Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve


By: Michael Fox

Mother of Millions - Bryophyllum tubiflorum - weeds - 29 May 2018

Mother-of-Millions

Tuesday Bushcare focused on maintenance and clearing weeds at the 2017 National Tree Day planting site.

Two garbage bags of Mother-of-Millions Bryophyllum tubiflorum removed will not eradicate this garden escapee. Complete eradication will take years however systematic control will reduce the spread while the area is cleared of other weeds.

Resurrection Plant - Bryophyllum pinnatum - leaf sprouting - 13 Apr 2018 lr

Resurrection Plant growing from a leaf.

Dumping garden waste like Mother-of-Millions is a real problem for our bushland, parks and creeks. Being a succulent it survives even in harsh conditions. Like Resurrection Plant Bryophyllum pinnatum, another invader from Madagascar, Mother-of-Millions regrows from as little as a single leaf. Garden waste like lawn clippings, prunings from shrubs and old pot plants are rubbish not compost adding value to bushland.

 

 

Dump garden rubbish in rubbish bin not in bushland.

 

 

 

I was also able to show Jake and Carl some of our interesting flora.

Like the curious Bird’s Nest Fungi Cyathus novaezelandiae which propagates by the action of rain drops knock the egg-like peridioles out of the cup shaped fruit body.

 

 

 

 

We also found moss fruiting. Orthodontium lineare, called Cape Thread-moss in the United Kingdom, an addition to our Flora & Fauna Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve species list.

 

 

Insect - 29 May 2018

Rasp Fern

 

 

Rasp Fern Doodia media (australis) with an, as yet, unidentified insect. You realise how well named Rasp fern is when you run your fingers over the leaves: they feel just like the rough sharp surface of a wood rasp.

Star Goodenia - Goodenia rotundifolia - 29 May 2018 cropped

Star Goodenia

 

 

Star Goodenia Goodenia rotundifolia is easy to identify with its unique leaf shape.

The yellow flowered Star Goodenia is a caterpillar food plant for the Meadow Argus Junonia villida butterfly.

 

Pardalote nest holes - 29 May 2018 lr

Pardalote nest holes

 

 

 

We also found what are probably nest holes for the small Pardalotes: small birds that dig nest holes in earth banks but spend most of their time high in the trees where you can hear their distinctive “chip chip chip” call. Watch video of Striated Pardalote.

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By: Michael Fox

Clairvaux Bushcarers - 14 May 2018

Clairvaux Bushcarers

Our new partnership with Clairvaux MacKillop College is off to a great start. Clairvaux Bushcarers joined us last Monday to help prepare the 2018 National Tree Day site.

The team worked so hard removing weeds and moving branches to make the site safe, our Tuesday Bushcare group was able to finalise the preparation ready for spreading mulch.

 

Proud Weed Busters - 14 May 2018

Proud Weed Busters

It was a real pleasure to work with the students, a bit like herding cats, but still a real pleasure.

Over fifty years ago Frederick Herzberg identified recognition and a sense of achievement as two key factors in helping individuals build their motivation. Watching the students’ level of engagement and energy grow as they worked was an excellent example of Hertzberg’s research in action.

Variable Ladybird Beetles - Coelophora inaequalis - 14 May 2018

Variable Ladybird Beetle

Removing huge clumps of Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus really does provide a great sense of achievement and by removing and bagging the seed heads dramatically reduces weed regrowth.

The Clairvaux Bushcarers also had a wonderful time finding “bugs” for me to photograph. Like this Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis.

26-spotted Potato Ladybird - Epilachna vigintisexpunctata - 14 May 2018

26-spotted Potato Ladybird

 

The students also found  26-spotted Potato Ladybird Epilachna vigintisexpunctata which is a new addition to our Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

 

 

Variable Ladybird Beetles - Coelophora inaequalis - larve - 14 May 2018

Variable Ladybird Beetle larvae

 

 

I was also able to introduce the students to the strange looking Ladybird Beetle larvae.

 

Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis larvae.

Common Spotted Ladybird - Harmonia conformis - larva - 14 May 2018

Common Spotted Ladybird Beetle

 

 

 

Common Spotted Ladybird Beetle Harmonia conformis larvae.

 

Common Assassin Bug - Pristhesancus plagipennis - 5th Instar - 14 May 2018

Common Assassin Bug 5th Instar

 

 

 

 

 

Common Assassin Bug Pristhesancus plagipennis 5th Instar. As the name suggests Assassin Bugs are pest controllers for your garden feeding on spiders and other insects.

