By: Michael Fox

Griffith Mates Bushcare Team

Griffith Mates Bushcare Team

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Tags tell a story about participants

It’s 9am on a sunny Sunday morning and the site is buzzing with activity. Seventy-nine students and community members, representing countries as diverse as Canada and the Philippines, are working  together to build a new home for our small forest birds. The 2015 National Tree Day is our largest event on the mountain so far. A great learning experience for us and a credit to the support of our partners BCC Habitat Brisbane, B4C, Griffith Mates and the National Tree Day team.

Introducing Griffith students to Australian bush

Introducing Griffith students to Australian bush

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Laurie, Kate and I met the Griffith Mates team at Mt Gravatt Campus for a guided walk to the planting site explaining the difference between the male and female She-oaks Allocasuarina, male – flowers are russet tips on leaves, and female – flowers are red small red balls on branches. And, of course, the winter flowering Brisbane Fringed Wattle Acacia fimbriata is always popular. Laurie showed the distinctive scratches left by Koalas before Len signed the team in talked about our 1,500 species of native bees and Kate demonstrated correct planting technique.

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Ahmadiyya Muslim Association team

This planting is new initiative to create the specialised habitat our small forest birds like Variegated Fair Wrens Malurus lamberti. These small insect eating birds are valuable partners in controlling pests in our backyards but they do need habitat that provides protection from larger birds and cats. So it was a particular pleasure to meet and talk to another community group that is making valuable contributions to the environment and strengthening our community more generally. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia (Ahmadiyya Jamaat) was formally established in 1980, however the relationship goes back as far as 1903 with Hassan Moosa Khan being the first Ahmadi in Australia. The local association has a strong relationship with the Logan community and we hope to build a long term bushcare partnership in our community.

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Kids love getting their hands into the dirt.

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Kids and dirt, a magic formula.

There are many different stories told in the pictures taken by Alan, Sienna and Jude, however, these really spoke to my heart. Families working together creating something for the future.

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Mark

Not just kids and dirt

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Adults also like to get their hands into the dirt. Mark is a passionate supporter of B4C restoration work and community education.

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Ross Vasta

Ross Vasta planting the future

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Our local politicians dug in as well. Ross Vasta our local Federal Member loaded mulch and planted trees with the team.

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Ian Walker MP with Alpha Phi Omega team

Alpha Phi Omega team with Ian Walker and Kate Flink

Particularly welcome was Ian Walker, Member for Mansfield, and sponsor of our initiative to publish track maps and develop interpretative signs to engage visitors to the Reserve.

Ian is pictured with the Alpha Phi Omega team and new small bird sign in the foreground.

The Alpha Phi Omega team is another interesting service group with a fifty year history of college campus-based volunteerism in the Philippines. The event really was a multinational effort to restore a unique piece of inner city bushland.

Event team (l-r) Michael Fox, Len Kann, Heather Barns, Kate Flink

Event team (l-r) Michael Fox, Len Kann, Heather Barns, Kate Flink

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Thank you all from the event organising team. Laurie Deacon not in photograph.

Willow Bottlebrush -Flower - 20 Mar 2015

Willow Bottlebrush Callistemon salignus

By: Michael Fox

If you want a gentle walk or ride though the bush, Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve is worth a visit and the new cycle path crossing Mimosa Creek expands community access to this special place.

Damselfly - 30 Mar 2015

Damselfly (blue) – not identified

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Kate and Liz inspecting new planting

Walking through the Reserve last Friday morning with Liz Pell, restoration project leader and Kate Flink, BCC Habitat Brisbane, was particularly special as I was immersed in a world filled with the scent of honey from the flowering Willow Bottlebrush trees Callistemon salignus and the chattering of dozens of Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus drunk on the nectar.

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Mimosa Creek in flood – 23 March 2015

Roly Chapman Bushland is very different to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve because it has permanent water flowing though Mimosa Creek. Walk quietly as you cross Mimosa Creek. It is common to see turtles in the creek, Eastern Water Dragons Pogona barbata sunning on the rocks. Last Friday Dragonflies and Damselflies were also everywhere resting on leaves or skimming over the water.

