Wildlife


By: Michael Fox

How many Koalas are there in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve? I am often asked that question.

As part of our 2021 Koala Drinker Research Project and work by Peter Demmers we know there are at least thirteen individual Koalas in the Reserve. We now have a couple with excellent Koala spotting skills they share with other visitors by marking sightings with an arrow on the track.

If you see an arrow on the track, pause look around and say hi to our special locals.

By: Michael Fox

Michelle, Phil and Benno

Our Tuesday Bushcare team relocated this week to help Pieter Demmers with his restoration of Coucal Corner on one of the Mountain gullies feeding into Ekibin Creek.

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Coucal Corner is named after the beautiful Pheasant Coucals Centropus phasianinus that live in the gullies. Listen for the characteristic ‘oop-oop-oop-opp’ call. Our Coucals feed on the ground on large insects, frogs, lizards, eggs and young of birds so they need a scrubby habitat that attracts their food. Norman Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (N4C) contributed two hundred and fifty local grasses, vines, shrubs and trees for the restoration.

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One of the locals, a Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides, was supervising our work.

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We also found a Union-Jack Wolf Spider Tasmanicosa godeffroyi … ideal food for a foraging Coucal.

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Koala Mum and Joey – Fox Gully Bushcare

By: Michael Fox

Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve has no permanent water and no safe access to water or breeding opportunities in surrounding bushland.

The Koala Drinker research is providing vital baseline information on the potential of providing water for wildlife to maintain and strengthen populations of  vulnerable Koala Phascolarctos cinereus and other species in isolated urban bushland habitats. The Koala Drinker Research Project is supported by Communities Environment Program and sponsored by Ross Vasta MP.

Combined with the excellent Koala fencing built by Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland) keeping Koalas from being killed on the Motorway water for wildlife drinkers will strengthen the Koala population in the Reserve.

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Concept Koala bridge – Cr Steven Huang

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We are also working with Cr Steve Huang on his concept for a wildlife bridge across Klumpp Road from the bottom of Fox Gully to the Hibiscus Sports Complex then Mimosa Creek.

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One very clear result of our research is how water for wildlife is valued by a wide range of species, particularly with over 6,000 visits by birds in a 6 month period. Special visitors are three bird species not previously identified in the Reserve: Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus, White-throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis and Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops.

Some of birds using the Koala Drinkers:

Other regular visitors to the water include Lace Monitors Varanus varius, Sugar Gliders Petaurus breviceps, Brush-tail Possums Trichosurus vulpecula, Koalas Phascolarctos cinereus, Long-tailed Rat (Research required to identify). The wildlife cameras also captured Wallabies and a European Red Fox Vulpes vulpes.

White Throated Honeyeater is one of the species added to Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Griffith Mates at work - 1 Mar 2020

Weeding Team in action

By: Michael Fox

I love our annual Clean Up when the community turns out to help maintain our special Reserve. Heather Woods, our event coordinator, registered our largest ever team:
  • 75 Volunteers;
  • 66 Adults; and
  • 9 Children (under 16)

Dainty Swallowtail - Papilio anactus - 1 Mar 2020

Dainty Swallowtail Papilio anactus

 

The reduction in rubbish to be cleaned up means the largest group joined the Weeding Team this year.

We are working with the Council Rangers and Habitat Brisbane team to prepare the site for the 2020 National Tree Day Planting on Sunday, 02 August. Special focus will be planting species that enhance the visitor experience by attracting butterflies, like the beautiful Dainty Swallowtail Papilio anactus, while maintaining the views to the city and Glass House Mountains.

Weeds cleared - 1 Mar 2020

Huge area of Guinea Grass and Creeping Lantana cleared

 

The weeding team did a great job clearing a huge area of Guinea Grass Panicum maximum, Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and Glycine Neonotonia wightii. Clearing the weeds and removing trip hazards is the first step in site preparation for planting.

 

 

Blue Banded Bee - Amegilla cingulata - 1 Mar 2020

Blue Banded Bee visiting Blue Tongue flower

 

Species for planting will be based on our research for Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Blue Tongue or Native Lasiandra Melastoma affine, currently flowering at the Lookout, is very popular with the solitary native bees in the Reserve. Like Blue Banded Bees Amegilla cingulata

Other species observed on the day were Great Carpenter Bees Xylocopa sp., Stingless Native Bees Trigona sp., and caterpillars of Glasswing Acraea andromacha and Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras butterflies and Pale Brown Hawk Moth Theretra latreillii.

