Mates on Patrol

By: Michael Fox

It is hard to beat spending a beautiful sunny winter morning in the bush with a group of energetic young people.

I joined the Griffith Mates team at Mt Gravatt Campus. Again a diverse group of students studying phycology, IT and environmental science.

Our first stop is one of the Koala Drinkers we are using to assess the value of providing water for wildlife to maintain and strengthen populations of vulnerable Koala Phascolarctos cinereus and other species in isolated urban bushland habitats.

I am really impressed when one of these sharp eyed nature lovers spotted a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus entering a nest hollow in a dead tree. There is a shortage of tree hollows in the Reserve so it was a real pleasure to identify another active nest hollow.

Australia’s smallest flower?

Next stop, the curious Allocasuarinas: the male trees’ russet (red-brown) flowers on tips of leaves glowed in the winter sun and across the track a female tree with its red ball flowers growing directly from the branches. Looking very similar the Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis has the smallest flowers I have ever seen and of course sharp young eyes spotted the tiny flowers and focused on an actual cherry fruit.

Headache Vine – Male flowers

Aside from the Native Cherry we found a surprising number of natives in flower. Like the attractive and versatile Headache Vine Clematis glycinoides scented flowers. Of course the immediate question was “Does it cure headaches or cause headaches?

Indigenous people crushed leaves and inhaled to relieve head pain. Research suggests that protoanemonin in crushed leaves acts on the mucous membranes creating an intense head clearing sensation: eye watering, nose smarting and head blowing. Some suggest that the experience is so intense you will probably forget your headache.

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Wattle species provide valuable in winter food for insects and brighten our day with beautiful flowers. Black Wattle Acacia leiocalyx has an attractive flower and enticing scent. It is fine to sniff our wattle flowers: despite common belief wattles are not a major cause of pollen allergies.

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Exploring the forest did not stop with native animals and plants. Most people don’t realise that we have fairies living in the Reserve.

Our visitors loved the idea that of a special home for local fairies.

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Enough exploring, time for work.

The team sets to with a will clearing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and Corky Passion Vine
Passiflora suberosa
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Proud Weed Busters

Koala Mum and Joey – Fox Gully Bushcare

By: Michael Fox

Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve has no permanent water and no safe access to water or breeding opportunities in surrounding bushland.

The Koala Drinker research is providing vital baseline information on the potential of providing water for wildlife to maintain and strengthen populations of  vulnerable Koala Phascolarctos cinereus and other species in isolated urban bushland habitats. The Koala Drinker Research Project is supported by Communities Environment Program and sponsored by Ross Vasta MP.

Combined with the excellent Koala fencing built by Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland) keeping Koalas from being killed on the Motorway water for wildlife drinkers will strengthen the Koala population in the Reserve.

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Concept Koala bridge – Cr Steven Huang

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We are also working with Cr Steve Huang on his concept for a wildlife bridge across Klumpp Road from the bottom of Fox Gully to the Hibiscus Sports Complex then Mimosa Creek.

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One very clear result of our research is how water for wildlife is valued by a wide range of species, particularly with over 6,000 visits by birds in a 6 month period. Special visitors are three bird species not previously identified in the Reserve: Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus, White-throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis and Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops.

Some of birds using the Koala Drinkers:

Other regular visitors to the water include Lace Monitors Varanus varius, Sugar Gliders Petaurus breviceps, Brush-tail Possums Trichosurus vulpecula, Koalas Phascolarctos cinereus, Long-tailed Rat (Research required to identify). The wildlife cameras also captured Wallabies and a European Red Fox Vulpes vulpes.

White Throated Honeyeater is one of the species added to Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve:

By: Michael Fox

Yesterday Laurie Deacon, my Co-president and I were honoured to welcome our state Environment Minster Hon. Leeanne Enoch to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Minister Enoch was accompanied by our local MPs Corinne McMillan and Joe Kelly. We were also joined by Wayne Cameron, Bulimba Creek Catchment Co-ordinating Committee (B4C), Rob Janson and Greg Neill representing N4C and Coorparoo Finger Gullies Bushcare, and Greg Wellard, Mackenzie Bushcare.

