By: Michael Fox

Masked Lapwing nest with camouflaged eggs

Masked Lapwing nest with camouflaged eggs

Some parents, like our Brush-turkeys Alectura lathami, take a very hands/wings-off approach to raising their young. Male Brush-turkeys put a lot of effort into building a huge mulch pile for the eggs and monitor the mound temperature closely but once their chicks are hatched they are on their own and able to fly within a few hours.

Masked Lapwing (Spur-winged Plover) Vanellus miles parents couldn’t be more different. Given their approach to nesting, I am amazed that these birds seem to thrive in our urban spaces.

IMG_7275

How can eggs survive in a space like this?

In early September I  photographed this nest in the mown area between the Southern Cross Sports Club and Logan/Klumpp Road intersection. Very different from the Brush-turkey mound, this nest was just a shallow depression in the sand with a few twigs. With hundreds of cars passing, pedestrians, mowers and football fans, this is not an ideal place to hatch eggs.

Masked Lapwing - defending nest - 2 Sept 2014

Don’t come any closer!

However, Plovers are very protective parents using tactics ranging from moving away from their eggs, to threatening and sometime swooping. These very protective parents put on a very threatening display with loud squawking, spreading wings and running towards you showing their sharp wing spurs.  Simply moving away is usually enough and swooping birds rarely actually make contact … it is mainly bluff.

The Backyard Buddies team have a good guide for kids on relating to Plovers – http://www.fnpw.org.au/PDFS/Resources/maskedLapwing.pdf

My photos of the nest were all taken from about 2o metres distance, as I was already upsetting the parent birds and I didn’t want to make things worse.

So, that was early September, early October and our proud parents are now protecting four tiny balls of grey/white fluff … with powerful feet and legs that look like they belong to a miniature Emu.

IMG_7545

Plover chicks or miniature Emus?

The parents were still very protective as the chicks hunted for insects and grubs on the Vulture’s football field. Environmentally friendly solution to lawn grub problems?

Particularly interesting was the change in behaviour of the parents. Their calls now seemed to serve two purposes. As I approached well outside the fence the parent’s calls seemed to trigger the four chicks to immediately move away from the fence and further into the field. At the same time the parents made it very clear to me that I was not welcome. I wonder how they get on with the football players?

 

Advertisements

By: Michael Fox

2014 is off to a good start. Lots of Koala sightings, including a joey which gives us two joey in Fox Gully in the last twelve months, Kookaburras hatching chicks and Squirrel Gliders breeding in our nest boxes and today a Brush-turkey chick.

IMG_4148

Very neat gardener – Brush-turkey pinching mulch

MVI_5711.MOV.Still004

Mmmm … do I like this place?

We have been watching the male Brush-turkey building his mound and playing host to visiting females since July last year. One morning we looked out to find him pinching mulch … a very tidy gardener, he neatly scraped the mulch about 4o metres from our yard to his mound and left the grass spotless by the end of the day.

MVI_5711.MOV.Still010

I can fly … whoops … what is that invisible wall?

We have been worried that we missed any hatching’s or that chicks had been taken by a fox or a cat. Today that changed when I walked into the lounge to find this beautiful and confused Turkey chick standing on my clean washing – fortunately just the old jeans I wear for bushcare.

IMG_5715

Released in relative safety of Fox Gully

I quickly grabbed the camera and recorded the visit. Obviously the chick decided the bush was more attractive than my old jeans, however, while he could fly he still has to learn about windows.

I caught him(or her) before he could hurt himself and released him in the safety of the tree cover of the gully.

I hope we have more Turkey chicks visit … perhaps outside so I don’t have to clean up the little gifts they leave behind on the furniture.

IMG_4263

Griffith Bush Care Team

By: Michael Fox

Reviewing the photos preparing to write this blog it was like being there all over again. The laughter, the smiles, the generosity, the sharing of stories about families and different countries … it was one of the most inspiring bushcare events I have attended.

