Roly Chapman Reserve Bushcare


Monkey Rope Vine - 17 July 2015

Vines, ferns and shadows

By: Michael Fox

In some parts of Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve you would think you were in a rainforest miles from anywhere, not in the middle of Brisbane.

One feature of the habitat is the Monkey-rope Vine Parsonsia straminea snaking up the paperbark trees all surrounded by a forest of ferns and deep shadows.

Roly Chapman micro-climate is very different to most of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve, riparian woodland with permanent water in Mimosa Creek. Paperbark trees, Willow Bottlebrush Callistemon salignus, are a significant feature in this wet habitat.

Monkey Rope Vine - close - 17 July 2015

Monkey Rope Vine

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Marshal and I discovered this massive vine once  Small Leafed Privet Ligustrum sinense and Easter Cassia Senna pendula var glabrata were cleared. The thickest Monkey Rope Vine I have found, this seems to be three or four vines that have fused together as they grew.

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Monkey Rope Vine - high - 17 July 2015

Monkey-rope Vine climbing high

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Parsonsia vines are quite aggressive growing high in the trees and even pulling large trees down.

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Common Crow - caterpillar - 11 Mar 12

Common Crow Euploea core
caterpillar

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Parsonsia vines may damage the trees however they are also a caterpillar food plant for Common Crow Euploea core caterpillars.

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Blue Tiger sex brand

Blue Tiger sex brand

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While male Blue Tiger Tirumala hamata may be seen on Parsonsia straminea vines scratching the leaves and collecting alkaloids to be converted to pheromones and stored in sex brands to attract females.

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Blue Tiger - claws 1 - 6 Feb 2015 cropped

Blue Tiger claws

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How can a delicate butterfly scratch a leaf?

Claws. Blue Tiger butterfly claws may be tiny but they are every bit as business like as their namesake cats.

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“Keep up the good work. I can find more worms.”

By: Michael Fox

The locals definitely approve of our Friday Bushcare at Roly Chapman Reserve. Every Friday morning a family of Grey Butcherbirds Cracticus torquatus joins us to hunt worms, spiders and bush cockroaches uncovered as we clear the weeds and let in the sun.

Cheese Tree - regrowth - 19 June 2015 - Roly Chapman

Regrowth of Cheese Trees

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As we clear the weeds and let the light in, Cheese Trees Glochidion and other native species are sprouting new growth.

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Arrowhead Vine Syngonium podophyllum - 19 June 2015 - Roly Chapman

Weed regrowth – Arrowhead Vine

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Unfortunately, letting in the sun also allows the weed species to regenerate. Most weed can be composted on-site, however, in future we will bag and remove any Arrowhead Vine Syngonium podophyllum.

The Weeds of Australia Fact Sheet describes Arrowhead Vine as:

Arrowhead Vine Syngonium podophyllum - roots - 19 June 2015 - Roly Chapman

Roots on Arrowhead Vine

A rampant creeper or climbing plant that grows over other vegetation, often reaching 5-10 m or more in height when climbing larger trees.

Stem segments and cuttings are commonly dispersed in dumped garden waste and woodchips. Once established, a plant will spread outwards, forming a colony, and taking root wherever its stems touch the ground. Stem segments can also be spread by mowers, slashes and floodwaters.

Weeds of Australia Fact Sheet

Most of the weeds in our first compost pile have rotted down to soil. However, the Arrowhead Vine is not composting but growing through up to 300mm of mulch cover to sprout new leaves.Normally we use black plastic to promote heat aid composting and cook weed seeds. Because the current restoration site at Roly Chapman is so close to the path people were removing the plastic covering. A Security Planting of Lomandras beside the track will progressively reduce random access to the restored area.

Small Leaved Privet - bush - 5 June 2015 lr

Small Leaved Privet

By: Michael Fox

Discriminating between environmental weeds and similar looking native species can be difficult at times:

Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) may also be confused with native privet (Ligustrum australianum), which is present in northern and central Queensland. Native privet is not a pest plant. (Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)

Working at Roly Chapman Reserve Bushcare with Liz and Marshal, I was confident we were dealing with a grove of Small Leaved Privet but to be sure I Googled the Ag and Fisheries site.

Small Leaved Privet - 5 June 2015 - cropped

Small Leaved Privet – seeds

The description matched except for “Deep-green finely hairy leaves”. Deep-green was right but the leaves looked smooth not hairy.