Butterfly Hill-topping Site
Koala inspecting visitors

First stop on our tour is the butterfly speed dating site: look for the butterfly sign near the Summit Track entry. Some butterfly species practice “hilltopping behaviour” where males gather on in locations like the amphitheatre like space with the protection of trees along the edge for safety, all with the objective of attracting a female.

Our visitors were particularly interested in the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus population in the Reserve. One of our Koala Drinker team, Jake Slinger, spotted a Koala watching from the trees right where we were standing.

(l-r) Greg Wellard, Rob Janson, Greg Neill, Leeanne Enoch, Wayne Cameron, Corinne McMillan, Joe Kelly, Greg Neill, Laurie Deacon, Michael Fox

Our visitors were very impressed with restoration at the 2017 National Tree Day planting site.

I particularly complemented our political representatives on the impact of the Containers for Change initiative which has caused a very positive problem. When I look back at past CleanUp’s for comparison:

The reduction in rubbish meant our 2020 CleanUp not only had our largest team of volunteers but also our largest Weeding Team. A very positive problem!

By: Michael Fox

I’m lucky to be able to get my exercise exploring the wildlife of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Squirrel Gliders Petaurus norfolcensis are good at staying home even if they are not into social isolation. Glider families typically occupy a number of different nest boxes going out at night and sleeping during the day.

White Tangle ~ Callopistria maillardi - Fox Gully Bushcare - 24 Mar 2020

White Tangle moth caterpillar

 

Butterfly and moth caterpillars are typically selective feeders able to digest only a very limited range of plant species.

So I was interested to find the White Tangle moth caterpillar Callopistria maillardi which feeds on ferns like the invasive garden escapee: Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia.

Transverse Moth - Xanthodes transversa - caterpillar 2 - 29 Mar 2020

Transverse Moth caterpillar

 

Moths often have to most interesting and colourful caterpillars like this Transverse Moth Xanthodes transversa caterpillar I found feeding on the Native Hibiscus Hibiscus heterophyllus planted by a National Tree Day team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are some impressive adult moths Erebus Moth Erebus terminitincta  with its 100mm wing span and owl like eyes on the wings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domino Coukoo Bee - Thyreus lugubris 2 - 1 April 2020

Domino Coukoo Bee

 

I also found a new solitary native bee to add to the species list for the Reserve. The well named Domino Coukoo Bee Thyreus lugubris means we have now identified ten species of solitary native bees in the Reserve.

 

Domino Coukoo Bee - Thyreus lugubris 3 - 1 April 2020

Cute white furry whiskers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paperbark Sawfly - Lophyrotoma zonalis 2 - 8 April 2020

Paperbark Sawfly

 

This Paperbark Sawfly Lophyrotoma zonalis is another new species identified in the Reserve. Adult Sawflies are not often seen as they live only one to two weeks in which time they do not feed but mate and lay their eggs on leaves of Melaleuca species.

 

 

Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike - Coracina novaehollandiae - 17 Mar 2020 lr

Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike

 

 

The handsome Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike Coracina novaehollandiae is another addition to the species list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally I found this cute Koala Phascolarctos cinereus watching us install a Koala Drinker on Tallowwood Eucalyptus microcorys.

A lot of walkers are getting their exercise in the Reserve at the moment. Map of walking tracks.

By: Michael Fox

Koala 2 - Nathan onramp - 3 July 2017

Healthy young male Koala

“Let me know if I can help lobbying for Koala fencing or wildlife bridges. It breaks my heart to see the good work we have been doing undone so quickly.” Matt

I had just collected a healthy young male Koala dead beside the Mains Road on-ramp to the Pacific Motorway. Fox Gully Bushcare neighbour Miranda had emailed to let me know she had seen a Koala beside to road as she drove to work.