Common Methana - Methana marginalis - large nymph - native cocoroach - 14 May 2018

Common Methana

 

 

 

 

Common Methana Methana marginalis large nymph. A native cockroach, the Common Methana are great recyclers turning leaves into soil and food for lizards and birds.

Bark Cockroach - Laxta sp. - 14 May 2018

Bark Cockroach

 

 

 

 

 

Bark Cockroach Laxta sp. are another curious native cockroach working hard to recycle leaf litter.

 

 

Yellow-shouldered Stout Hover Fly - Simosyrphus grandicornis - 14 May 2018

Yellow-shouldered Stout Hover Fly

 

 

 

 

Yellow-shouldered Stout Hover Fly Simosyrphus grandicornis 

 

 

Clairvaux Bushwalkers - Weed Busting - 10 May 2018

Creeping Lantana

 

 

 

 

The Clairvaux Bushwalkers helped the previous week, removing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses* (the asterisk * is used to identify non-native species).

 

Small Dusky Blue - Candalides erinus - topside - 10 May 2018

Small Dusky Blue butterfly feeding

 

 

 

 

 

Small Dusky Blue Candalides erinus butterfly feeding on nectar from the flower of a Purple Fleabane Cyanthillium cinereum. Look for the proboscis: a hollow drinking straw the butterfly unrolls. Natives like the Purple Fleabane are returning as Creeping Lantana is removed.

 

 

 

 

 

On Friday we hosted the Clairvaux Scientists who checked water quality in Mimosa Creek.

 

 

 

Checking acidy - 18 May 2018

Acid Test

 

 

The water sample was then tested with litmus paper which established a healthy neutral water.

 

 

Fiery Skimmer Dragonfly - Orthetrum villosovittatum - 18 May 2018

Fiery Skimmer Dragonfly

 

 

We also spotted a new dragonfly species to add to the species list. Fiery Skimmer Dragonfly Orthetrum villosovittatum

 

Thank you to all the Clairvaux students and staff.

I am looking forward to growing a long partnership restoring Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and learning environmental skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large Tick-trefoil - Desmodium brachypodum - flower close - 26 Mar 2018

Large Tick-trefoil – flower

By: Michael Fox

It is a real pleasure and a bonus of my Bushcare work to find new species to add to our Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Today, botanist Ann Moran, identified the plant I photographed yesterday as Large Tick-trefoil Desmodium brachypodum a new addition to our list of plants found in the Reserve.

Large Tick-trefoil - Desmodium brachypodum - leaf - 26 Mar 2018

Large Tick-trefoil

We have already identified two other native Desmodiums growing in the Reserve:

  • Slender Tick Trefoil Desmodium gunnii
  • Hairy/Rusty Tic-trefoil Desmodium rhytidophyllum

Finding Large Tick-trefoil means we now have two hundred and eighty three native plant species identified in the Reserve.

Large Tick-trefoil - Desmodium brachypodum - seed pod - 26 Mar 2018

Large Tick-trefoil – seed pods

Equal to 20% of the total native species found in the 32 million hectares of the United Kingdom, two hundred and eighty three native plant species is an excellent measure of the species diversity found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

 

Net Casting Spider - Deinopis ravida - female - web - 27 Mar 2018

Net Casting Spider – female

 

 

 

This morning’s find was a different species of the curious Net Casting Spider Deinopis ravida. The two bumps on its sides identifies this as a female.

Net Casting Spiders have a unique way of catching breakfast. They sit with their web held between their front legs ready to quickly spread and trap prey. See the web on lower right of photo.

Watch the action in slow motion: Youtube video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fungi colourBy: Michael Fox

Thanks to our Photography Workshop leader Alan Moore we have an extraordinary fungi tour of colour and shape.

Like what you see?

Register for the 2018 Photography Workshop.

Colour display - 12 March 2018

Colour display 3 - 12 March 2018

Colour display 4 - 12 March 2018

Colour display 5 - 12 March 2018

White fungi 6 March 2018

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Orange Mushrooms - 23 March 2018

Log display - 26 March 2018 lowres

Basidiomycota - red fleshy pore - 8 March 2018

Polypore (Word Decay) - Basidiomycota - 26 March 2018 lowres

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Earth Star - Geastrum triplex - 25 March 2018

Learn make your own photographic story.

Register for the 2018 Photography Workshop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple fungiSunday 27 May

Discover tools to see nature up close to tell your story.