Liz and I had both watched Todd Sampson’s Redesign My Brain on ABC the night before. In the series Todd works with Dr. Michael Merzenich, Chief Scientific Officer, Posit Science, to explore brain training. Our sense of touch was one area explored in the program so Liz and I decided to experiment with our sense of touch to detect fine hairs we could not see.

Running our fingers then thumbs over the leaves we could feel the “finely hairy” even though we could not see it. Apparently we have 3,000 touch receptors or neurons in each finger tip. However, we lose neurons as we age reducing our touch sensitivity. Brain training can help compensate for the loss of neurons. Interestingly both Liz and I found that, like Todd, our thumbs were more sensitive to touch.

To actually see the fine hairs on the Privet leaf I had to take a macro-photo with my iPhone and AlloClip adapter. Click on photo to enlarge further.

Small Leaved Privet - finely hairy - 5 June 2015 - cropped

.Small Leaved Privet Ligustrum sinense …. Finely hairy too fine to see? Use your touch instead. Photo: iPhone with alloclip

Easter Cassia flower - 15 May 2015

Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata

By: Michael Fox

Around Easter each year you can see the beautiful yellow splashes of colour in our urban bushland as the environmental weed Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata comes into flower.

Our last Friday Bushcare at Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve focused on clearing Easter Cassia before another season’s crop of seed matures and spreads the weed further.

Easter Cassia seed pods - 15 May 2015

Easter Cassia seed pods

Diamond-leaf Pittosporum - Auranticarpa rhombifolia - 15 May 2015 lr

Australian Holly/Christmas Berry Ardisia crenata

Australian

Easter Cassia produces beautiful flowers for much of the year. However, it also produces large numbers of seed pods spreading from gardens into urban bushland and shading out native plant species.

You can help protect our bushland by replacing Easter Cassia with native Sennas which have yellow flowers, grow to a similar 2 to 3 metres in height and attract a range of butterflies to your garden. See Toowoomba Plants article on native Sennas and butterflies.

Attractive garden plants like Australian Holly/Christmas Berry Ardisia crenata often become environmental weeds in our urban bushland as they are dumped at garden waste or spread by birds. The moist conditions within Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve make this important habitat particularly vulnerable to invasion by Ardisia crenata.

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Chinese Elm - 15 May 2015

Chinese Elm removed with Treepopper

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We also used the Treepopper to remove a well established Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis. Another garden escapee that crowds out native plant species vital to our native birds, butterflies and bees.

When ever possible we avoid using poison. Instead we pull woody weeds up roots and all with the Treepopper.

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Grey Butcherbird - 15 May 2015

Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus

Our bush restoration work is very satisfying as we clear the weeds and watch the regrowth of native habitat. And every Friday as we work we are joined by a family of Grey Butcherbirds Cracticus torquatus looking for breakfast of spiders, centipedes and bush cockroaches. These birds are so used to us now that they will land on a branch right beside you and pose while you take photos or sing cheerful tunes that seem to be thank-you songs.

Willow Bottlebrush -Flower - 20 Mar 2015

Willow Bottlebrush Callistemon salignus

By: Michael Fox

If you want a gentle walk or ride though the bush, Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve is worth a visit and the new cycle path crossing Mimosa Creek expands community access to this special place.

Damselfly - 30 Mar 2015

Damselfly (blue) – not identified

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Kate and Liz inspecting new planting

Walking through the Reserve last Friday morning with Liz Pell, restoration project leader and Kate Flink, BCC Habitat Brisbane, was particularly special as I was immersed in a world filled with the scent of honey from the flowering Willow Bottlebrush trees Callistemon salignus and the chattering of dozens of Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus drunk on the nectar.

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Mimosa Creek in flood – 23 March 2015

Roly Chapman Bushland is very different to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve because it has permanent water flowing though Mimosa Creek. Walk quietly as you cross Mimosa Creek. It is common to see turtles in the creek, Eastern Water Dragons Pogona barbata sunning on the rocks. Last Friday Dragonflies and Damselflies were also everywhere resting on leaves or skimming over the water.

