By: Michael Fox

Compost pile Creeping Lantan - 15 Aug 2017 lr

Creeping Lantana removed into piles

The old car park area will be restored as the 500 plants mature and spread.

Nature will now take over natural regeneration of the 500 square metres of Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses* cleared by the Lantana Buster Team on National Tree Day.

Seed stock of native grasses like Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus will still be in the soil and with the Lantana not suppressing regrowth the grasses will return with the summer rain.

Griffith Mates - 25 April 2015

Griffith Mates clear the last weeds

 

The work of our Griffith Mates partners shows the effectiveness of natural regeneration techniques. The team removed the last Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia* from Fox Gully Bushcare Zone 8 in April 2015. Note the bare ground.

 

 

Graceful Grass - Ottochloa gracillima - 14 Aug 2017

Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2017 and Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima is returning naturally. Second hand decking timber is reused to manage erosion on the steep slope and collect leaf litter to retain moisture.

 

Shelter for lizards - 15 Aug 2017 lr

Lizard highways

 

 

 

Providing Shelter for wildlife helps nature bring the wildlife back to the site.

The piles of fallen branches are restored to the site to create lizard highways across the areas cleared of Creeping Lantana.

Eastern Bearded Dragon - Pogona barbata - 1 Aug 2017

Eastern Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata

 

 

 

Lizards like this young Eastern Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata are at risk crossing the bare weed-free ground. Creating lizard highways allows these cute creatures to stay safe while they hunt for lunch.

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Team 1 July 2017

Griffith Mates Bushcare Team

By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates partners were back today, again led by Sienna Harris, Griffith University Ecological Science student.

 

Rainbow Lorikeet - 22 July 2017 low res

Rainbow Lorikeet checking nest hollow

 

 

 

Koala scratches - 22 July 2017 low res

Koala scratches

 

Just before the Team arrived I spotted a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus checking out a tree hollow as a potential nest sight.

International students are always interested in our wildlife and they loved the bright coloured Rainbows. Rainbow Lorikeets are thought to mate for life (like most parrots) pairs preen and nibble each other during rest periods.

 

I was also able to point out a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita high in the top branches of a eucalypt. It was high up but hard to miss because of its loud screech.

We also looked at Koala scratches on a Queensland Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis.

 

 

 

Lantana Busters at work - 22 July 2017 low res

Lantana Buster Team

 

 

Lantana Buster - 22 July 2017 low res

Weeding is fun

 

 

We then split into two groups:

  • Sienna leading the Lantana Busters
  • I went with the Log Team.

The Lantana Busters worked on clearing the invasive Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses by rolling it up into swales across the slope retain water and reduce erosion by slowing water flow.

Pulling weeds may not sound exciting but there are always lots of smiles.

Hand saw team - 22 July 2017 low res

We can use a hand saw!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Griffith Mates always love to learn new skills, like using a hand saw …

Ochna buster - 22 July 2017 low res

Look at me! I pulled this out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… and pulling deep rooted Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata with the specialist TreePopper bushcare weeding tool.

The Treepopper allows almost anyone to pull difficult weeds by clamping jaws around the trunk then using the leverage of the long handle to slowly pull the deep roots without breaking.

 

Burtons Legless Lizard (Lialis burtonis) - 22 July 2017 cropped

Burtons Legless Lizard Lialis burtonis

 

 

 

 

 

Even finding what she thought was a snake did not spook one of the Lantana Busters. Everyone gathered around, even the log moving team, to inspect what Sienna identified as a Legless Lizard. The lizard was very cooperative and hardly moved while dozens of photos recorded our unusual wildlife.

 

 

How do we move that - 22 July 2017 low res

Mmm … a bit heavy for one of us to lift

The Log Team were also learning new skills.

Brains over brawn - 22 July 2017

Cross beams allow a team lift

This team are all from China and studying microbiology at Griffith University. So they loved the challenge of learning the power of applying more brains and less brawn. None of the team had used ropes before. However, they caught on fast, using a branch as a lever lift the log to get the rope underneath before learning to tie a knot that would not slip.