IMG_4239

Bamboo Team in action

IMG_4241

Bamboo roots grubbed out for disposal

Working on the “Bamboo Team” I learned about the different qualities of bamboo and the preferences of Pandas for the tender new shoots. I heard the story of a person so inspired by their Chinese school principal father that they followed their undergraduate business degree with a PhD focused on education so they can give back to their community with education. I talked with a student that is studying international relations and shared his vision of how his career could go in directions directions ranging from trade negotiations to more general diplomatic work, all of which will clearly be underpinned by an intelligence and  compassion that gives me hope for future global relations.

a

a

Walking through the Sagano bamboo forest, in Arashiyama, Japan, was a special experience. A bamboo is forest is beautiful and peaceful producing strong versatile valuable wood. However bamboo does not belong in the Australian bush. Once established in the Reserve the bamboo spread and over a huge area crowding out native plants and making monoculture so thick it was impenetrable to wildlife. Removing bamboo is a hard work as all the roots have be dug out by hand for disposal off-site.

a

IMG_4233

Fishbone Team starts at bottom of slope

a

a

The “Fishbone Team” worked to clear a huge area of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia on the slope. Working from the bottom the team removed the weeds and placed logs to stabilise the slope and provide access.

a

Weilding the sledge - 24 Aug 2013

Banging in stakes to hold logs

a

a

a

a

a

Bushcare participants get to do a bit of everything at Fox Gully. Wielding a sledge hammer is change from writing assignments.

a

a

a

a

a

IMG_4248

“Thanks for helping me find a feed.”

a

a

They even met some of the local wildlife. The male Brush-turkey Alectura lathami was working on his nest mound when the team arrived. Then one of the local Kookaburras came to visit looking for a feed in the area that has been cleared.

a

a

IMG_4249

Huge area cleared of Fishbone and logs in place

a

a

Morning tea time and we have achieved an amazing amount of valuable restoration work. The Fishbone Team has cleared a huge area on the slope and installed logs to manage erosion and allow safe access.

a

IMG_4255

Composting weeds

a

a

a

A large pile of Fishbone leaves have been added to the compost pile and sixteen garbage bags have been filled with the roots of Fishbone and bamboo.

a

a

IMG_4257

Looking for lunch

a

a

a

The Kookaburra has come back to inspect the results and look for lunch …

a

a

a

IMG_4259

Catching a fat spider for lunch

a

a

a

Spotting a nice fat Huntsman spider he flies down right among the team, snaps the spider and flies off again.

a

a

IMG_4252

Mirandha hamming it up for the camera

a

At the finish shaking each person’s hand and thanking them for their contribution was a real pleasure and a singular honour. However, I must acknowledge Mirandha Escott-Burton whose vision and persistence has created the Griffith Bush Care  which is becoming a valuable source of volunteers supporting our restoration work and providing a real Australian bush experience for international students.

Mirandha is building a partnership between Griffith University Student Linx and Mt Gravatt Environment Group.

Snapshot - 3

Brushtail on patrol

By: Michael Fox

The new Aldi Maginon wildlife camera is helping us learn more about wildlife in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Currently the camera is monitoring a Brush-turkey Alectura lathami  building a nest mound.

The infrared camera is also monitoring nighttime activity like this Common Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula on patrol on two different nights.

Monitoring the movement and behaviour of our wildlife will help us learn how to protect and restore the habitat.

Griffith Uni student volunteer

By: Susan Jones

“Shall we celebrate National Tree Day again this year, Sheamus?” I asked last year’s volunteer coordinator. “Of course!” was the prompt reply.  As it turned out, we celebrated twice!

On Wednesday  25 July, students and a science teacher from Mt Gravatt High School, together with a team of Griffith University students rallied to plant 100 native tubestock, specially chosen to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies, bees – and of course, our resident koalas!  What a great team!  In just over an hour all the plants were in the ground and it was time to protect them with plastic sleeves, supported by cane stakes.

It was great to welcome Griffith Uni students back to our site for this celebration, as they had spent many hours  tediously clearing the area of Creeping lantana Lantana montevidensis  last university semester.

Mt Gravatt SHS team planting

Brush-turkey looking for lunch

On Saturday 28 July, we had ready another 40 plants to be put in by volunteers who couldn’t join us on Wednesday.   When I arrived on site, I found a female Brush-turkey Alectura lathami checking out all the holes prepared for planting.  Her curiosity and anticipation of a free meal made me laugh.

We had …. volunteers of all ages turn up: a special thanks to the three grandparents who more than pulled their weight.

Our 2012 National Tree Day planting was a great success: “ thank you” to everyone involved.

Your generous contribution will enhance amenity  for community users and provide healthy habitat for wildlife in our 66 ha Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Granparents restore Conservation Reserve for future generations

Granparents restore Mt Grvatt Conservation Reserve for future generations

 

Glorious morning to be in the bush