Federation Greebung junction - 10 Feb 2014

Sunday, 14 June | 10:30 – 11:30am

Book your seat: Garden City Library

“I’m in the bush, why can I hear an ambulance siren?” When I’m walking in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve I feel like I am in a national park far away from the houses and traffic of the city. Then I catch a glimpse of buildings through the trees or hear a truck of ambulance reminding me where I am.

Join me for a virtual exploration of this unique diverse habitat with breeding Koalas, Echidnas, butterflies, native bees and amazing orchids.”

Michael Fox

Book your seat: Garden City Library

Print a track map

Explore Mt Gravatt with our new Summit Track self-guided walk brochure.

Park at Gertrude Petty Place picnic area at the base of mountain: off Mt Gravatt Outlook Drive. From the parking area take the concrete path then follow the signs to Summit. The track winds around the northern face providing views of the city, Glasshouse Mountains, D’Aguilar Range, Mt Coot-tha and over Toohey Mountain to Main Range.

Distance:  Two kilometres (return)

Grade:  Easy. Uphill all the way: some steps.

Time: One to one and a half hours, depending on walking rate and time spent exploring.

The self-guide brochure provides details relating to Station markers along the track.

Printing of the new brochure has been supported Cr Krista Adams through the Lord Mayor’s Suburban Initiative Fund and Wishart Ward.

You can collect a copy of the Mt Gravatt Summit Track self-guided walk brochure from Wishart Ward Office, Mt Gravatt Library and Garden City Library or print your own – Summit Track guide.

(l-r) Cr Krista Adams, Sue Jones, Michael Fox, Cr Graham Quirk

Sue Jones, represented Mt Gravatt Environment Group in receiving the Brisbane’s Spotless Suburbs Environmental Protection Award from Lord Mayor, Cr Graham Quirk. Sue acknowledged the work of our community volunteers, thanked Cr Krista Adams for our nomination and importantly thanked the Habitat Brisbane team who quiet work in the background is what allows bushcare groups like ours to achieve extraordinary outcomes for our communities.

Mt Gravatt was also recognised with the Partnership Award presented to Fox Gully Bushcare.

Judging criteria for the Environmental Protection Award are:

  • Sustainable or innovative projects that focus on environmental protection
  • Establishment or existence of local conservation or environmental groups

Environmental Protection Award

The Mt Gravatt Environment Group vision sees the mountain as the heart of a special community with strong links to Indigenous and European histories.  This ecological and cultural landmark just ten kilometres from Brisbane CBD is home to Echidnas, Koalas, Sugar and Squirrel Gliders, forty-five butterfly species as well as two hundred and fifty-four native plant species.

Environmental protection and restoration initiatives include community education about key threats to the habitat:

  • rubbish and garden waste dumping;
  • downhill mountain biking, trail bikes, unofficial tracks; and
  • feral and domestic animals.

Research initiatives include Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve – Sue Jones and Michael Fox – available as electronic version on CD.

Preparation of the new Summit Track Self-guided Walk brochure published with support of Cr Krista Adams. Available at Mt Gravatt Library.

Co-ordination of four local bushcare groups – 2011 Bushcare Callender:

  • Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare
  • Rover Street Bushcare
  • Fox Gully Bushcare
  • Roly Chapman Reserve Bushcare

Walking the Summit Track on Saturday I saw this extraordinary looking growth on the underside a branch high up in a Spotted Gum Corymbia citriodra.

Spotted Gums grow to 45m so this photo was taken at about x60 digital zoom on my Canon SX20. So viewing the photo later it looked like some sort of sculpture made of concrete and hung on a tree 30 or 40 metres in the air.

My excellent network of experts came to my rescue suggesting a wasp nest. Some more research on Google gave me the answer: Yellow Paper Wasp Ropalidia romandi . Links:  Queensland Museum Fact Sheet and Queensland Naturalists Club article.

I have photographed Yellow Paper Wasp for Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve however I did not realise that this tiny wasp: at 6-8mm it is the smallest of our local paper wasps, builds these huge paper nests. Up to 1 metre long these amazing sculptures are made up of multiple paper combs all wrapped in a paper skin.

I found this nest while researching our new self-guided Summit Track tail brochure. If you are walking the Summit track stop at Station 6 and look west-north-west for a large Spotted Gum then follow the trunk up to the branch growing out to the right. The nest looks like a concrete sculpture hanging under the branch.

