Citizen Scientists checking nest boxes - 27 Aug 2016 low res

Citizen Scientists using iPads to check nest box

By: Michael Fox

On Saturday morning our Griffith Mates partners joined us at the National Tree Day planting site for some Citizen Science: doing an initial check on the nest boxes installed in July, to see if any boxes were occupied and meeting some of the local wildlife.

Carl checking Boobook Owl box - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Carl checking BooBook Owl box

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I led the team on an off track adventure to reach the nest boxes. While Carl operated the GoPro camera on the extendable pole the ground crew monitored on iPads using WiFi connection.

Carl became a real professional keeping the tall wobbly pole under control while he lifted the lid on each box and inserted the camera.

Lantana Busters - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Lantana Busters at work

Not surprisingly none of the boxes had been occupied in the short time since installation. However, it is valuable to get a information on how long it takes before boxes are adopted.

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Then is was back through the bush to the Lantana Busting site.

Scolopendrid centipede - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Scolopendrid centipede – tail to left

1,600 square metres of Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis were cleared and raked into swales on National Tree Day. Now we are doing the detail work of clearing the remaining roots to eradicate this invasive garden escapee.

There is an amazing about of wildlife among the leaf litter as well as in the trees. We disturbed a Scolopendrid centipede which I think Baoyi wanted to keep as a pet. Be careful handling centipedes as they may bite if disturbed or handled. The bite may cause severe pain and associated swelling.

Griffith Mates team - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Home made cakes a reward for hard work. (l-r) Sophie, Jocelyn, Harry, Baoyi, Carl, Amanda and Dana in front

Centipedes are predatory and will kill and consume a variety of other invertebrates such as spiders, molluscs, many insects, slaters and other centipedes. Prey is usually immobilised by venom injected through the fangs and then torn into pieces by the mandibles and the soft parts are eaten.

All that hard work deserves a reward. Thanks to Mt Gravatt Environment Group member Dana for the home made cakes.

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By: Michael Fox

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Rainbow Lorikeet at home in Fox Gully

A pair of Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus are the first to successfully hatch a family in our Fox Gully nest-boxes. Two chicks have been hatched out and seem to be doing ok although the parents are rarely home.

At least we think they are Rainbow chicks. This particular nest box was originally occupied by a pair of Pale Headed Rosellas Platycercus eximius who laid three eggs before they were kicked out by the Rainbow couple.

Rainbow chicks - 7 Dec 12

Rainbow Lorikeets chicks or Pale-headed Rosella?

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Given the increasingly blue colour of the chicks we are wondering if our Rainbows are raising a pair of Pale-headed Rosellas.

This nest box was made by Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed and our nest-box monitoring equipment is a GoPro camera on a 7 metre pole and connected by WiFi to an iPad on the ground. The equipment was purchased with a grant from Southside Sport and Community Club.

Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae

Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae

I also checked the new Hollow Log Home nest-boxes but no eggs or chicks in any yet. However, as I was walking back I saw this Kookaburra sitting in the entry to the owl box. Unfortunately I was carrying the monitoring equipment and was not quick enough to get a photo of him actually sitting in the owl box.

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New tennents

New tenants – Photo: Alan Moore

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Alan Moore also reported some hopeful news on the Pale-headed Rosellas. A pair seem to be very interested in one of the new Hollow Log nest-boxes.