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Post flood – no damage to planting

The new cycle path  is a credit to the Brisbane City Council Bikeways Project team and the contractors who did the work. The BCC designers minimised the impact on this sensitive habitat. The new track weaves to reduce loss of trees and, at the same time, creating an interesting and pleasant route instead of a straight strip of concrete. Even the installation of cabling for lights minimised impact on trees by using vacuum excavation around the roots.

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The quality of the restoration planting is evidenced by seeing virtually no damage after the flood water over the track in January. None of the new Lomandras were lost and the fibre matting is hardly disturbed.

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Orchard Swallowtail caterpillar - 20 Mar 2015

Orchard Swallowtail caterpillar

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Further along the track only one of the new trees has been lost – we normally consider anything than 80% survival is very good for restoration planting. Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus butterflies are already breeding on the advanced Crow’s Ash Flindersia australis planted.

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Nest box monitoring - 3 Sept 2014

(l-r) Marshal, Alan, Saki and myself. Liz is on the camera

 

By: Michael Fox

Kyoto University student, Saki, joined Marshal, Alan, Saki, Liz and myself at Bushcare on Wednesday to check the nest boxes providing important habitat for hollow dwelling wildlife.

We the GoPro camera to  drop in on the Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis family were at home in one of the glider boxes.

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Squirrel Glider family

Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis family

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A bundle of Gliders.

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Brushtail & baby - 3 Sept 2014

Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula & baby

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Then we visited mother Brushtail and her baby (called a joey like Kangaroos) in the Kookaburra nest box. The Brushtail took over the nest box not long after the installation by Hollow Log Homes. The Kookaburras took over the Boobook Owl box to raise their family.

Mia & Camilla - Griffith Mates 1 - 23 Aug 2014

Mia & Camilla dressed for action

By: Michael Fox

I was very proud of our Griffith Mates partners today. Rain and mud did not stop Camilla and Mia.

The rain meant it was unsafe to work removing Fishbone Fern on the steeper areas of the gully, so our focus was restoring and strengthening the silt filters along the Farm Fire Trail.

Simon Fox checking silt level - 20 Aug 2014

Simon Fox checking level of silt captured

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The silt filters are proving very effective. Simon Fox, our BCC Habitat Brisbane coordinator, is impressed with our simple low-tech solution to reduce erosion. Recycled deck timber is used to make stakes and timber barriers to hold the mulch forming the silt filter.

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Mia & Camilla - Griffith Mates insert - 23 Aug 2014

Muddy silty water

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The filters slow muddy water so the silt has time to settle out while the water filters away. In some areas up to 100mm of silt has been captured and stopped from flowing into Mimosa Creek.

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Restoring mulch around Koala trees

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We also restored mulch around the Koala trees Griffith Mates planted for National Tree Day.

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Golden-tailed Ant nest - 23 Aug 2014

Golden-tailed Spiny Ant nest

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Camilla and Mia were fascinated by what we found while we were looking for rocks to help manage erosion. The first two rocks we turned over we found ant nests so we carefully restored their home.

The first nest was a Golden-tailed Spiny Ant Polyrhachis ammon. When they named it spiny they were not kidding. Aside from the spines over the head and caster (tail) this ant has extraordinary sharp horns on the body.

Black-headed Strobe Ants - composite - 23 Aug 2014

Black-headed Strobe Ant nest

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Under the second rock we found a new ant to add to the species list for the Reserve. Black-headed Strobe Ant Opisthopsis rufithorax.

Enough work. Time to get out of the rain, have a hot drink and warm up.

 

 

 

Acacia Way entry

Acacia Way Track – Mt Gravatt Campus

By: Michael Fox

As part of National Tree Day celebrations, Laurie Deacon and I were privileged to lead a guided walk in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve for twenty-one Griffith University students and friends. We have partnered with Griffith Mates since 2012 to offer students the opportunity to give back to the tranquil bushland surrounding Griffith University.

