Wildlife


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Compost pile Creeping Lantan - 15 Aug 2017 lr

Creeping Lantana removed into piles

The old car park area will be restored as the 500 plants mature and spread.

Nature will now take over natural regeneration of the 500 square metres of Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses* cleared by the Lantana Buster Team on National Tree Day.

Seed stock of native grasses like Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus will still be in the soil and with the Lantana not suppressing regrowth the grasses will return with the summer rain.

Griffith Mates - 25 April 2015

Griffith Mates clear the last weeds

 

The work of our Griffith Mates partners shows the effectiveness of natural regeneration techniques. The team removed the last Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia* from Fox Gully Bushcare Zone 8 in April 2015. Note the bare ground.

 

 

Graceful Grass - Ottochloa gracillima - 14 Aug 2017

Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2017 and Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima is returning naturally. Second hand decking timber is reused to manage erosion on the steep slope and collect leaf litter to retain moisture.

 

Shelter for lizards - 15 Aug 2017 lr

Lizard highways

 

 

 

Providing Shelter for wildlife helps nature bring the wildlife back to the site.

The piles of fallen branches are restored to the site to create lizard highways across the areas cleared of Creeping Lantana.

Eastern Bearded Dragon - Pogona barbata - 1 Aug 2017

Eastern Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata

 

 

 

Lizards like this young Eastern Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata are at risk crossing the bare weed-free ground. Creating lizard highways allows these cute creatures to stay safe while they hunt for lunch.

By: Michael Fox

 

In June 2013 a young neighbour Liam knocked on my door with an moth caterpillar in a box. A Large Anthelid Moth – Anthela canescens caterpillar.

 

I learnt a lot studying Liam’s caterpillar particularly about defense mechanisms. The Anthela canescens has non-envenomating (no venom) hairs that produce a mechanical irritation on contact. The hairs are fragile and easily dislodged from the caterpillar, they adhere to the surface of skin when the caterpillar is contacted.

Other moth caterpillars like the curious Mottled Cup Moth caterpillar Doratifera vulnerans have more active defenses with venomous spines they deploy along their sides like a galleon running out its canons. The venom is not dangerous but does pack a sting if you brush against the caterpillar.

So I was pleased to find a Large Anthelid Moth yesterday. So I now know what Liam’s caterpillar would grow into.

large-anthelid-moth-anthela-canescens-front-cropped-2-nov-2016

Large Anthelid Moth plumose antennae

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I was fascinated by the moth’s “furry” plumose antennae.

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large-anthelid-moth-anthela-canescens-plumose-antennae-2-nov-2016

Close-up showing antennae hairs

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“There are many variations in both the shape and the amount of bristles in plumose antennae. In moths, the plumose antennae of the males act as chemoreceptors and enable them to detect pheremones given off by the female. The hairs on each antenna significantly increases the receptive surface area so that even the most minute chemical changes in the environment can be detected.”

University of Sydney Biological Sciences 

I have updated the Flora & Fauna files.

Check what other moths are found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

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Join Griffith Mates for the Ochna Blitz Challenge!

Saturday 24 September 8am to 11am

Map

2016 National Tree Day planting

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Location: Junction of Geebung and Federation Tracks (behind green water reservoir)

We will do a walk through the National Tree Day planting and some light weeding then move onto the Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata.

The planting site is looking great with trees and vines planted in 2015 now flowering and producing seed. A Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcata is already hosting caterpillars of the Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras butterfly.

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The caterpillar is protected by “Kropotkin” ants – Small Meat Ant Iridomyrmex sp. The ants provide protection in return for sugary fluids secreted by caterpillar. Imperial Hairstreaks will only return to breed where both caterpillar food plants and the ants are present.
Kropotkin is a reference to Russian biologist Peter Kropotkin who proposed a concept of evolution based on “mutual aid” between species helping species from ants to higher mammals survive.

The combination of rain and clearing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis means the Ochna is thriving and it is covered in flowers and seeds. However, the rain also means must easier to pull our either by hand or Treepopper.

 

Jisu - Elkhorn and Basket ferns 31 -Aug 2016 lowres

Jisu fascinated by Elkhorn and Basket Ferns growing on a rock

By: Michael Fox

I introduced Korean student Jisu to our wildlife and native plants in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve while walking to Mt Gravatt Campus.

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Kangaroo on a bus - 31 Aug 2016 lowres

I like my new mum

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Jisu is keen to meet a Koala but neither of us expected to meet a Kangaroo on the Griffith Inter-campus. This youngster was happily nestled into his substitute pouch on the wildlife carer’s lap.

Koala - climbing - Miranda Scott - 11 June 2016

By: Michael Fox

Fox Gully neighbours Miranda, Scott and children, Freya and Clementine, had a special wildlife experience today.

Walking the Geebung Track just near the National Tree Day planting site the family spotted a Koala Phascolarctos cinereus on the ground beside a tree. They managed to get a special photo of the Koala reaching up to climb a tree.

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Koala - Scott and Miranda - 11 June 20161

                                                                Koala beside Geebung Track

The family’s sighting has been added to Koala Tracker and our Google Earth map of wildlife sightings.

Google Map - Koalas 2016

                      Koala sightings 2016

Koala 8 June 2016

Koala in Tallowwood

8 June 2016

Healthy-looking Koala at Gertrude Petty Place 

He (or she) was in a large Tallowwood between public housing at 59 Gosford Street and footpath from Gertrude Petty Place to Federation Outlook this afternoon. Was quite high up so this is the best I could do with my Iphone.

Also two quite large microbats patrolling GPP at 5.15pm tonight.

Sue Jones

 

Koala - Phascolarctos cinereus - 23 Apr 2016

Koala – Federation Track

23 April 2016

Griffith Mates – Lantana Busters

Our Griffith Mates bushcare partners were very happy to find a Koala beside the Federation Track heading down to Granby Street.

 

 

 

Koala - Vittal - 17 April 2016

Koala – Federation Track

17 April 2016

Koala along Federation Track 

We are sighting a koala bear for last two weeks, during a trek to Mount Gravatt lookout.
Today, we sighted them on top of a eucalyptus tree 100m from carpark near Logan Road entry. Last week, sighted them near Federation lookout.

Attaching pictures of the same to inform respective authority.

Vittal

 

 

Koala - Upper Ekibin Creek - Pieter D. 9 April 2016 close

Koala – Ekibin Creek – P. Demmers

9 April 2016

Koala – Ekibin Creek Pollinator Link

 

 

 

 

 

 

Koala - Fox Gully 10 Dec 2016 - Maria Hill adj

Koala – Fox Gully

 

Koala – Fox Gully Pollinator Link

Maria, Matt and their children often find Koalas in the trees right behind their house.

In January 2013 the family had a Koala mum and joey visiting.

Photo: Maria Hill

 

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