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Nest box monitoring - 3 Sept 2014

(l-r) Marshal, Alan, Saki and myself. Liz is on the camera

 

By: Michael Fox

Kyoto University student, Saki, joined Marshal, Alan, Saki, Liz and myself at Bushcare on Wednesday to check the nest boxes providing important habitat for hollow dwelling wildlife.

We the GoPro camera to  drop in on the Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis family were at home in one of the glider boxes.

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Squirrel Glider family

Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis family

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A bundle of Gliders.

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Brushtail & baby - 3 Sept 2014

Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula & baby

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Then we visited mother Brushtail and her baby (called a joey like Kangaroos) in the Kookaburra nest box. The Brushtail took over the nest box not long after the installation by Hollow Log Homes. The Kookaburras took over the Boobook Owl box to raise their family.

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Griffith Bush Care Team

By: Michael Fox

Reviewing the photos preparing to write this blog it was like being there all over again. The laughter, the smiles, the generosity, the sharing of stories about families and different countries … it was one of the most inspiring bushcare events I have attended.

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Bamboo Team in action

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Bamboo roots grubbed out for disposal

Working on the “Bamboo Team” I learned about the different qualities of bamboo and the preferences of Pandas for the tender new shoots. I heard the story of a person so inspired by their Chinese school principal father that they followed their undergraduate business degree with a PhD focused on education so they can give back to their community with education. I talked with a student that is studying international relations and shared his vision of how his career could go in directions directions ranging from trade negotiations to more general diplomatic work, all of which will clearly be underpinned by an intelligence and  compassion that gives me hope for future global relations.

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Walking through the Sagano bamboo forest, in Arashiyama, Japan, was a special experience. A bamboo is forest is beautiful and peaceful producing strong versatile valuable wood. However bamboo does not belong in the Australian bush. Once established in the Reserve the bamboo spread and over a huge area crowding out native plants and making monoculture so thick it was impenetrable to wildlife. Removing bamboo is a hard work as all the roots have be dug out by hand for disposal off-site.

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Fishbone Team starts at bottom of slope

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The “Fishbone Team” worked to clear a huge area of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia on the slope. Working from the bottom the team removed the weeds and placed logs to stabilise the slope and provide access.

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Weilding the sledge - 24 Aug 2013

Banging in stakes to hold logs

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Bushcare participants get to do a bit of everything at Fox Gully. Wielding a sledge hammer is change from writing assignments.

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“Thanks for helping me find a feed.”

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They even met some of the local wildlife. The male Brush-turkey Alectura lathami was working on his nest mound when the team arrived. Then one of the local Kookaburras came to visit looking for a feed in the area that has been cleared.

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Huge area cleared of Fishbone and logs in place

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Morning tea time and we have achieved an amazing amount of valuable restoration work. The Fishbone Team has cleared a huge area on the slope and installed logs to manage erosion and allow safe access.

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Composting weeds

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A large pile of Fishbone leaves have been added to the compost pile and sixteen garbage bags have been filled with the roots of Fishbone and bamboo.

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Looking for lunch

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The Kookaburra has come back to inspect the results and look for lunch …

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Catching a fat spider for lunch

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Spotting a nice fat Huntsman spider he flies down right among the team, snaps the spider and flies off again.

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Mirandha hamming it up for the camera

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At the finish shaking each person’s hand and thanking them for their contribution was a real pleasure and a singular honour. However, I must acknowledge Mirandha Escott-Burton whose vision and persistence has created the Griffith Bush Care  which is becoming a valuable source of volunteers supporting our restoration work and providing a real Australian bush experience for international students.

Mirandha is building a partnership between Griffith University Student Linx and Mt Gravatt Environment Group.

By: Michael Fox

Pale-headed Rosellas inspecting nest box

We had a day of inspections today with a pair of Pale-headed Rosellas checking out prospective new homes. Unfortunately they started with two boxes designed for Scaly-breasted Lorikeets. The smaller entrance diameter means the boxes are kept available for these smaller birds that are losing out on breeding sites with resulting drop in numbers.

Fortunately the Pale-headed ended up down behind Alan’s house where there is a box with a larger diameter entry.

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They made it too small … let’s chew our way in.

This box looks like someone has had a go at expanding the entry size but still not large enough.

While we were walking we also noticed a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets inspecting the Owl box – designed for Boobook or Barn Owls not Lorikeets.

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Too small for Kookaburra … need to find a larger termite nest.

Up the track near the big water reservoir we found two Kookaburras sitting on a branch between the new Kookaburra box and the termite nest they had been trying to hollow out. The Kookaburra box was installed because clearly the termite nest was too small the make an effective nest hollow. Hopefully today’s sighting means they are considering the new box.

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Tawny Frogmouth being a dead branch

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Of course there is always someone who relaxes and wonders what the fuss is about. We almost didn’t see this Tawny Frogmouth pretending to be a dead tree branch. He deigned to half open an eye to check us out then dismissed us and went back to being a dead branch.

By: Michael Fox

Alan & Stacy with glider box

Alan & Stacy Franks of Hollow Log Homes visited Fox Gully Bushcare today to install ten new nest boxes to provide breeding habitat.

Up to July 1893 Mt Gravatt and surrounds were designated as a railway timber reserve. Kate Flink, BCC Habitat Brisbane, worked with us to research availability of nest hollows within the Fox Gully site reflects this history with only a

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limited number of trees older than 100 years and only a very small number of tree hollows suited for nest sites.

Smaller bird species like Scaly-breasted Lorikeets and Pardalotes are particularly impacted as they are out-competed for the limited nest sites. Nest boxes can be used to help restore the balance in the habitat.

Nest box for Boobook and Barn Owls

BCC Habitat Brisbane have contracted Hollow Log Homes to install nest boxes for Boobook and Barn Owls, Kookaburras, Pardalotes, Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Rainbow Lorikeets/Pale-headed Rosellas as well as boxes for Sugar & Squirrel Gliders.

See one year update – Christmas in Fox Gully