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Bush Monsters raring to go!

By: Michael Fox

Heather (Woods) and the Bush Monsters again led the charge for our 2017 Clean Up Australia.

Thirty four participants, including a babe in arms: it is good to see them starting young, and other family groups were broken into three teams:

  • Summit Team – cleaning up the picnic area
  • Road Team – picking up fast food packets
  • Weeding Team – clearing Mother-of- Millions and Asparagus Ferns
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Carl, Jean and future     bush lover

Joe Kelly MP Member for Greenslopes and Matt Campbell joined the Summit Team cleaning up the picnic area.

Thanks to the work of Brisbane City Council maintenance crews the picnic area is generally tidy these days. However, Clean Up Co-ordinator Heather focused the Team on detailed job of collecting pieces of broken glass. It is important to keep the picnic area safe for kids to run barefoot in the park.

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Dolcin Family on Summit Team

I think the Road Team needed a third type of rubbish bag specially branded as McDonalds Rubbish. While the Reserve is much cleaner these days throwing fast food packaging from cars still seems to be a popular sport and the vast majority of drink cups and packets have the famous golden arches brand.

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Family fun on Road Team

I have rarely seen so many happy faces picking up rubbish … must be something to do with being out in the fresh and the trees.

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Amber and Barb more fun on Road Team

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Weed Buster Allegra

I led the Weed Team on the attack to clear invasive Mother-of-Millions Bryophyllum tubiflorum* and Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus*.

Mother-of-Millions commonly spreads into our bushland when people dump garden waste and being a succulent this weed can survive and spread rapidly in our dry Australian conditions.

The De Guzman family returned to represent Viridian Energy and specialised as Mother-of-Millions Weed Busters.

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Jenny and Karen Asparagus Fern Busting

Jenny and Karen specialised in removing Asparagus Fern which has spread into the Reserve by fruit eating birds visiting local gardens then flying into the bushland. The Cyclone Two-pronged Hoe is an ideal tool for getting under crown of the weed and pulling it up roots and all.

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Weed Team – (l-r) Allegra, Hennessy, Sandy, Jeamie, Karen, Jenny and Noel

Final count for the event teams was twenty-one bags of rubbish and weeds. Congratulations and thank you for all the hard work!

See you at National Tree Day 30 July.

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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 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.

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Koala sightings 2016

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Mulch Filter along oval fence

By: Michael Fox

This morning was the final Bushcare event for 2016 and the 80 metre Mulch Filter along the Upper Mt Gravatt State School fence is ready to capture water run-off during the summer storm season.

The current dry weather highlights the importance of keeping as much rain water as possible on site to support the bushland restoration. The school oval represents over 10,000 sq metres (one hectare) of rain catchment available for the Buchcare site.

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Composting weeds on site

Natural regeneration of Monkey Rope Vine Parsonsia straminea and Slender Grape Cayratia clematidea is already enhancing the on-site composting of weeds. Slowing the water run-off reduces erosion and allows the water soak in to support the natural regeneration.

It is encouraging to see the native vines setting seed ready for the summer growing season.

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Slender Grape Cayratia clematidea (left)                     Wombat Berry Eustrephus latifolius     

 

 

 

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.

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Large Anthelid Moth plumose antennae

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

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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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00_cover_2017_v1Share a unique view of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve with family and friends and support our ongoing restoration work and wildlife research.

The 2016 Photography Workshop was called Mount Gravatt lights up, so  workshop leader, Alan Moore, has selected participants photos that show contre-jour techniques. Contre-jour techniques break the rules by shooting into the light. The photos chosen breathe new life into how we see the world around us in a new way.13_thumbnails_2017_v2

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Calendar:    $15ea plus $3.00 post & packing.

Seasons Greetings cards:    $5 cards

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Purchase calendars or cards:

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Maginon Wildlife Camera

Funds raised in past years have allowed for purchase of research equipment like the infrared wildlife camera used to monitor the Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis families living the nest boxes at Fox Gully Bushcare.

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By: Michael Fox

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Blood curdling Koala

August to January is Koala breeding season with most young (called a joey) born over the summer months.

That means I am receiving an increasing number of reports of Koala sightings like Sue’s report:

“I was awoken at 4 am by a dreadful noise in our yard – blood curdling screaming. Couldn’t get back to sleep. At 5 am the local birds let me know some ‘foreign’ creature was still around.

I took this photo of a Koala which had just leapt off our back terrace into one of our gums.  He was roaring loudly as he ascended the tree.  He then spent the day sleeping in an adjacent Tallowwood.  He looked well fed and healthy.

Upon later investigation I found Koala fur and droppings all over the terrace.  I wonder whether two Koalas may have been involved.” Sue Jones

The Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve now has a healthy and growing Koala population. This is a great opportunity for our community and a great responsibility: we have been given a second chance. You can help by:

  • reporting Koala sightings – email photo/s (phone camera is fine – evidence is important not photo quality), approximate location, date and time – email megoutlook@gmail.com
  • keeping dogs inside or chained up at night when Koalas are moving around. Koalas are at particular risk when they come to ground to move around urban backyards.
  • keep your dog on leash walking in the Reserve.
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Acacia Leaf Beetle

By: Michael Fox

 

I met a future naturalist at the Small Bird Habitat this morning. He was walking the mountain on his father’s shoulders but when I found an Acacia Leaf Beetle Dicranosterna picea on a Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcata this future naturalist had to get down to get a close look. Of course a true naturalist loves to let beetles walk up their arm.

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Brown Belid Weevil

 

This was an inspiring meeting as this future scientist not only let the beetle walk on him, he then proceeded to find another two bugs for me on other plants.

One I have not identified yet but this other is a Brown Belid Weevil Rhinotia brunnea.

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Brown Belid Weevil – side view

 

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And both new species to add to our Flora and Fauna database! 

Not a bad start for this future naturalist who has not even started school.