Wildlife of Mt Gravatt Reserve


wild-cowpea-vigna-vexilata-var-augutifolia-17-dec-2016

Wild Cow Pea Vigna vexillata var. augustifolia

By: Michael Fox

Finding a Wild Cow Pea Vigna vexillata var. augustifolia brings the number of native plant species found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve to two hundred and seventy eight.

Two hundred and seventy eight native species in our 66 hectare Reserve is equal to 20% of all native plant species in Great Britain which has 22.6 million hectares. The extra ordinary species diversity in the Reserve is something worth protecting and valuing.

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koala-gpp4-20-dec-2016

Koala Mum & Joey

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As well as plant diversity the Reserve has a healthy population of breeding Koalas.

Andrew Wallace our BCC Habitat Brisbane Officer spotted this mother and joey (baby Koala) at Gertrude Petty Place a couple of weeks ago. This is one of at least two joeys born in the Reserve during 2016. There have been twenty-three Koala sightings reported in 2016

Please keep reporting the sightings: photo (phone camera photos are fine), approximate location, date time. Your reports are important evidence that helps us get ongoing funding and support for our restoration work.

google-map-koalas-2016

Koala sightings 2016

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Citizen Scientists checking nest boxes - 27 Aug 2016 low res

Citizen Scientists using iPads to check nest box

By: Michael Fox

On Saturday morning our Griffith Mates partners joined us at the National Tree Day planting site for some Citizen Science: doing an initial check on the nest boxes installed in July, to see if any boxes were occupied and meeting some of the local wildlife.

Carl checking Boobook Owl box - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Carl checking BooBook Owl box

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I led the team on an off track adventure to reach the nest boxes. While Carl operated the GoPro camera on the extendable pole the ground crew monitored on iPads using WiFi connection.

Carl became a real professional keeping the tall wobbly pole under control while he lifted the lid on each box and inserted the camera.

Lantana Busters - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Lantana Busters at work

Not surprisingly none of the boxes had been occupied in the short time since installation. However, it is valuable to get a information on how long it takes before boxes are adopted.

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Then is was back through the bush to the Lantana Busting site.

Scolopendrid centipede - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Scolopendrid centipede – tail to left

1,600 square metres of Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis were cleared and raked into swales on National Tree Day. Now we are doing the detail work of clearing the remaining roots to eradicate this invasive garden escapee.

There is an amazing about of wildlife among the leaf litter as well as in the trees. We disturbed a Scolopendrid centipede which I think Baoyi wanted to keep as a pet. Be careful handling centipedes as they may bite if disturbed or handled. The bite may cause severe pain and associated swelling.

Griffith Mates team - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Home made cakes a reward for hard work. (l-r) Sophie, Jocelyn, Harry, Baoyi, Carl, Amanda and Dana in front

Centipedes are predatory and will kill and consume a variety of other invertebrates such as spiders, molluscs, many insects, slaters and other centipedes. Prey is usually immobilised by venom injected through the fangs and then torn into pieces by the mandibles and the soft parts are eaten.

All that hard work deserves a reward. Thanks to Mt Gravatt Environment Group member Dana for the home made cakes.

By: Michael Fox

Alan presenting crop

Alan Moore introduced contre jour

At our 2016 Photography Workshop Alan Moore introduced us to a new way of seeing the bush around us … contre jour: French for “against daylight”, a technique in which the view is directly toward a source of light. A form of photography artistry Alan related to French impressionists like Claude Monet.

Alan challenged participants to experiment with their camera’s manual settings like aperture and exposure before sending them out on assignment to see nature in a new light.

See ferns in a new light:

IMG_9634

Fiona

Katrina

Katrina

Playing with camera flair:

Kate 1

Kate

Dana - 15 May 2016

Dana

Lyn C

Lyn

Jude

Jude

Gregg

Gregg

Greg

Greg

Margaret

Margaret

Nat

Nat

Marie

Marie

Misting spider webs to catch the light:

Tricia

Tricia

Fiona

Fiona

X-ray view of leaves:

Tony

Tony

Maree

Maree

Forget contra jour and just meet the locals:

Toni

Toni

The 2017 Photography Calendar will be available in November ready for posting to family or friends overseas.

Morning Mist - 30 June 2015

Winter sun through the mist

By: Michael Fox

Winter is a great time to walk in the bush in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Misty mornings, bright sunny days and no summer heat.

The light in winter is special – softer. Winter light helps you see and photograph the bush in different ways.

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Acacia leiocalyx  - flower - Jun 07

Early Black Wattle Acacia leiocalyx

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Explore the mountain tracks and discover the winter flowers.

Early Black Wattle Acacia leiocalyx is just past its best.