 

Brains win over brawn. Using two hardwood cross beams a log too heavy for one person can be carried by a team of six. Still hard work and slow going but achievable.

Team Success - 22 July 2017 low res

Team success!

 

 

 

 

The log is in place across the slope and nestled into the mulch so it will not move.

And they were very proud of themselves.

Well done team!

We finished up with a short guided walk inspecting the 2016, 2015 and 2014 National Tree Day planting and explaining the role of nest boxes providing shelter for Squirrel Gliders, Rainbow Lorikeets and Kookaburras.

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates partners returned in March to continue their work clearing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses. The Mates started clearing the Lantana in September 2015 and they were very happy to see the native grasses, sedges and vines returning where the weeds had been cleared.

I love having Griffith Mates onsite … there is always a lot of discussion and laughter. This time  put the team to work on clearing Lantana regrowth. This is real get on your hands and knees detail work … not as exciting as the mass clearing done at past events so I was not sure how these young people would go. I should not have worried, as always the Mates amazed me with their commitment and the quality of their work.

Lantan Buster Blues Bros 25 Mar 2017

Blues Brothers at work

The Mates even take having fun to whole new levels. These two were bouncing off each other so much I had to introduce them to the Blues Brothers movie.

Lantana Buster Teacher in Action - 25 Mar 2017

A born teacher at work

I have rarely seen someone take such simple pleasure in teaching new skill … in this case how to remove Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata with the Treepopper.

Lantana Buster Team - 25 Mar 2016

Seventeen Mates, forty hours Lantana Busting. Thank you Griffith Mates.

 

 

Griffith Mates -  23 July 2016

Griffith Mates Partners

By: Michael Fox

Photos: Kate Flink

OWeek Semester 2 2016

It is always a pleasure to lead a guided walk with our Griffith Mates partners, sharing some of the surprising relationships between different plants and between plants and the animals that depend on them for food and shelter.

Many of the students who join the walk are international so it is a great opportunity to introduce these visitors to our unique bushland. Unfortunately no Koalas spotted this time.

Handout pic

 

Walking Acacia Way we discussed the importance of tree hollows for nesting and the curious Allocasuarina: male trees have russet (red-brown) flowers on tips of leaves and female trees have red ball flowers growing directly from the branches.
Pardalote sign

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Stopping at the interpretative sign I used the QR code to bring up the online video of a Striated Pardalotte Pardalotus striatus with its “chip-chip” call on my iPhone. As soon as the birds high in the trees head the call they started to respond with their own calls.

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Explaining use of Settlers Flax - 23 July 2016 cropped

Discussing Settlers Flax

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Settlers Flax Gymnostachys anceps has an interesting history of use by indigenous people and white settlers:

“Fibres were used to make fishing line. There are records of use as string by Europeans (to bind and carry pigs by the feet).” Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN)

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After visiting Fox Gully Bushcare site we spent time clearing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Creeping Lantana - Lantana montevidenses - 23 Apr 2016

Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses

Griffith Mates joined me at Fox Gully Bushcare on a beautiful fine Saturday morning to work as Lantana Busters. Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses is one of our major weed threats in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Lantana competes for native plants for scarce water reserves and the chemicals in Lantana have a significant negative effects on native plant species.

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Griffith Mates - Lantana Busters - 23 Apr 2013

(l-r) Sophie, Lifen, Noe – proud of their work

Removing Creeping Lantana is detailed work requiring team members to get down and pull the roots of individual plants. Fortunately the Griffith Mates team were patient and through leaving the area spotless.

As always, it was fascinating to talk to the students about home towns in Japan and China, catching up with one of my old Management Concepts students or hearing about intern experience with KPMG in Korea.

