Team on the attack to clear invasive Mother-of-Millions Bryophyllum tubiflorum* and Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus*.

Mother-of-Millions commonly spreads into our bushland when people dump garden waste and being a succulent this weed can survive and spread rapidly in our dry Australian conditions.

The De Guzman family returned to represent Viridian Energy and specialised as Mother-of-Millions Weed Busters.

jenny-clean-up-5-mar-2017-lowres

Jenny and Karen Asparagus Fern Busting

Jenny and Karen specialised in removing Asparagus Fern which has spread into the Reserve by fruit eating birds visiting local gardens then flying into the bushland. The Cyclone Two-pronged Hoe is an ideal tool for getting under crown of the weed and pulling it up roots and all.

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Weed Team – (l-r) Allegra, Hennessy, Sandy, Jeamie, Karen, Jenny and Noel

Final count for the event teams was twenty-one bags of rubbish and weeds. Congratulations and thank you for all the hard work!

See you at National Tree Day 30 July.

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