Macro photography is about concentrating on small details. You, the photographer, control subject selection, isolation, lighting, perspective and camera controls to create a spectacular visual narrative.

We will start by running through some camera basics (controls, modes, settings) before exploring how to use camera settings to isolate close-up subjects and get the most from lighting and angles.

Then we put it into practice exploring Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve to find your story to share with the group.

Registration form

 


Koala - Acacia Way - 10 Nov 2017 lowres

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus

By: Michael Fox

 

Walking the Mountain this morning we saw a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos Cacatua galerita high in the trees getting very upset about something. Initially we thought they were getting upset with a murder of Crows in the trees.

Stingless Native Bees Bottle Brush Grass Tree - 10 Nov 2017 lowres

Stingless Native Bee

Then Jude spotted a Koala hanging on for dear life as the Cockatoos and Crows all harried it.

 

In the same area I found tiny Stingless Native Bees Tetragonula sp. collecting nectar and pollen on Bottle Brush Grass Tree Xanthorrhoea macronema flowers.

Look for the pollen on legs.

 

 

Ringtail Possume - dead tree - 10 Nov 2017 lowres

Ringtail Possum nesting in dead tree

 

 

Our last find was a Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus peregrinus asleep in its nest in a dead tree.

 

 

Ringtail Possum nest in dead tree - 10 Nov 2017 lowres

 

 

 

Dead trees (called stags) are an important part of our bushland habitat providing homes for insects, lizards, birds and even Possums.

 

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Photos: Andreas Listle

A beautiful Saturday morning and I met up with an inspiring group students for our regular Griffith Mates OWeek guided walk in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. I vary the walk each time to highlight plants in flower and other special sights and sounds. A highlight this time was meeting Ma Poss (Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula) and her joey. (Baby possums are called ‘joey’.)

 

Checking nest box - collage - 28 Oct 2017

Checking nest box with GoPro and excited students watching on the iPad

 

 

 

Meeting at Mt Gravatt Campus the Griffith Mates team introduced students from Germany, South America, China and Japan all keen to learn more about the Australian bush.

The students were very interested in learning about our native ground orchids: Slender Hyacinth Orchid Dipodium variegatum.

Mycoheterotrophy-NewI explained that, lacking any leaves, these orchids are critically dependent on their relationship with fungi in the ground.  The fungi mycorrhiza, fine root like fibres, feed the underground orchid with organic carbon and minerals collected from roots of adjacent trees.

 

These native orchids cannot survive if removed from the bush as they are totally dependent on their relationship with the fungi.

 

 

 

Along Acacia Way we looked at the unusual Bottle Brush Grass Trees Xanthorrhoea macronema in flower. Looking closely we found Stingless Native Bees (Tetragonula sp.) collecting pollen and nectar.

 

Pardalote sign

Pardalote interpretative sign

 

 

Bird song is an important part of any walk in the Reserve.


Blueberry Lily berries
The QR code on the Pardalote interpretative sign linked to a video of a Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus singing. I introduced the group to the iconic and cheerful song of the Laughing Kookaburras Dacelo novaeguineae

 

Blueberry Lily - 28 Oct 2017 lowres

Blueberry Lily fruit

 

Along Acacia Way we found Settlers Flax Gymnostachys anceps: used by early settlers to sew bags and indigenous people combined it with bark to make fishing line, Blueberry Lily Dianella longifolia and Native Raspberry Rubus moluccanus.

 

Collage 2 - 28 Oct 2017

Leading guided walks with Griffith Mates is always a pleasure … lots of smiles and laughter along the Eastern Outlook Track.

 

Nat Tree Day 2016 planting - 28 Oct 2017 lowres

2016 National Tree Day planting

 

 

A quick stop to inspect results from the 2016 National Tree Day planting: thickening nicely and some trees over 3 metres.

 

 

Curculigo ensifolia - flower - 31 Oct 2017 lowres

Curculigo ensifolia flower

 

Last stop was the 2017 National Tree Day site.

I showed the natural regeneration in the area where the invasive weed Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses was cleared as part of National Tree Day. Nature is very resilient if we give it a chance and the returning natives are strong evidence of the effectiveness of our Bushcare work.

Vicent and tree - 28 Oct 2017 - lowres

Vincent and his tree

 

Vincent took the opportunity to check in on the tree he planted on National Tree Day.

 

 

 

Griffith Mates ... the end - 28 Oct 2017A great walk … everyone seemed to be inspired to return and help with our Bushcare work.

Thanks to Andreas Listle for staying behind the camera and capturing memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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