Koala - Phascolarctos cinereus - 23 Apr 2016

Koala high in tree on Federation Track

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Outstanding effort deserves a reward, so we headed off down the Federation Track to find a Koala Phascolarctos cinereus in the wild. The track down towards Granby Street is a reliable place to spot Koalas. Sophie was first to spot a Koala high in a Tallowwood Eucalyptus microcorys.

SONY DSC

Joseph’s Coat Moth Agarista agricola – Photo: K. Sinigaglia

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We also spotted a brightly coloured Joseph’ Coat Moth Agarista agricola flying around a large clump of Forest Grape Cissus opaca an important caterpillar food plant for this amazing moth.

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Brown Ringlet - Hypocysta metirius - 23 Apr 2016

Ringlet butterfly

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We also found a Ringlet butterfly Hypocysta sp. which depend on Poaceae (grass) species for caterpillar food.

The work of the Lantana Busters clearing the weeds will allow regeneration of important butterfly caterpillar food like Forest Grape and native grasses.

Every visit of our Griffith Mates partners strengthens the habitat for all our native species.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda McArthur 2 - 26 Sept 2016

Amanda launched her attack on Ochna

By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates friends returned for Fox Gully Bushcare last Saturday.

The job for the day was attacking our three most invasive weeds.

Amanda launched her attack on the Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata. Ochna is a garden escapee that spreads when birds eat the bright coloured berries then fly into the bush, then spreads quickly as the shrubs get established.

Ochna is a particularly difficult weed to remove because of the deep tap-root.  The Treepopper is the ideal weapon attack these woody weeds and you get a great sense of satisfaction as you pull these weeds out roots and all, and no poison needed.

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Emmanuel - 26 Sept 2015

Emmanuel attacks Asparagus Fern

Emmanuel launched his attack on another garden escapee – Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus – again spread by birds eating the red fruit.

Emmanuel used a Cyclone 2 Prong Hoe to remove the Asparagus Fern before trimming off the leaves and roots and collecting the crown for removal off-site. The crown is the brain of the Asparagus Fern, so removal means the plant will not regrow.

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Tomorrow - 26 Sept 2015

Tomorrow identifies Basket Fern from her visit to Cairns

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It is a real pleasure to share the forest with our international visitors. I was particularly impressed when Tomorrow identified Basket Fern Drynaria rigidula.

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Emmanuel and Tomorrow - team - 26 Sept 2015

Emmanuel and Tomorrow team up against Ochna

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Emmanuel and Tomorrow teamed up to tackle the Ochna.

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Emmanuel and Tomorrow - 26 Sept 2015

WOW! That is a big Ochna root

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With Tomorrow digging using the 2 Prong Hoe and Emmanuel on the Treepopper the team managed to pull out the largest Ochna trunk I have seen.

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Lantana team - 26 Sept 2015

Lantana team (l-r) Sienna, Amanda, Ho Yi and Sau To

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Sienna, Amanda, Ho Yi and Sau To attacked the Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses again a garden escapee spread by birds eating the purple fruit.

The Lantana team cleared a large area of weed, raking it into swales to compost, control water runoff and reduce spread of weed seed.

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Stick Case Moth - 26 Sept 2015

Stick Case Moth Clania lewinii

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A successful morning for all. Amanda filled her five specimen containers with a bush cockroach, butterfly and other insects for her university collection.

We also added Stick Case Moth Clania lewinii to our species list for the Reserve.

The shape and construction materials of a case moth’s portable home allow identification of the moth species. Stick Case Moths build their case moth bags using sticks of similar length. Similar bags are built the Faggot Case Moth Clania ignobilis with one or two longer sticks.

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Ants - 26 Sept 2015

Meeting the locals – Golden-tailed Spiny Ant nest

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How better to finish the day?

I showed how turning over a couple of rocks could expose a whole new world.

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Golden-tailed Spiny Ant - 22 July 2014 - Alan Moore - close

Golden-tailed Spiny Ant up close

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The Golden-tailed Spiny Ant Polyrhachis ammon really are spiny. Click on photo to enlarge.

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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