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Post flood – no damage to planting

The new cycle path  is a credit to the Brisbane City Council Bikeways Project team and the contractors who did the work. The BCC designers minimised the impact on this sensitive habitat. The new track weaves to reduce loss of trees and, at the same time, creating an interesting and pleasant route instead of a straight strip of concrete. Even the installation of cabling for lights minimised impact on trees by using vacuum excavation around the roots.

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The quality of the restoration planting is evidenced by seeing virtually no damage after the flood water over the track in January. None of the new Lomandras were lost and the fibre matting is hardly disturbed.

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Orchard Swallowtail caterpillar - 20 Mar 2015

Orchard Swallowtail caterpillar

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Further along the track only one of the new trees has been lost – we normally consider anything than 80% survival is very good for restoration planting. Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus butterflies are already breeding on the advanced Crow’s Ash Flindersia australis planted.

Roly Chapman - Zone 2 - 27 Feb 2015

Restoration team at work – Liz, Heather, Eloise & Lincon

By: Michael Fox

Our Roly Chapman restoration team has made good progress clearing Guinea Grass Panicum maximum, Sword/Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia and Easter Cassia Senna pendula from Zone 2.

Natural regen - Zone 2 - 27 Feb 2015

Parsonsia vine, Creeping Beard Grass, Slender Grape and Native Wandering Jew (blue flower)

Bushland restoration can be slow as breaking the cycle of weeds retuning means removing seeds and roots left in the ground. Seed heads need to be clipped off Guinea Grass then bagged. Fishbone Fern is particularly slow as all the brown fibrous roots need to be dug up and bagged for removal, leaves can be composted on-site.

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Marshal chatting to a local Magpie

However, watching the natural regeneration of native species provides inspiration to keep going with the work. Each time we come on-site the Slender Grape Cayratia clematidea, Wombat Berry Eustrephus latifolius, Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Native Wandering Jew Commelina diffusa and Parsonsia vines are returning where the weeds have been removed.

Restoration of Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve will take another ten or twenty years however with the new cycle path and bridge over Mimosa Creek this is already becoming a special place to walk or cycle.

Water Dragon - 16 Oct 2014

Eastern Water Dragon

Marshal and I took at walk through the Reserve to check out the fungi that has appeared after the rain. Eastern Water Dragons Physignathus lesueurii and turtles can often be seen beside the causeway across Mimosa Creek. This morning it was just a family of Australian Magpies Gymnorhna tibicen. One Magpie was particularly taken with Marshal when he stopped for a chat.

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Yellow Fleshy Pore Fungi

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Some beautiful fungi fruit have appeared, like the Yellow Fleshy Pore Fungi with its charismatic underside with pores rather than the more common finned underside. Click on image to enlarge.

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White Mushroom fungi - 27 Feb 2015

White gilled fungi in composting weeds

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This white gilled fungi is growing out of one the weed composting piles.

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Gilled fungi - 27 Feb 2015

Gilled fungi

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Delicate gilled fungi.

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Mushroom cluster - 27 Feb 2015

Gilled fungi cluster

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Gilled fungi cluster on stick.

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Laughing Kookaburra

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While we are working we always have local wildlife visiting. Laughing Kookaburras Dacelo novaeguineae and Grey Butcherbirds Cracticus torquatus arrive as soon as we start clearing weeds exposing small insects and spiders.

Grey Butcherbird - 27 Feb 2015

Grey Butcherbird looking for breakfast

Track sign Roly Chapman - 29 Oct 2014 - lowres

Cr Krista Adams – new bike path map

By: Michael Fox

Photography: Alan Moore

Inspecting the new bike path through Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve today with  Cr Krista Adams, I commented on the professionalism and design sensitivity the BCC Bikeways Project team and contractors working is a sensitive habitat area.

Cr Krista Adams is a strong supporter of our bush restoration work and keen to explore ways to balance pressure of our urban environment with valuable bushland remnant habitat.

Brisbane best bike path - 29 Oct 2014

Path curves to minimise tree loss

The Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan identified the bike path will support long term investment in habitat restoration within Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve as community access is enhanced. The more community members value the Reserve as peaceful place to walk or ride, the more the City Council can allocate to habitat restoration and building wild life corridors.

Connecting with the existing path, near the Hoad Street entry to the Reserve, the new bike/walking path weaves its shady way among valuable Ironbarks, Scribbly Gums and Queensland Blue Gums – Koala’s favorite food tree, before crossing Mimosa Creek to link with the Klumpp Road Park & Ride.

