Bushcare


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Clairvaux Bushcare Team in action

By: Michael Fox

I was very happy to welcome our Clairvaux Bushcare Team back to declare war on Guinea Grass regrowth. The team first removed the seed heads before removing and piling the grass in swales to compost and reduce water runoff.

Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus is a fast growing environmental that crowds out local native species and creates a significant bushfire risk. Originally from Africa Guinea Grass has been bought to Australia as a pasture grass and has local herbivore species to control its growth so dead grass accumulates as a loose fast burning fuel for bushfire.

Fruit Piercing Moth - Eudocima fullonia - caterpillar 1- 20 May 2019

Fruit Piercing Moth caterpillar

The team found a number of “bugs” including a new moth species to add to our Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. The Fruit Piercing Moth Eudocima fullonia is curious creature. The caterpillars feed on local Tape Vine Stephania japonica while the adult moths feed by piercing a wide variety of fruit species, often causing the fruit to rot.

Purplewinged Mantid - Tenodera australasiae - 20 May 2019

Purplewinged Mantid

 

The students were not fazed by anything including finding this Purplewinged Mantid Tenodera australasiae climbing over his shirt.

 

 

 

Golden Orb-Weaver - Nephila plumipes - 20 May 2019

Golden Orb Weaver spider

 

 

Or this beautiful Golden Orb Weaver Nephila plumipes spider or the tiger hiding in the long grass.

 

 

 

 

Black Woodland Cockroach - Platyzosteria melanaria - 20 May 2019

Black Woodland Cockroach

 

 

Or even this Black Woodland Cockroach Platyzosteria melanaria 

Australian native cockroaches do not invade our houses or spread disease preferring to stay in the bush feeding in trees on pollen, bark and leaf material. Some species in the genus Panesthia have adapted to eating decomposing wood, and have similar micro-organisms in their gut as those found in termites (Order Isoptera).

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What an amazing team of Bushcarers!

A huge area of Guinea Grass regrowth de-seeded and piled for composting on-site. Eradication will take another couple of years as we break the cycle of seeds.

The support of extraordinary and generous partners like the Clairvaux Bushcare Team allow us to restore large areas of our Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve habitat.

By: Michael Fox

The Australia China Youth Association (ACYA) Discovery Team joined me again on Saturday morning to take on a forest of Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus var. maximus

Guinea Grass, a 2m pasture grass introduced from Africa, is now a common and widespread weed of crops, orchards, vineyards, gardens and bushland. Large fast growing non-native grasses like Guinea Grass increase fuel loads and bushfire frequency in urban bushland.

The key to eradicating Guinea Grass is removing the seeds before they are spread by being eaten birds or stuck to the fur of other animals.

The ACYA Discovery Team tackled the forest with a vengeance, first removing and binning seed heads before removing the grass and putting into piles to compost onsite. It seemed every time I looked around there would be someone with a huge bouquets of Guinea Grass seed heads that would impress a florist. It will take another couple of seasons to get the Guinea Grass under control but each time we nail the seeds there is less work to do next season.

Acacia Shield bug - Alcaeus varicornis - 11 May 2019

Acacia Shield Bug nymph

 

 

 

The Discovery Team title comes from the amazing diversity of wildlife found whenever we work together.

Two species found on Saturday are new to our database: Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve: Insects, Beetles, Bugs and Slugs.

Acacia Shield Bug nymph Alcaeus varicornis

Green Strip Leaf Beetle - Calomela pallida - 11 May 2019

Green Strip Leaf Beetle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Strip Leaf Beetle Calomela pallida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Discovery Team find so many new species that sometimes I can’t find an id immediately: like this pretty moth caterpillar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Team is not scared of anything. Reanna was so happy to find this discarded snake skin. Perhaps she may have been a little slower to collect the skin before it was discarded.

 

 

 

Variable Ladybird Beetle - Coelophora inaequalis - larvae - 11 May 2019

Variable Ladybird Beetle larvae

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Team are interested in everything, so when I found the larvae of a Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis they were fascinated to learn that Ladybirds come from a larvae which also eats Aphids and other garden pests.

 

Lance-leaved Rattlepod - Crotalaria lanceolata - weed - 11 May 2019

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The well named Lance-leaved Rattlepod Crotalaria lanceolata (weed) also appealed when I demonstrated the potential as a musical instrument.