Guide on Patrol 2 - 1 Mar 2020

Guide on Patrol

 

Meanwhile the Rubbish Teams were busy around the Summit and along the roadway collecting the usual fastfood packages and some strange parts fallen off cars.

 

 

 

Griffith Mates Team - 1 Mar 2020

Griffith Mates Bushcare Team

 

 

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Heather with rubbish collection

 

 

 

Thank you to all the community members, the Holland Park Girl Guides and Griffith Mates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Heather Woods for organising the event.

By: Michael Fox

Sheamus O’Connor, Group Leader of Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare, reported on the Group’s first event for 2020 with sad news:

“Unfortunately, an injured koala was found about 50m down from GPP, up on the hill, sitting at the bottom of a tree. She had been bitten by a dog on her wrist and was very sick from infection. Angela, the local wildlife rescuer, collected her however has little hope in full recovery. Let’s hope she recovers.

We’ve got signs now but that is obviously not enough, people ignore them and continue to have their dogs off lead. What will it take for people to take responsibility for their pets?” Sheamus Dog Kills Koala - Feb 2020 adj

 

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As reported in the Southern Star this week the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus did not survive this dog attack.

It is very disappointing that irresponsible individuals still ignore the signs and let their dogs run loose in the Reserve.

Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve is a special place with a wide diversity of flora and fauna including a healthy breeding population of Koalas appreciated by tourists, international students and even increasing property values in the area.

Dogs off-leash are also a problem for walkers with children or people walking their own dogs on-leash. For other people, even a well behaved dog off-leash creates uncertainty because they don’t know how that strange dog will behave around their children or their dog.

Unfortunately, we have reports that challenging walkers with dogs off-leash is often met with aggressive rudeness. So consider simply taking a photo, from a distance, and reporting to Brisbane City Council call centre on 07 3403 8888.

Dogs do love to run loose, so consider visiting the local Abbeville Street Park off-leash area or look for one of the other 150 City Council dog off-leash areas

 

 

By: Michael Fox

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

Fruit Piercing Moth Eudocima fullonia

The Clairvaux Bushcare Team are not only great at clearing weeds they also love finding wildlife and added a new moth species to our Flora & Fauna for Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve database: Fruit Piercing Moth Eudocima fullonia

 

 

Hairy Mary - Anthela varia 2 - 22 June 2019

Hairy Mary Anthela varia

 

Morag McKinnon found a Hairy Mary Anthela varia moth caterpillar at Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare.

The Hairy Mary caterpillar has stiff spines that tend to break off in your skin and make it itchy.

Flora & Fauna Moths

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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

Enter a caption

 

 

 

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.

Sunrise - 29 July 2018

Morning sun over site – A. Moore

By: Michael Fox

A beautiful warm sunny morning greets volunteers arriving to be part of restoration of our special mountain bushland.

 

 

 

Brisbane First Chinese Scouts - 29 July 2018 lr

Sienna welcomes Brisbane First Chinese Scouts

 

 

 

 

Our 2018 National Tree Day is particularly special as we welcome many individuals and groups who have been part of past events as well as some new groups like Brisbane First Chinese Scouts.

 

Clarivaux Bushcarers - 11 June 2018 - lr

Clairvaux Bushcarers in action

 

 

Preparing for National Tree Day events takes our Fox Gully Bushcare team about twelve months of removing rubbish, weeding and laying out planting site. The BCC Habitat Brisbane supported us with delivery and spreading of mulch, water tank and plants for the event.

Clairvaux MacKillop College students have been working with us this year to prepare the National Tree Day site.

Planting

It is very satisfying when 97 community  volunteers come together to build on our work by planting 700 grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and vines to create more habitat for small birds.

I love weeding

The weeding team cleared a huge area of Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus reducing bushfire risk and allowing natural regeneration of native grasses and vines.

Community groups participating:

ahmadiyya team with Steve Huang - 29 July 2018

Ahmadiyya Team with Cr Steve Huang

The Ahmadiyya team, great supporters of our National Tree Day returning for the fourth year in 2018, shared their positive message of “Love for All, Hatred for None” with Cr Steve Huang.

Australian Ahmadi Muslims supported National Tree Day in many sites around Australia sharing their contribution in a special video including an interview with me.

Grilled Team - 29 July 2018

Grill’d Corporate Team

A new group this year was the Grill’d team from their Garden City restaurant.

 

Thank you to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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