Vegetation Communities and Connectivity Options BAAM

Vegetation Communities – BAAM 2011

Thoughtful planning has been critical to minimise impacts on vegetation as it is boarded by two significant remnant vegetation communities identified in the 2011 BAMM corridor assessment report.

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Restoration Mimosa Creek crossing

Aside from minimising tree loss with carefully planned curves, the design required the path to be laid above ground to reduce the impact excavation would have on tree roots. Running cabling for lights still required excavation however impact was reduced by use of vacuum excavation around significant tree roots. Were trees did have to be removed the logs were distributed in the bush to create habitat required by species like Echidnas that dig for insects living under fallen timber.

Wildlife Furniture - Mimosa Creek - 30 Oct 2014

Flow disruptors to support fish movement in flood conditions

Crossing Mimosa Creek was sensitive and restoration a work particularly important to manage erosion. One  bonus was removal of a large area of invasive Balloon Vine Cardiospermum grandiflorum and Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia, as well as, a large Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora.

One unexpected design feature was installation of animal or wildlife furniture in the creek crossing. I had never heard to term “wildlife furniture” before Krista introduced the term when we inspected the creek crossing. BCC designers draw on a range of “furniture” used to create wildlife corridors for everything koalas and gliders to lizards.

In this case heavy water flows in local flood conditions required the installation flow disruptors to allow fish and turtles to move upstream.

Working with the huge City Council bureaucracy can be frustrating, however, the size of the organisation means that it also has the capacity to draw on high quality expert teams for projects.

(l-r) Len Kann, Michael Fox, Laurie Deacon

(l-r) Len Kann, Michael Fox, Laurie Deacon

By: Michael Fox

I joined our President – Laurie Deacon and Len Kann at Mt Gravatt Bowls Club on Saturday to celebrate Queensland Day and join Ian Walker MP, Cr Krista Adams and other community members acknowledging some of the special volunteers who keep our sports teams operating or provide  support for the most vulnerable people in our community.

Southside Sport & Community Club every year provide generous support for community groups with the Community Grants Scheme. Mt Gravatt Environment Group has received a grant that will allow us to purchase specialised equipment for our bush restoration teams. We now have seven teams restoring bushland sites around the mountain and building a Pollinator Link garden at Mt Gravatt SHS.

Southside’s generous support has already allowed us to purchase a chipper for recycling weed trees and GoPro camera used to monitor nesting boxes installed at Fox Gully Bushcare site.

 

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Upper Mt Gravatt Scouts Clean Up Team

By: Michael Fox

My father was a Scout Leader in Nambour when I was growing up so I sure he would have loved to be there today with the cheerful group I joined for Clean Up Australia in Roly Chapman Reserve.

Robyn, left, is Group Leader of the dynamic Upper Mt Gravatt Scout Group. Robyn glowed with pride as she told me today that she has just signed up five new youth members!

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Rain don’t stop Scouts!

Scouts are not put off by a bit rain. Even water over the bridge did not slow them down. Event organiser Brett thought they may have to cancel yesterday when Mimosa Creek was over the rails but by 10pm last night the level had dropped so the Clean Up was on.

Patrolling Mimosa Creek

Patrolling Mimosa Creek

Ten parents and youth members signed on today braving rain, flooded tracks and lots of mud, to removed countless drink containers, an old car tyre swing and large pieces of metal and wood.

It was a real pleasure to work with a group who can laugh and have fun even on a rainy day.

By: Michael Fox

Key threats to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve:

Southern Star 14 November 2012

Geoff and Jeanette are proud of our community and take great pride in their part of the Fox Gully corridor. So it is understandable that they get a bit frustrated with the careless behaviour of individuals rubbishing our streets, particularly when that rubbish will be washed into peaceful Mimosa Creek.

Changing the behaviour of individuals waiting for a bus stop can be difficult. However, an important step is to ensure that there is a simple alternative for disposing of their drink bottle or chip packet.

Mimosa Creek – Roly Chapman Reserve


Cr Krista Adams
has now committed Council to ensuring that the bin is emptied regularly and possibly replaced with a larger bin. Ideally a combination rubbish recycling bin.

Mimosa Creek, Roly Chapman Reserve just behind PCYC.

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