 

 

Champions - 11 May 2019

Thanks again to the ACYA Discovery Team. Looking forward to welcoming you back next semester to help us discover more wildlife species living in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

By: Michael Fox

Guinea Grass gone - 27 April 2019

Clearing Guinea Grass                                                             Weeds busted

Red Natel Grass - 27 April 2019

Red Natal Grass Busted

I welcomed the Australia China Youth Association (ACYA) team yesterday to weed the  2015/16 National Tree Day planting.

The Small Bird Planting is thriving, however, the Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus and Red Natal Grass Melinis repens that covered the site before restoration are still regrowing from seed. By clearing the weed grasses before a new crop of seed sets we will break the cycle of infestation.

The team got stuck right in bagging the seed heads for removal off site before they removed the grasses.

Common Crow - Euploea core - male sex brand - 27 April 2019

Common Crow sex brand

 

 

The ACYA team are always interested in finding native wildlife when they come to Bushcare.

The first find was a handsome male Common Crow Euploea core butterfly. I explained that some male butterflies have sex brands they use to store pheromones impress the girls.

Blue Tiger - claws 1 - 6 Feb 2015 cropped

Blue Tiger butterfly claws

 

Common Crow butterflies use their claws to scratch the leaves on Parsonsia vines. Butterflies taste with their feed to check they have the correct species of plant and males store alkaloids from the leaves to help with breeding.

Imperial Hairstreak - Jalmenus evagoras - butterflies - 27 April 2019

Imperial Hairstreak butterflies

 

 

 

 

We also found lots of Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras butterflies at the 2018 National Tree Day planting site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We found Imperial Hairstreak chrysalis on the Brisbane Fringed Wattle Acacia fimbriata planted in July 2018. The caterpillars and chrysalis are protected by native Small Meat Ants in return for sugary extrusions.

 

 

Variable Ladybird Beetle - Coelophora inaequalis - 27 April 2019

Variable Ladybird Beetle

 

 

 

A number of Variable Ladybird Beetles Coelophora inaequalis were found by Wento.

It is very encouraging to find bugs visiting the replanted habitat. The more insects the more insect eating small birds will return.

 

 

 

 

Stingless Native Bee - Tetragonula sp. - hive - 27 April 2019

Stingless Native Bee hive

 

 

To finish the morning I showed the team a Stingless Native Bee hive in an old log.

 

 

 

Stingless Native Bee - Tetragonula sp. - 27 April 2019

Stingless Native Bee

 

 

 

 

They had heard about our Stingless Native Bees but they were surprised to see how small they are: small than a house fly.

While these tiny bees are stingless they have very powerful jaws.

Team - 27 April 2019

ACYA team

 

 

 

Thank you team. It is always a pleasure to welcome you to Bushcare, hear your stories and share my knowledge.

Help build on our success. Register for 2019 National Tree Day.

 

By: Michael Fox

 

The 2018 National Tree Day planting site is thriving and the locals are turning up for dinner. Plant Local to Feed Locals

The Crow or Donovan’s Day Moth Cruria donowani is a new addition our database of Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

I identified the species using: New larval food plant associations for some butterflies and diurnal moths (Lepidoptera) from the Northern Territory and Kimberley, Australia. Part II (2015) Michael F. Braby

Imperial Hairstreak - Jalmenus evagoras - female laying eggs on Acacia fimbriata - 21 April 2019

Imperial Hairstreak female laying eggs

 

 

I also found a female Imperial Hairstreak butterfly Jalmenus evagoras laying her eggs on one of the Brisbane Fringed Wattles Acacia fimbriata planted in July.

 

 

Imperial Hairstreak - Jalmenus evagoras -chryslis - 21 April 2019

Imperial Hairstreak chrysalis

 

 

 

 

Imperial Hairstreak chrysalis being protected by protected by “Kropotkin” ants – Small Meat Ant Iridomyrmex sp.

 

 

 

 

Joseph Coat Moth - Agarista agricola - Clematicissus opaca - 21 April 2019

Joseph’s Coat Moth caterpillar

 

 

 

 

The striking Joseph’s Coat Moth caterpillars Agarista agricola were lunching on Forest Grape Clematicissus opaca.

 

By: Michael Fox

Autumn is a wonderful time for Bushcare. Beautiful cool days among the trees surrounded by bird song.

