Team 1 July 2017

Griffith Mates Team

By: Michael Fox

Fifteen happy laughing Griffith Mates joined me on Saturday morning to prepare the site for the 2017 National Tree Day.

See Alan Moore’s “We love Bushcare!” photo series. 

The team members were so interested in everything, from the fruiting Thread-moss Orthodontium lineare to a Huntsman spider on an old pipe, that I thought they must all be environment students. However, they were

Thread-moss - Orthodontium lineare - 1 July 2017

Thread-moss Orthodontium lineare

actually studying everything from business to one special person doing her second Phd in linguistics! They just all love being out in the bush doing something useful.

 

 

 

Most Australians would not be keen on getting up close and personal with a Huntsman spider. Griffith Mates students come from all over the globe … Zimbabwe, Malaysia, China, Japan, etc. and they are fascinated all Australian animals.

 

 

Common Crow caterpillar - 1 July 2017

Common Crow Euploea core

I showed the team a Common Crow Euploea core butterfly caterpillar with its fascinating black curls. The caterpillar was feeding on a Parsonsia vine and I explained that butterfly caterpillars will only feed on a limited number of plant species. If we maintain and increase the diversity of native plants in bushland and in our backyards we can bring butterflies back to our urban habitat.

 

The next find was very strange hairy fungi with a colloid shape with hollow in the middle: Hairy Trumpet – Panus fasciatus. A new species to add to our Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve: over thirty fungi species found in the Reserve so far.

Hairy Trumpet 1 July 2017

Hairy Trumpet – Panus fasciatus

 

Plant signs

Installing interpretative signs

There was also work to do. Two teams went hunting for examples Tape Vine Stephania japonica and Slender Grape Cayratia clematidea and install interpretative signs to show Tree Day volunteers some of the plants that feed our native animals.

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Glass removal 1 July 2017

Site safety – removing broken glass

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Preparation also includes maximising site safety by removing broken glass. Not exciting work but very important.

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Visit Facebook to see Alan Moore’s “We love Bushcare!” photo series that captures the mood of joy and pride of our Griffith Mates student partners preparing for. 2017 National Tree Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monkey Rope Vine - 17 July 2015

Vines, ferns and shadows

By: Michael Fox

In some parts of Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve you would think you were in a rainforest miles from anywhere, not in the middle of Brisbane.

One feature of the habitat is the Monkey-rope Vine Parsonsia straminea snaking up the paperbark trees all surrounded by a forest of ferns and deep shadows.

Roly Chapman micro-climate is very different to most of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve, riparian woodland with permanent water in Mimosa Creek. Paperbark trees, Willow Bottlebrush Callistemon salignus, are a significant feature in this wet habitat.

Monkey Rope Vine - close - 17 July 2015

Monkey Rope Vine

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Marshal and I discovered this massive vine once  Small Leafed Privet Ligustrum sinense and Easter Cassia Senna pendula var glabrata were cleared. The thickest Monkey Rope Vine I have found, this seems to be three or four vines that have fused together as they grew.

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Monkey Rope Vine - high - 17 July 2015

Monkey-rope Vine climbing high

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Parsonsia vines are quite aggressive growing high in the trees and even pulling large trees down.

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Common Crow - caterpillar - 11 Mar 12

Common Crow Euploea core
caterpillar

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Parsonsia vines may damage the trees however they are also a caterpillar food plant for Common Crow Euploea core caterpillars.

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Blue Tiger sex brand

Blue Tiger sex brand

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While male Blue Tiger Tirumala hamata may be seen on Parsonsia straminea vines scratching the leaves and collecting alkaloids to be converted to pheromones and stored in sex brands to attract females.

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Blue Tiger - claws 1 - 6 Feb 2015 cropped

Blue Tiger claws

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How can a delicate butterfly scratch a leaf?

Claws. Blue Tiger butterfly claws may be tiny but they are every bit as business like as their namesake cats.

Orchard Swallowtail - Male - Apr10

Orchard Swallowtail – Male

By: Michael Fox

Forty-six butterfly species are found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve with a wide range of colours, sizes and behaviour.

I have been aware, for some time, of the different colours of the male and female Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus.

Orchard Swallowtail - Nov 08

Orchard Swallowtail – Female – laying eggs on lemon tree

Orchard Swallowtail butterflies are large  (male 102mm/female 108mm). However, the females are definitely the most attractive to see flitting around your citrus trees.

These beautiful butterflies are a wonderful addition to any backyard, so if you see some strange caterpillars on your citrus trees please check before you pull out the pest spray. The Orchard caterpillars will do very little damage to your trees before they metamorphosise into beautiful colourful butterflies.

Blue Tiger - male - 17 Oct 10

Blue Tiger – male – on Parsonsia leaf

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Identifying the sex of Blue Tiger Tirumala hamata butterflies is more difficult. It took a chance comment from Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, to make me even think to look for a way to identify males vs females. I had sent Helen a picture of a Blue Tiger in the winter sunlight. Helen emailed back commenting that the “male” butterfly would be collecting alkaloids from the Parsonsia leaf to make him more attractive to females.