Sadly this young Koala was dead when I arrived so all I could do was collect him and call the RSPCA  Animal Ambulance: 1300 ANIMAL

 

Map - Koala - young male hit by car 3 July 2017

Koala dead beside on-ramp

Matt’s frustration reflects the number of Koala that have been killed trying to cross the Motorway from Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Limited wildlife fencing around the Griffith Bus Station and no fence at all on one side of the Mains Road on-ramp (red line) means nothing separates the traffic from the trees on which Koalas are feeding.

At least three joey Koalas were born in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve in 2016 however I think we lost one of those joeys today.

 

I have previously discussed the possibility of wildlife fencing with Griffith researcher, Cathryn Dexter: co-author of the 2013 Koala Retrofit Works Program report for Main Roads. Cathryn explained some of the many issues in designing and maintaining effective Koala fencing. Also considering we have had a Koala killed on Klumpp Road and a number of car strikes on Creek Road, effective Koala protection in our urban environment will require significant commitment to building wildlife crossings to connect fragmented bushland habitats.

Back to Matt’s question about how to help with lobbying. Create and certify your own Pollinator Link® garden: Water, Food and Shelter for wildlife.

One person or one family may not have a lot of influence, however, every individual Pollinator Link® garden registered contributes to achieving our goal of 30,000 Brisbane gardens by 2022.

The support of 30,000 Brisbane households will give us the influence at local and state government levels to push for more wildlife fencing and road crossings.

You can become a Pollinator Link® Hero by getting ten family, friends or neighbours to create Certified Pollinator Link® gardens and help bring a bit of Australian bush back to Brisbane backyard.

Target 30,000 by 2022

 

 

wild-cowpea-vigna-vexilata-var-augutifolia-17-dec-2016

Wild Cow Pea Vigna vexillata var. augustifolia

By: Michael Fox

Finding a Wild Cow Pea Vigna vexillata var. augustifolia brings the number of native plant species found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve to two hundred and seventy eight.

Two hundred and seventy eight native species in our 66 hectare Reserve is equal to 20% of all native plant species in Great Britain which has 22.6 million hectares. The extra ordinary species diversity in the Reserve is something worth protecting and valuing.

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koala-gpp4-20-dec-2016

Koala Mum & Joey

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As well as plant diversity the Reserve has a healthy population of breeding Koalas.

Andrew Wallace our BCC Habitat Brisbane Officer spotted this mother and joey (baby Koala) at Gertrude Petty Place a couple of weeks ago. This is one of at least two joeys born in the Reserve during 2016. There have been twenty-three Koala sightings reported in 2016

Please keep reporting the sightings: photo (phone camera photos are fine), approximate location, date time. Your reports are important evidence that helps us get ongoing funding and support for our restoration work.

google-map-koalas-2016

Koala sightings 2016

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By: Michael FoxKoala - 50 O'Grady - 201 Aug 2016

Neighbours, Roger and Margaret called a short while ago. A Koala had just come down one tree and jumped across to another tree in the gully.

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Looks young and definitely male.

Koala male - 50 O'Grady - 201 Aug 2016 low res

It’s a boy

 

Breeding season has started so the males will be on the move.

Koalas are particularly to dog attack when they are on the ground moving between trees. So it is important that dogs are kept on a leash when visiting Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

 

By: Michael Fox

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus breeding season is August to February and we already have three sighting this month, so it is a good time to remind walkers to keep their dogs on leash within the Reserve. As this sighting report highlights:

Semple1 - 14 July 2016

Koala sighted – station marker 5

“Walking on the mountain yesterday around 10.30 proved exciting: two Koalas on the Summit Track. The first was sitting in a fork directly above the 5th guided walk sign-post. The second had actually climbed down from a tree, walked along the track before climbing back up a tree about four steps from the top of the flight up the western side of  the mountain on the Summit Track, where it promptly started feeding. Two in one day really proves we have at least two koalas on the mountain! We think the ones we saw were both young.