You can see the Mt Gravatt Summit Track on MapMyWalk

Our new trail guide will be available early August ready for the Environmental & Photography Workshops. The guide will also be available online and copies available at a local BCC Library.

“I get a real feeling of achievement when I find a new bird species on the mountain.” Sue Jones

Golden Whistler - Pachycephala pectoralis

Sue and I walked the Summit Track yesterday morning to prepare the new self-guided trail brochure. Morning is always a great time to see birds on the mountain. We were looking around to spot the Pardalote we could hear calling when we spotted this spectacular yellow, black and white bird.

Fortunately I was able to get one quick photo before he moved, so we were able to identify this as a male Golden Whistler which has not been listed in any of the species lists for Mt Gravatt Reserve. We now have forty-six bird species identified in the Reserve.

Like Sue, I love walking in the Reserve. There is always something new to find in this amazing bit of bushland only ten minutes from the city. As well as the Pardalote and the Golden Whistler, we saw a Grey Fantail and several Firetails. Unfortunately even Sue’s excellent bird imitations could not tempt the Firetails close enough for a photo, however, it did have me looking around until I realised it was Sue calling.

If you would like more information on these birds and their calls, follow the links to Birds in Backyards:

Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis – listen to call

Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus – listen to call

Grey Fantail
Rhipidura fuliginosa listen to call

Firetail or Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis listen to call

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Congratulations to Sue Jones who organised Sunday’s Clean Up Australia Day in Mt Gravatt Reserve.

Left to Right - Sandra, Jian, Nancy and Sue

The team arrived early to prepare for sign-on and safety briefing.

Clean Up results were excellent:

  • 31 volunteers
  • 35 bags of rubbish (white)
  • 20 bags of recyclables (yellow)
  • Most unusual item found:
    • a full suitcase of clothing!

Michael from BCC Local Area Services also provided excellent support: ferrying ute loads of filled bags back to the Summit. I was little surprised to see an office chair go up on one load. Dumping of rubbish and garden waste is still one of the three big threats to Mt Gravatt Reserve. However, there was general agreement that the new gate at the Shire Road entry has made a big improvement. On Sunday we had a skip provided thanks to Clean Up sponsor Veolia.

The MEG Summit Clean Up was certainly the place to be on Sunday morning. Cr Krista Adams and Ian Walker the new LNP candidate for Mansfield Ward, and Ian’s wife Heather all joined the clean up. An official Clean Up Australia team to see the clean up on one of Brisbane’s iconic sites and the Southern Star was there: so be sure to read this week’s paper.

We had representatives from China and USA joining in to help Clean Up Australia along with members of a walking group, who love the Reserve.

At the end it was a real pleasure to be able to sit in the sun sharing a coffee from the Echidna Magic Kiosk.

Thanks to Bill and Alison Semple we have photographic evidence that echidnas are still active on the Mountain.

Alison photographed this prickly character foraging for food last week. Bill and Alison were walking on the mountain when they were made this special find.

Echidnas Tachyglossus aculeatus is one the few ground dwelling mammals found in the Reserve. Commonly called Spiny Anteater, for obvious reasons, dig into ants nests and termite mounds using their long tongue to search out dinner. Like the platypus these fascinating mammals lay eggs like reptiles then nurture their young in a pouch feeding them on mother’s milk. It never ceases to amaze me that we can find special animals like this only ten minutes from Brisbane CBD.

Keep an eye out for the beautiful Blue Tiger butterflies – Tirumala hamata visiting the mountain at the moment. Note the tiger like spots on the head.

When I could not identify any caterpillar (larval) food plants in the Reserve for these butterflies I contacted Dr Carla Catterall who kindly shared her extensive knowledge. It turns our Tigers are tourists just visiting Brisbane on holidays.

Dr Catterall advises that the Tiger Blue is a migratory species – so to understand why we are seeing them we need to search for info about its migratory habits rather than its food plants.

Because of these large-scale coordinated movements by many individuals at once (which are poorly understood), this species appears and disappears in large numbers from time to time (and apparently there are a lot of them in the Brisbane region at present).  It is also known to migrate over water (for example, I [Carla Catterall] have seen them flying across the ocean between Gladstone and Heron Island).

The larvae would have hatched, fed and pupated somewhere else, probably a long way away from Toohey Forest (tens to hundreds of km).

Thank you Dr Catterall.