Also called Lamb’s Tail Wattle, it is a key food supply for caterpillars of Imperial Hairstreak butterflies – Jalmenus evagoras. Look for the caterpillars around February-March.

Learn to identify Early Black Wattle with the winter flowers so you can find the trees in summer. The red colour and triangular shape of the stems are key identifiers.

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Acacia fimbriata - flower - 5 Aug 10

Brisbane Fringed Wattle Acacia fimbriata

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Brisbane Fringed Wattle Acacia fimbriata is now coming into flower.

With its bright yellow ball shaped flowers this is one of the most attractive trees in the forest.

Once the Acacia fimbriata produces seeds it is very popular with the spectacular King Parrots Alisterus scapularis.

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Blackthorn Bursaria spinosa - 12 June 2015

Blackthorn Bursaria spinosa

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Blackthorn Bursaria spinosa flowers all year.

As the name suggests Blackthorn, with its spiky habit, is useful for Security Planting keeping people out of bushland areas and protecting small forest birds from larger more aggressive birds.

Blackthorn nectar is also popular with butterflies like the Blue Tiger Tirumala hamata.

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Black She-oak Allocasuarina littoralis is one of the most interesting trees flowering at the moment. In March the male Black She-oaks started producing their flowers showing up as the russet brown tips with the trees glowing in direct winter sunlight. Female Black She-oaks only started to produce their distinctive red flowers in June.

Allocasuarina  male female

…………. Black She-oak Allocasuarina littoralis – (left) male (right) female

Erebus Moth - 15 Mar 2015

Erebus Moth Erebus terminitincta

By: Michael Fox

I identified another moth species yesterday in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve – Erebus Moth Erebus terminitincta. (Identified using Brisbane Insects website)

At 100mm wingspan it is quite a large moth for south east Queensland.

Erebus Moth - close - 15 Mar 2015

Soft hairlike scales around the head

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The eye spots on this moth are spectacular and it seems to have a layered wing creating an interested 3D effect.

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Lilioceris bakewelli - Feb09

Red Narrow-necked Leaf Beetle Lilioceris bakewelli

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Caterpillars of this moth feed on Barbedwire Vine Smilax australis. The only other species I have found that feeds on this tough vine is the Red Narrow-necked Leaf Beetle Lilioceris bakewelli.

Exocarpos cupressiformis - 22 Nov 2014By: Michael Fox

Identification of Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis brings to two hundred and seventy-four plant species identified within Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

 Mt Gravatt Then and Now, Mt Gravatt Historical Society, records that in July 1883 our local Mt Gravatt community convinced the state government to protect the Reserve which had previously been logged as railway timber reserve.

In 2014 it is our turn to protect this unique high diversity habitat. The 274 native plant species our 66 hectare Reserve is equal to 11% of of all species in Great Britain which is 22.6 million hectares.

Protecting and restoring this habitat is a whole of community effort with Griffith Mates joining our Bushcare teams, Mt Gravatt Kindy protecting their part of the habitat and installing nest boxes  so the next generation learns, Mt Gravatt State High School and Fox Gully neighbours supporting efforts to build Pollinator Link wildlife corridors linking the Reserve to other habitats.

Koalas breeding successfully is one measure of our progress.

Koala Mum & Joey

Koala Mum & Joey

By: Michael Fox

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus breeding season is roughly August to February.

For some weeks we have been listening to the fighting, bellowing, screaming at night and this morning a Koala mum and baby was sitting in an Acacia just beside the Farm Fire Trail.

Koala Life Cycle poster – Australian Koala Foundation

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Koalas are returning to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. An extraordinary example of the resilience of nature if we give it a chance. As recently as August 1927 over 500,000 Queensland Koalas were hunted for their pelts.

“From 1 to 31 August 1927, Queensland held what was to be the last open hunting season on koalas in Australia. David Stead, President of the Wild Life Preservation Society of Australia, warned that 300,000 would be killed. This figure was ridiculed in certain quarters, but as later events would show, even Stead underestimated the carnage. The Annual Report of the Department of Agriculture and Stock for the year1927-28 gives the number of koalas “secured” as being 584,738.”

Dog off - 9 Oct 2014

Pick-up after your dog

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Hunting is no longer a threat however in our urban environment dogs are a threat to the returning Koalas. A quick bite, even from a small dog, can kill through infection or shock.
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My dog would only play with it. Even a quick bite is enough to kill a Koala. A Koala’s skin is very pliable, with little fat for protection, and internal organs are easily punctured. Some Koalas may appear to have survived a dog attack with very few visible signs of external trauma but may be suffering from internal injuries and may die later from shock or infection. Stress alone might also be enough to trigger other problems such as disease.
During breeding season it is particularly important to keep dogs on a leash within the Reserve and pick up after your dog.

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