Semple2 - 14 July 2016

Koala sighted walking Summit Track

“As an aside; the woman who saw the Koala climb down and walk the track before climbing back up had a rather large dog, firmly on a lead. We congratulated her for having the dog under control. Poor Koala would not have stood a chance had the dog been free.” Alison

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BCC information on Dogs and Koalas: identifies that Koalas are under threat of extinction. Koalas are now listed as vulnerable in Queensland under the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and also in the South East Queensland bio-region under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Queensland was once home to millions of Koalas. However, the BCC estimates that now there may be as few as 100,000 left in existence statewide. Koalas were still being hunted in Queensland in the 1920s, since that time habitat clearing and road trauma have been the have been the most significant threat with dog attacks number three.

“In 1927 in Queensland, the country’s final, but highly controversial month-long hunt known as Black August, more than 800,000 koalas were killed.” Rural Weekly

Koalas are now breeding in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve so we have a second chance to keep this unique and iconic species as part of our community.

“80 percent of koalas attacked by dogs die from their injuries” Moggill Koala Hospital – cited in BCC Dogs and Koalas

Koalas live here – dogs visit  Keep your dog on leash while walking in the Reserve and help us protect and grow the Koala population.

Your dog wants to play off-leash? Visit Abbeville Street Park.

Google Map - Koalas July 2016

Koala sightings since January 2016

 

By: Michael Fox

Our Koalas becoming a tourist attraction for Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve:

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Levi “Eagle Eyes” Koala 

“Today my son and I went for a walk through the Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and headed on down to Fox Gully to look at your handy work. It’s looking great including all the nest boxes around the area. On the way back I gave my ‘eagle eyes’ son, Levi, a challenge to spot a koala. To my great delight within a minute or two he succeeded! I have attached a photo – not a great one as it was very high up – look for the bump in the second fork up! Thank you for inspiring me to improve my own garden (kookaburra box is up and fingers are crossed!) and for everything that you do for nature.”

Michelle Fatur

See Koala adventures Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve

 

Koala - climbing - Miranda Scott - 11 June 2016

By: Michael Fox

Fox Gully neighbours Miranda, Scott and children, Freya and Clementine, had a special wildlife experience today.

Walking the Geebung Track just near the National Tree Day planting site the family spotted a Koala Phascolarctos cinereus on the ground beside a tree. They managed to get a special photo of the Koala reaching up to climb a tree.

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Koala - Scott and Miranda - 11 June 20161

                                                                Koala beside Geebung Track

The family’s sighting has been added to Koala Tracker and our Google Earth map of wildlife sightings.

Google Map - Koalas 2016

                      Koala sightings 2016

Koala 8 June 2016

Koala in Tallowwood

8 June 2016

Healthy-looking Koala at Gertrude Petty Place 

He (or she) was in a large Tallowwood between public housing at 59 Gosford Street and footpath from Gertrude Petty Place to Federation Outlook this afternoon. Was quite high up so this is the best I could do with my Iphone.

Also two quite large microbats patrolling GPP at 5.15pm tonight.

Sue Jones

 

Koala - Phascolarctos cinereus - 23 Apr 2016

Koala – Federation Track

23 April 2016

Griffith Mates – Lantana Busters

Our Griffith Mates bushcare partners were very happy to find a Koala beside the Federation Track heading down to Granby Street.

 

 

 

Koala - Vittal - 17 April 2016

Koala – Federation Track

17 April 2016

Koala along Federation Track 

We are sighting a koala bear for last two weeks, during a trek to Mount Gravatt lookout.
Today, we sighted them on top of a eucalyptus tree 100m from carpark near Logan Road entry. Last week, sighted them near Federation lookout.

Attaching pictures of the same to inform respective authority.

Vittal

 

 

Koala - Upper Ekibin Creek - Pieter D. 9 April 2016 close

Koala – Ekibin Creek – P. Demmers

9 April 2016

Koala – Ekibin Creek Pollinator Link

 

 

 

 

 

 

Koala - Fox Gully 10 Dec 2016 - Maria Hill adj

Koala – Fox Gully

 

Koala – Fox Gully Pollinator Link

Maria, Matt and their children often find Koalas in the trees right behind their house.

In January 2013 the family had a Koala mum and joey visiting.

Photo: Maria Hill