Mycena lampadis Luminous Mushroom

I had the pleasure, this week, of introducing our local state member – Phil Reeves MP, to one of the extraordinary and little known features of our unique mountain habitat – Luminous Mushrooms Mycena lampadis.

A lucky photograph, with a torch lighting a snail having a mushroom meal, also caught a group of mushrooms glowing in the dark. I don’t have an identification on snail yet however I will have a look at Semislugs – Family Helicorionidae – thanks to Helen Schwencke, Butterflies & Other Invertebrates Club.

Jon Kloske took some amazing photos like this amazing shot of mushrooms growing in a line on a rotting log over the track.

The mushrooms were first reported in January last year and at the time featured on 612ABC with Kelly Higgins-Devine.

Firefly Gully is one of the wildlife corridors identified in the 2011 Flora, Fauna and Fauna Corridor Assessment, and now being restored by property owners.

MacGregor Lions Club – Roly Chapman

Saturday – 4 Feb – 8am to 10am

The MacGregor Lions Club team is partnering with Mt Gravatt Environment Group in restoration of the native gardens along this popular walk/cycle path Roly Chapman Reserve.

Roly Chapman Reserve is a special part of our local environment supporting a wide variety of native flora and fauna including the Striped Marshfrog Limnodyynastes peronii which we found at the Lions’ working-bee in December.

Frogs are a good indicator of the health of a habitat so finding a new species is very encouraging and a powerful acknowledgment of the value of the restoration work of the Lions team.

Roly Chapman with pretty Mimosa Creek meandering through bushland is also a key part in the wildlife corridor connecting Mt Gravatt Reserve and Bulimba Creek.

Join the team restoring this special place. For details email – Macgregor.Lions.Secretary@gmail.com or contact John Spriggs on 3849 6479.

Sunday morning 4th December and John McCrystal and a friend were riding Shire Road to the summit of Mt Gravatt. John, a member of Team Fatboyz, was practicing for the Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer – August 18-19, 2012, he certainly didn’t expect to encounter two Koalas running down the road towards him!

Koalas travel 5 to 10km to find new home territory.

“They came running down the mountain and then starting running toward us on the road. They then froze in front of us started snorting, I think they were scared. We had to shoo them off the road. They then climbed the first tree they found.” John

John grew up on the side of Mt Gravatt and he had never heard of Koalas on the Mountain. I have heard from others that there have “never been” Koalas on Mt Gravatt and any animals found must have been relocated there after recovery from injury. This has always seemed to be an unlikely explanation because injured animals, including Koalas, are returned to locations as close as possible to where they were found.

Koalas on Mt Gravatt – What is the answer?

Southside Community News – Jan 2012

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Professor Carla Catterall, Griffith School of Environment, advises that from the 1970s to the 1990s koalas were not seen in Toohey Forest, in spite of many naturalists  walking in the forest and doing ecological surveys there.  This has been a puzzle given that Koala food trees are present in reasonable numbers.  Professor Catterall suggests that Koalas may have previously been in the forest then extirpated (local extinction) in the early 20th century.

Koala fur industry

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Hunting for Koala pelts was a major industry after European settlement. Who would want to wear Koala fur? The Koalas I have handled didn’t exactly feel luxurious and soft. Glenn Fowler’s 1993 report, “BLACK AUGUST” Queensland’s Open Season On Koalas in 1927 available at Australian Koala Foundation site, provides and insight into this unlikely trade.

‘Although (fortunately for the koala) not highly valued, the koala’s thick soft fur soon acquired the reputation as being a particularly effective insulator against the cold – ideal for protecting the human body from “the icy blasts of winter in Northern Canada and Europe”. Koala fur was renowned for its ability to withstand any amount of hard usage.’ Fowler, 1993.

For me, the really sobering thing was realising that as recently as 1927 the Queensland Government approved a six month open season on Koalas. More than 500,000 Koala pelts were delivered to market – a huge impact given the number of pelts that would have been unusable and the joeys left to starve.

Koalas returning to Mt Gravatt

Koala sightings Mimosa Creek Precinct

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Nature is now giving us a second chance with Koalas now breeding successfully in the Reserve and increasing sightings particularly around our Fox Gully Bushcare site: Mimosa Creek Precinct.