 

Watershed - Bulimba & Norman Creek catchments .......... Acacia

Watershed – Bulimba & Norman Creek ………… Brisbane Fringed Wattle Acacia fimbriata

On track

Fishing line and bush food

Rain falling on Mt Gravatt flows into two different river catchments: Norman Creek catchment via Ekibin Creek and Bulimba Creek catchment via Mimosa Creek. Acacia Way follows the ridge line forming the watershed between the catchments.

Winter is flowering time for many of our wattles, like this beautiful fragment delicate Brisbane Fringed Wattle.

Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve has an amazing species diversity with two hundred and seventy-one native plant species identified, including Settlers Flax Gymnostachys anceps which was used by indigenous people to make fishing lines, and bush food Molucca Raspberry Rubus moluccanus.

Planting Team

Planting Koala trees

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Laminated tags identify each planter

 

Arriving at Fox Gully Bushcare the team prepare to plant twenty Koala food trees including Small-fruited Grey Gum Eucalyptus propinqua, Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus racemosa and Qld Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis.

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Len Kann introducing Australian native bees

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Len Kann introduced the team to our Australian native bees. Len keeps hives with the small black Stingless Native Bees Trigona carbonaria. He has also developed a deep knowledge of native solitary bees like our local Blue Banded Bees Amegilla cingulata and Teddy Bear Bees Amegilla bombiformis.

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Afternoon tea

Bush food – punkin scones, jam and crea

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With the work done time for the reward. Thanks to Margaret Medland for the delicious home made punkin scones, jam and cream!

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Sign

BCC Habitat Brisbane interpretative sign

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The walk back included a detour to the Summit where we inspected the new interpretative signs installed by BCC Habitat Brisbane team.

Thank you to our Griffith Mates visitors. We look forward to meeting again at a bushcare.

 

Source of infection - mature Umbrella Tree

Source of infection – mature Umbrella Tree

By: Michael Fox

After inspecting Fox Gully Bushcare site Zone 10, I yesterday removed 53 small and 6 large mature Umbrella Trees Schefflera actinophylla. A similar infestation in Zone 11 will be removed this week. I also removed a number of Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora and Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis trees, as well as, Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses. These environmental weeds are all spread by seeds being eaten by birds and other animals.

Umbrella Trees, from North Queensland, produce a large number of seeds which are spread from backyards to bushland or other backyards when eaten by birds. The cluster of over fifty small trees in a limited area shows how quickly these environmental weeds can spread and impact on the native plant species or invade a neighbour’s backyard. Seeds from the large trees were bagged for disposal offsite to reduce the risk of re-infection.

Umbrella Tree seeds

Umbrella Tree seeds

Weeds are one of the three key threats to the long term bio-diversity of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Most weed infections are caused by seeds spread by birds or wind, or result from dumping of garden waste including grass clippings in the bush. One of the most frustrating parts of our bush restoration work is dealing with restored areas re-infected with seeds dispersed from urban backyards.

You can support the efforts of Habitat Brisbane

 

Cluster of young Umbrella Trees

Cluster of young Umbrella Trees

Bushcare groups across the city by removing the sources of infection from your backyard.

  • Umbrella Trees Schefflera actinophylla
  • Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora
  • Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis
  • Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses

 

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Wishart Ward habitat groups with Cr Krista Adams and Ian Walker MP

Yesterday I attended the launch of an amazing book which captures the history of  habitat groups within the eastern creek catchments of Brisbane. The true genus of this book is that it is a compilation of stories written by group members and illustrated by photos submitted by each group. Each story paints a personal picture of a habitat community with group activities, community events and flora and fauna as seen through the eyes of individuals who truly care about that patch of urban bushland.

Congratulations to the BCC Habitat Brisbane team members who bought this alive and thanks to the BCC Councilors who had the vision to provide the financial support.

Bushcare groups represented

The launch was hosted by Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) at the Sustainability Centre and Native Plant Nursery.

Reading the stories and understanding the scope of the Habitat Brisbane programme, this is only the Eastern Catchments, fills me with pride in our Brisbane community and hope for the future.

Copies of this high quality small volume photo book can be ordered by emailing B4C. Cost is $120.

Three Mt Gravatt Environment Group Bushcare sites are represented:

Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare

Rover Street Bushcare

Fox Gully Bushcare