Jake found a Common Crow Euploea core butterfly caterpillar exploring the Coral Berry Rivina humilis weed he was removing. Common Crow caterpillars feed on a range of native and exotic plant species however Parsonsia vines are preferred. Male Common Crow butterflies scratch the leaves with their claws and collect pyrrolizidine alkaloid  that are used in breeding and also provide protection: Golden Orb Weaver Spiders Nephila maculata release unharmed individuals high in alkaloids. (Orr and Kitching)

Fungi recycling - 14 April 2019

Wood eating fungi

 

It is great to see nature is working 24/7 to build on our Bushcare work. Larger woody weeds that are too big to pull out, like Indian Hawthorn Rhaphiolepis indica, are cut and poisoned leaving a stump. That is where nature takes over with fungi breaking down the dead timber.

 

Restoration Team - 6 April 2019

ACYA Team at work

By: Michael Fox

I welcomed the hardworking ACYA team back today to continue restoration in our Fox Gully Bushcare site. I love working with these students because they are so happy and full of life.

 

 

Green Jumping Spider - Mopsus mormon - 6 April 2019

Green Jumping Spider Mopsus mormon

 

 

The team continued to find lots of wildlife including a moth caterpillar I still need an id and spiders including this Green Jumping Spider Mopsus mormon.

 

Basket Fern - Drynaria rigidula - regrowth - 6 April 2019

Basket Fern new growth

 

 

 

 

Pulling out bags of weeds is not the most exciting of our Bushcare work but today I was able to show the team the effectiveness of their work. Native ferns like this Basket Fern Drynaria rigidula are already returning in the areas cleared of weeds.

 

Rasp Fern - Doodia media - 6 April 2019

Rasp Fern returning

 

 

Rasp Fern Doodia media with its attractive pink new growth is an excellent replacement for weed Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia in your garden. Also grows well in pots and hanging baskets.

Want to buy Rasp Fern or other local native visit a Community Nursery.

 

 

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

 

Members of the Australian Chinese Youth Association (ACYA) joined me yesterday to restore Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. A diverse group with students from China, Japan and Australia, all passionate about working with China.

The team were also all interested in everything I showed them, like the Basket Fern Drynaria rigidula growing, not in cool shady gullies but on dry rocky Mt Gravatt.

Proud Bushcare team - 23 March 2019

Weed Busters at work removing Fishbone Fern

 

Casey asked what we do in the forest so I showed the National Tree Day plantings and explained our work educating and engaging community members with grant funding for interpretive signs and maps of walking tracks.

I put the team to work removing invasive Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia. A native species indigenous to north Queensland it is an environmental weed in Brisbane spreading from garden waste dumped in bushland and smothering local natives.

Bark Cockroach - Laxta sp. - 23 March 2019

Bark Cockroach

 

 

Remember I said the team were interested in everything?

We have never found so many different species at one time. Casey found one of our bush cockroaches: Bark Cockroaches Laxta sp. live in the leaf litter preforming valuable recycling work.

 

Black Woodland Cockroach - Platyzosteria melanaria - 23 March 2019

Black Woodland Cockroach

 

 

A Black Woodland Cockroach Platyzosteria melanaria is a new addition to our Flora and Fauna species list.

 

 

 

Brisbane brush-footed trapdoor - Seqocrypta jakara - 23 March 2019

Brisbane Brush-footed Trapdoor Spider

 

Brisbane Brush-footed Trapdoor Spider  Seqocrypta jakara is another new species identified.

 

 

 

Net-casting Spider - Deinopis sp. - young - 23 March 2019

Net-casting Spider

 

 

 

 

 

A newly hatched Net-casting Spider Deinopis sp.

Brown Huntsman - Heteropoda sp. - 23 March 2019

Brown Huntsman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think Wentao (right) set a new record for finding wildlife including a Brown Huntsman Heteropoda sp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weeding disturbed a  Sugar Ant Camponotus sp. The ants immediately got busy relocating their larvae and when I checked today the site was completely clear.

 

 

 

Fungi - 23 March 2019

 

 

 

 

Cute fungi were also found.

 

 

Tiny mushroom fungi - 23 March 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny mushroom fungi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight plus bags of weeds - 23 March 2019

Proud Weed Busters

 

 

Eight and quarter bags of weeds removed and ready to go to Green Waste at the dump. We compost most weeds onsite however the roots and nodules of Fishbone need to be removed from site or they regrow.

Thank you to the ACYA team. Looking forward to welcoming you back in two weeks.

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