Griffith University researchers believe that there is more functional linkage between Toohey Forest and other forest areas in the western past of Brisbane than might easily be assumed: in spite of the hazards of roads. We have one sighting of a Koala successfully crossing the Motorway onramp however the recent death of a Koala hit by a car on Klump Road highlights the need for safe wildlife corridors connecting Mt Gravatt Reserve with Mimosa Creek, Roly Chapman Reserve and Toohey Forest.

Cathyrn Dexter, Griffith University, is leading a project with Main Roads Department which aims to create permeable landscapes that will allow animals to move around without having to interact with roadways: safer for wildlife and drivers.

We will draw on Cathyrn’s research as we restore the Fox Gully wildlife corridor to improve the chance for Koalas to move safely across Klumpp Road. In the short term we are working with Cr Krista Adams to have Koala crossing signs erected on Klumpp Road. While the active police presence is likely to have much greater impact on speeding, Koala crossing signs will be a valuable community education tools building awareness that nature is returning a special animal to our urban bushland environment.

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Living on the edge of Mt Gravatt Reserve we often have butterflies visiting our yard. Today I videoed this Cabbage White Pieris rapae feeding on the Thyme flowers in our rose garden.

Michael Braby in Butterflies of Australia describes this erratic flight and feeding behaviour. This butterfly is using his proboscis or haustellum, a hollow straw-like tongue, to feed on nectar. The proposcis in normally kept rolled and extended for feeding.

Southside Community News - December 2011

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Our Pollinator Link initiative, described in my Southside News article, aims to bring more butterflies to suburban backyards.

If you have citrus trees you may find the leaves being eaten by the caterpillars of Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus butterflies.

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In Mt Gravatt Reserve the caterpillars of these spectacular butterflies feed on Crow’s Ash Flindersia australis. 

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which builds this delicate chrysalis suspended from a branch

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emerging as this spectacular Orchard Swallowtail butterfly we found in the garden this week.

2011 has been a big year for Mt Gravatt Environment Group so to receive two top awards from Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) is a very satisfying way to round off and prepare for 2012.

I was personally awarded Environmentalist of The Year which is a great honour coming from some of the most committed and experienced environmentalists I have ever met.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group was awarded Bushcare Group of 2011 which truly reflects the extraordinary work of a large number of community members but particularly our Bushcare coordinators:

Our achievements also build on the strong support of Kate Flink, our BCC Habitat Brisbane Officer, the B4C team, Ann Moran and Alan Moore who presented our Environmental & Photography Workshop, community groups like Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed, McGregor Lions Club, Southside Sport and Recreation Club and Mt Gravatt Historical Society, Griffith University, BCC Mt Gravatt Library and local politicians Phil Reeves MP and Cr Krista Adams and their excellent staff.

Now it is time to take a holiday and get ready for an even more extraordinary 2012.

Local photographer, Alan Moore has produced a special 2012 calendar as a fundraising initiative for Mt Gravatt Environment Group.

For each month Alan has selected a picture that shows a different aspect of our unique mountain bushland. The photos were taken by participants in our successful August Photography Workshop.

Alan’s brief was to share his skill in capturing that elusive feeling of actually being in the bush. View the extraordinary results The Mountain Through Other Eyes

Order your 2012 Mt Gravatt Environment Group calendar and put a bit of bushland on your wall at home or share with family and friends around Australia or overseas.

Price $10 plus $2.50 post & packing.

Calendars can be purchased at the B4C Nursery or email megoutlook@gmail.com for order form.

All funds raised will contribute to the restoration work of Mt Gravatt Environment Group.

Thanks to Alan Moore, participants who have contributed photos and Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee.

Removing weeds with Tree Popper

By Susan Jones

Last Saturday, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) brought a corporate group of twelve young volunteers to assist Mt Gravatt Environment Group with weed removal at the entrance to the Summit Track.   Their main targets for the day were Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata.

Group leader, Fabian was interested in trying out our Tree Popper on the Mickey Mouse Plants, as he had not seen one of these used before.  The tool is placed around the main stem of the ground at ground level, the pincers are closed firmly and the tool levered towards the user.  With very little effort the weed emerges from the ground with its deep tap-root intact.

Whilst the blokes were grappling with Mickey Mouse Plants, the girls were rolling up Creeping Lantana like a carpet.  After shaking off the dirt, the ‘carpet’ was laid out to dry.  Once the materials has dried out, it will be returned  to the earth as mulch.

Rolling up Creeping Lantana

Thanks to Conservation Volunteers Australia  and the volunteers for a great day’s work!

Conservation Volunteers organise groups of local volunteers, often corporate groups, as well as volunteers from around Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the world.