By: Michael Fox

Noisy Pittas are normally found in rainforest habitat like Lamington National Park or Tamborine National Parks where our New Zealand visitor captured the video above.

Marshal Kloske rang today really excited. A brightly coloured plump bird he had never seen before was pecking around the ground under his bird feeder. Initially he thought it was some sort of parrot then it turned its head … no curved beak. Marshal had a Noisy Pitta Pitta versicolour in the Firefly Gully wildlife corridor. First glow in the dark mushrooms now my favourite bird.

We had another sighting of this cute little bird in March 2013. It is a hopeful sign that small forest birds are returning to our mountain gullies.

Let us know if you see a Pitta – megoutlook@gmail.com

 

 

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Toni – woman of action

By: Michael Fox

Restoration of Firefly Gully wildlife corridor has reached a new stage with the on Toni McDonald’s section of the gully.

Like Fox Gully, the wildlife corridor is being created on private property which includes the gully, so success is critically dependent on property owners being engaged.

Marshal has already done extensive restoration on the other side of the gully where he has nurtured the Glow in the Dark Mushrooms. Firefly Gully is named for the fireflies which are found in wet weather.

Years of rubbish dumping by previous owners and infestation of the steep slope with weeds like Guinea  Grass Panicum maximum v maximum, Castor Oil Plant Ricinus communis and Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia has created a significant challenge.

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Toni and Marshal reflecting on a good afternoon’s work

The first step for a job like this is getting access infrastructure in-place to make a safe work place, save time and effort and retain mulch on the slope. Steps will give access to the bottom of the slope and allow easy access to planks laid across the slop at approximately one metre spacing. Planks came from Fox Gully neighbours who are currently replacing their deck. Stakes to hold planks in-place are recycled decking timber, cut to length and pointed. This not only reduces the cost of the project it also reduces waste going to landfill.

Recycling also extends to a lot of the rubbish being removed with old stair stringers being used for planks on the slope and broken bricks used as back fill to make the steps. We even found a complete roll of builder’s black plastic that will be used at our other sites for composting weeds.

Restoring Firefly Gully is part of the initiative to rebuild wildlife corridors between Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and Mimosa Creek outlined in Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan. Koalas are already moving into these gully corridors.

 

 

Proposed Telstra Mobile Tower

Cr Krista Adams has received information that Telstra is proposing to build a mobile phone tower at the back corner of the Klumpp Road Park & Ride, right beside Mimosa Creek. Krista Adams letter

I have updated the Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan – ver 2.2 with proposed tower location and access. Based on current information this proposal will not impact on development the Firefly Gully wildlife corridor however the safety issues are less clear.

Telstra almost certainly complies with the safety standards set by Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPNSA) however we have an opportunity to comment on the proposed tower installation in our community.

Please come to the Telstra Information Session:

Mt Gravatt Hawks Soccer Club  – Wednesday 18 April – 5pm to 7:30pm

The science on the long-term health effects of using mobiles and/or spending time near mobile phone towers is very unclear. As shown by these extracts from the ARPNSA fact sheets on electromagnetic energy (EME).

My personal experience is that these types of radiation are powerful and almost certainly dangerous. The issue is the level of exposure which is a combination of transmission power and distance from the source.

My first experience was in the early 70s when as a trainee PMG technician I visited the Bald Hills radio transmission tower. When you see a bare fluorescent bulb burst into light just by being held near the transmitter, then go into the field and see a two-inch spark drawn from the heavily insulated guy wires which is then tuned so you can listen to ABC radio.

400 metre coverage area

My latest experience is with my iPhone. I routinely carried my phone in my pocket with the touch screen against my leg. Over time I found that my skin in that area became hot even when the phone was removed. I have since changed how I carry my phone and the problem has disappeared.

Telstra mobile towers are low power however distance is still an important safety factor. The question is: What is a safe distance? EM Watch suggests a 400 metres as clear safe distance.

What do we want for our community? Come along on Wednesday and have your say.

“I remember seeing Koalas in the trees near the creek when I attended St Bernard’s primary school in the ’80s.” I talking with a volunteer at today’s BCC Community Tree Planting at Sunnybank. My informant was pleased to see the new signs on Klumpp Road and hear that Koalas are breeding on the mountain.

Cr Krista Adams organised installation of the signs after the death of a Koala hit by a car on Klumpp Road in December.

Our submission to Cr Adams was supported by our ongoing monitoring of Koalas on the mountain. We are now receiving regular reports from neighbours and people using the walking tracks. Edd and Hazel provided our latest report of a male, female and joey – read Hazel’s Brisbane Adventures for an amazing photo of mother and joey.

We use Google Maps to record sightings to help us understand their movements and argue for government support for our restoration work. We are also working with Griffith University researchers like Cathryn Dexter – see Koalas returning to Mt Gravatt in Koalas on Mt Gravatt: Who’d have thought it?