Blue Tiger - female - 24 Aug 2013

Blue Tiger – female

Female Blue Tigers have a very similar patten of colours on their wings. When I asked how Helen identified a male butterfly just from a photo, she introduced me to butterfly “sex brands” which can be found on a number of butterfly species including Blue Tigers and Common Crows.

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Blue Tiger sex brand

Blue Tiger male sex brands circled

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The Blue Tiger males have distinctive sex brands on the hind wing.

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Common Crow - male - 10 Feb 2014 - on barbed wire vine

Common Crow – male.

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Common Crow - male - sex brand

Common Crow – male – sex brand

The Common Crow Euploea core male has a sex brand on the fore wing.

Now that I am aware of sex brands I will have to ensure all my photographs of mountain butterflies include this information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Federation Track sign 1 - 10 Feb 14

Federation Track – 1.9km to top of mountain

By: Michael Fox

Part of preparing an accurate and useful map/walking guide for Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve is actually walking all the tracks to check times and signs.

This week I walked the Mt Gravatt Lookout Look starting at Gertrude Petty Place I followed the Federation Track. The track leads through the Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare site where a group led by Sue Jones has been removing weeds and restoring native grasses, vines and trees.

Ironbark Track junction - 10 Feb 2014

Ironbark Track junction – link to Logan Road

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The section of the Federation Track through to the junction with Ironbark Track is very easy walking with no steps or steep climbs. The Ironbark Track currently connects through to Logan Road via the Hillsong Carpark off Rover Street. The long term plan is to bridge the gully at the Rover Street Bushcare site creating a wheelchair accessible track from Gertrude Petty Place through to Mt Gravatt Showgrounds.

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Federation Track steps past Ironbark junction - 10 Feb 2014

Track climbs to reach Federation Lookout

From the Ironbark Track junction the track starts climbing to reach Federation Lookout.

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Federation Lookout junction - 10 Feb 2014

Federation Lookout junction

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Federation Lookout - 10 Feb 2014

Looking back to Federation Lookout

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A short side track to the right takes you Federation Lookout with excellent views over the city to the east..

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From Federation Lookout the track goes downhill over grey-white quartzite. Large quartzite rocks scattered beside the track create some interesting photographic opportunities.

Scribbly Gum junction - 10 Feb 2014

Scribbly Gum Track junction – links to Logan Road at old Scout Hut

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The Scribbly Gum Track links through to Logan Road at the old Scout Hut opposite Wishart Road. You can park at the Scout Hut to walk directly to Federation Lookout. The walk is quite interesting as it crosses Jo’s Creek before climbing towards the lookout..

Scribbly Gums - 10 Feb 2014

Scribbly Gums

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From the junction the track winds though Scribbly Gums Eucalyptus racemosa one of our iconic Australian trees that look like someone has been scribbling on the bark. “That can’t be scribbling, it is right up there metres above ground.” The scribbling is the work of moth larvae feeding on photosynthetic tissue just below the epidermal cells in the tree trunk.

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Bridge - 10 Feb 2014

Jo’s Creek Bridge

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Pause on the timber bridge crossing Jo’s Creek and watch for small forest birds..

Granby Street sign - 10 Feb 2014

Granby Street junction

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The Granby Street Track leads to Logan Road via Granby Street.

Federation Greebung junction - 10 Feb 2014

Federation Geebung Track junction

The track to Mt Gravatt Outlook is a solid climb gaining 55 metres in height over half a kilometre.

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I stopped where the Federation Track joined the Geebung Track to check restoration work on the degraded weedy area beside the track.

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Indigofera hirsuta - flower close - 7 Feb 2014
Hairy Indigo – Indigofera hirsuta

I am always pleasantly surprised at the resilience of our native flora and fauna species that hang on despite massive disruption by man and weed invasion. Among the metre high Guinea Grass Panicum maximum v maximum, Cobblers Pegs Bidens pilosa and Red Natal Grass Melinis repens, I found Slender Flat-sedge Cyperus gracilis, Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Scrambling Lily Geitonoplesium cymosum and a healthy stand of Hairy Indigo Indigofera hirsuta an attractive native shrub which is caterpillar food plant for the Long-tailed Pea-blue and Common Grass-blue butterflies.

Blue Skimmer Dragonfly - close - 10 Feb 2014

Blue Skimmer Dragonfly

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I also spotted a Blue Skimmer Dragonfly Orthetrum caledonicum resting in the sun.

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Common Crow - 10 Feb 2014

Common Crow butterfly

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Following the Geebung Track to the Mt Gravatt Lookout I came across a number of Common Crow Euploea core butterflies performing mating flights.

Geebung Summit Track junction 10 Feb 2014

Geebung Summit Track junction

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The Geebung Track joins the Summit Track just short of the Lookout picnic area.

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IMG_5979

Lookout picnic area

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Have a picnic with the family …

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IMG_5982

Echidna Magic

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have lunch at Echidna Magic …

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IMG_5984

Lookout playground

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enjoy the playground …

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Historical Societ plaque - 10 Feb 2014

Story of road builders

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or learn some local history.

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IMG_5997

Old growth trees on steep slope

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After refilling my water bottle I returned to Gertrude Petty Place via the Summit Track which winds around the northern face of the mountain.