Wildlife of Mt Gravatt Reserve


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:

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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.

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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.
Geocaching family - Southern Star - Sept 2014

Southern Star – 24 September 2014

By: Michael Fox

Marshal Kloske and I met the Wood family at Mt Gravatt Summit the morning they were there to meet the Southern Star photographer and we were there to photograph butterfly mating displays as part of our research for the new interpretative track signs.

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Noisy Miner chicks calling for food

Marshal showed the family the large new sign with maps and information about local history and environment. Like most people the family were surprised to learn about the local “glow-in-the-dark” mushrooms and they were very interesting our research and restoration work.

Nest watching

Nest watching team in action

Heather, Eloise and Lincoln then joined Liz, Marshal and I on Wednesday afternoon for our regular Fox Gully Bushcare. Knowing we would be joined by young children, I planned a special afternoon of activities including checking the nest-boxes and making a portable plant nursery to propagate native seedlings for re-vegetation work. When the family arrived we found out that Marshal and I are now officially called “the Bush Men” … definitely an honour.

First stop was to check on the Noisy Miner family nesting in the Lillypilly hedge. A mobile scaffold makes an ideal place to look down into the nest. Checking the nest boxes we found two Squirrel Gliders at home in one nest box and three possibly four Gliders in another box.

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Kids and sand – always a success

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Watering in with Seasol

The next job is potting up Creeping Beard or Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus and Love Flower Pseuderanthemum variable. Rainforest Grass is ideal for creating Living Mulch that keeps the weeds down, controls erosion, feeds butterflies and creates a natural fire break with its low fuel load. Love Flower spreads rapidly in the garden and is considered of nuisance by some gardeners. However, this pretty little native herb is host plant for the caterpillars of a number of butterflies including Australian Leafwing Doleschallia bisaltide and Varied Eggfly Hypolimnas bolina. Also Bearded Dragons Pogona barbata like to eat the flowers.

First Eloise and Lincoln helped build a self-watering seedling nursery … sand and water … a recipe forfun.

The idea for this neat seedling nursery came from a Gardening Australia segment on building a simple hothouse. It was a productive and fun afternoon. I will provide an update on the success of the seedling nursery which may become a valuable project for Pollinator Link gardeners.

By: Michael Foximg272

Aldi have bought back their excellent, and at $129 excellent value, Maginon wildlife cameras. If you want one be quick because they will sell out fast.

We have been using two of an older version of these cameras for a couple of years now with excellent results. This new one is of course better with higher resolution video and sound recording. Sound recording would be great at the moment when we are capturing video of the very shy Noisy Pitta living in Firefly Gully. Marshal can hear its call but our camera does not handle sound.

The only issue we have found with these cameras is the intensity of the infrared leds used for video. I have fixed this with masking tape covering two thirds of the leds to reduce the intensity and make the camera less noticeable to our Squirrel Gliders.

See some samples:

Noisy Pitta – day time in colour

Koala at night

Squirrel Gliders at night

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