Koala Sightings Mimosa Creek Precinct - March 2012

(l-r) Michael Fox, Susan Jones, Hon Vicky Darling MP, Hon Phil Reeves MP

Wednesday 15th, Sue Jones and I joined Hon Vicky Darling MP, Minister for Environment and local member Hon Phil Reeves MP, Minister for Child Safety and Sport at Mt Gravatt Lookout to officially present the independent environmental report: Mimosa Creek Precinct – Flora, Fauna and Fauna Corridor AssessmentBiodiversity Assessment & Management Pty Ltd – Nov 2011.

Like many visitors Minister Darling was pleasantly surprised by Mt Gravatt Lookout,  the view over the CBD with the ranges beyond, Echidna Magic Cafe and picnic area all within a unique habitat which is home to Koalas, Echidnas and forty five butterfly species. With two hundred and sixty-three native plant species this unique 66 hectares has 10% of the species diversity of the whole 22.6 million hectares of Great Britain.

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus - Photographer Alan Moore

Delivering this report is another step in a process that started in July 1893 when, in response to community action, Mt Gravatt was declared an environmental reserve. Prior to that Mt Gravatt and surrounds were designated as a railway timber reserve.

In 2012 the problems are different but whole of community action is more vital than ever as we work to build long term security for this extraordinarily diverse habitat by engaging private property owners, community groups, university and school as well as local and state government departments in a collaborative effort to restore vital wildlife corridors. Therefore Mt Gravatt Environment Group initiated this report as an independent ecological assessment of the areas of Mt Gravatt Reserve and Roly Chapman Reserve covered by our Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan, including potential wildlife corridors links. The report was half-funded by an $8,000  State Government grant which was matched by in-kind support from researchers  Biodiversity Assessment & Management Pty Ltd.

Key findings

Fauna and Flora Habitat Values

  • Essential habitat for Koalas within Roly Chapman Reserve can be preserved and expanded create wildlife corridors through Vegetation Communities 9 and 6:
    • Endangered habitat -Vvegetation Community 7 (pink); and
    • Of Concern habitat – Vegetation Community 8 (orange).
  • Forty-seven terrestrial vertebrate species recorded during field survey – two are considered species of conservation significance:
    • Koala – Phascolarctos cinereus
    • Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus
  • Nine species of Endangered or Vulnerable plants

    Topknot Pidgeon Lopholaimus antarcticus

    can potentially be restored by habitat restoration allowing natural regeneration.

  • Essential habitat for Tusked Frog Adelotus brevis – bushland to west of and including Fox Gully
  • Three species of mosquito eating micro-bats identified during field research:
    • o   Gould’s Wattled Bat Chalinolobus gouldii
    • o   White-striped Freetail Bat Tadarida australis
    • Eastern Bentwing Bat Miniopterus oceanensis.

Recommendations – Movement Corridors

  • Ground fauna, particularly mammals, have suffered series declines.
  • Corridor A – greatest potential
    • 25 metre wide corridor connecting old farmland with Mimosa Creek across Klumpp Road
    • Significant increases in useable habitat possible:
      • 9 hectare addition with revegetation of farmland
      • 4 hectare addition with revegetation of grassed and weed-infested area along Mimosa Creek – Vegetation Community 6
  • Extensive revegetation of farmland and restoration of grassed and weed-infested
  • Corridor B – narrow potential corridor connecting Fox Gully with Mimosa Creek
  • Corridor C – revegetation programs to complement existing vegetation

Report in Action

  • Findings used in submission for purchase of old farm as part of BCC Bushland Acquisition program
  • Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Planupdated to provide a masterplan for restoration and reconnection of Mt Gravatt and Roly Chapman Reserve
    • 18 property owners committed to restoration of Fox and Firefly Gully wildlife corridors
    • $8,000 contributed to corridor restoration by local residents

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.

I represented Mt Gravatt Environment Group at the recent Threatened Species Week event at Griffith University EcoCentre.

Click to read Southside Community News report

My presentation Blurring the Boundaries addressed our community effort to restore wildlife corridors on the southern face of Mt Gravatt. Two key corridors, Fox Gully and Firefly Gully, are almost totally made up of household blocks. To date we have owners of nineteen properties committed to restoration of these corridors.

Blurring the Boundaries refers to the fact that wildlife does not recognize human created boundaries, effective habitat consolidation and linking requires cooperation of a diverse range of property owners. Our Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan is a community initiative to blur the property boundaries by creating a vision for sustainable restoration based on initiatives that create community and business benefits, as well as, environmental benefits. Download my presentation: Blurring the Boundaries

Cathryn Dexter’s earlier presentation focused on creating a permeable landscape that will allow animals to move around without having to interact with roadways. A member of Griffith’s Environmental Futures Centre, Cathryn is the Project Manager for a major koala road kill mitigation project funded by the Qld Government.  The first study of its kind in Australia, the project’s ultimate goal is to have wildlife mitigation become standard government policy for all linear infrastructure (roads) design.

In a powerful presentation Cathryn shared horrifying road kill statistics balanced with a hopeful view of a future where roads are not barriers to connected habitat and risks to wildlife are dramatically reduced. particularly interesting were the creative solutions being used in Europe and the US where wildlife movement solutions have been actively pursued for decades.