Louis Cheng - 1 Sept 2015

Louis planting Creeping Beard Grass 

By: Michael Fox

Louis Cheng, a Griffith Uni Environmental Science student, joined Marshal and myself at Fox Gully Bushcare today to finish spreading the mulch and plant native grasses at the small bird habitat planting site.

Planting Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus creates a cover of Living Mulch that will retain water, stop erosion, control weeds and create a micro-climate that keeps the soil cool allowing the development of a healthy soil ecosystem with fungi, bacteria, earthworms, curl-grubs and bush cockroaches all working together to renew the very foundation of our forest.

The site, planted just a month ago on National Tree Day, is already showing fresh growth with Native Sarsaparilla Hardenbergia violacea, Star Goodenia Goodenia rotundifolia, Ivy-leaf Violet Viola banksii and new Acacias all producing fresh shoots and in some cases flowering. The natural regeneration of the site is also increasing with Tape Vine Stephania japonica spreading and the Tallowwoods Eucalyptus microcorys in full flower overhead.

Spring growth - 1 Sept 2015The local fauna is also moving back into the site with Purplewinged Mantid Tenodera australasiae exploring the bushes, Australian Magpies Gymnorhna tibicen feeding on insects in the mulch and a new Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae nest hollow being excavated in a termite nest.  Fauna - 1 Sept 2015

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Pied Butcherbird - 15 Oct 2014

Pied Butcherbird (adult)

By: Michael Fox

Marshal’s brother Dennis joined us at bushcare today.

We were also joined by a family of three Pied Butcherbirds Cracticus nigrogularis, a parent and two juveniles, as well as two Laughing Kookaburras Dacelo novaeguineae.

We were clearing Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia and disturbed a number of Centipedes Cryptops spinipes. This made us very popular with our bird visitors.

Kookaburra - 15 Oct 2014

Kookaburra with blind snake

It was fascinating to watch the Butcherbirds beat the slower moving Kookaburras. I tossed one Centipede to a juvenile Butcherbird which quickly snatched it up and flew off just before a Kookaburra landed on the same spot.

Marshal and Dennis - 15 Oct 2015

Marshal and Dennis – productive team

The Kookaburras did have some success. This one caught what looks like a blind snake, possibly a Common Eastern Blind Snake Ramphotyhlops nigrescens which has been found in the area (Catterall & Wallace (1987) An Island in Suburbia). Blind snakes are non-venomous and harmless, living in soft surface soil and debris typically feeding on small ants.

The Mt Gravatt Bush Men had a great afternoon of tall tales and laughter. We even managed to clear a lot of weeds, collecting six bags of Fishbone roots, a bile of compost and Marshal used the Treepopper to remove another sixteen Ochna bushes.

 

By: Jude Fox

Kookaburra feeding chicks - 25 Dec 2013

Kookaburra feeding chicks

On Christmas Day we noticed Kookaburras making regular visits to a nest box installed for Boobook Owls. Observing from the bush track, we watched as a parent Kookaburra landed in the entry of the nest box and heard a great chattering from inside as the parent bird’s head disappeared from view.

Later, using the go pro camera we were able to observe four Kookaburra chicks inside the nest box. Inspired by this finding, on Boxing Day we decided to investigate all the other nest boxes we had installed in the gully. This yielded three Glider boxes containing Gliders and two boxes containing Possums. The Possums were in a box intended for Pale Headed Rosellas and Kookaburras, proving that Possums don’t read nearly as well as do Gliders!!!

Including the nest box that the Lorikeets have used to hatch at least three clutches of chicks that we know of, this is a usage rate of about 75%…not bad for nest boxes that have only been in place just over a year.

Glider - 26 Dec 2013 Gliders - 26 Dec 2013 crop Possum - Pale Headed Box - 26 Dec 2013 crop Kookaburra chicks2 - 26 Dec 2013

CVA team - 22 May 2013

CVA volunteers with Kookaburra supervisor

By: Michael Fox

Conservation Volunteer Australia (CVA) teams worked at our Fox Gully Bushcare site the last two Wednesdays, restoring the silt filters along the track, removing a huge area of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia.

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Silt filters - 22 May 2013

Mulch silt filters clean run-off water

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Reducing erosion and keeping silt our of our waterways is an important part of our bushcare work. Silt filters created with logs and mulch at run-off points along the dirt maintenance track slow the water and allow silt to settle out. The filters have done an excellent job managing the extreme conditions over the last few years however they needed to be made more permanent with logs and fresh mulch.

Removing Fishbone - 29 May 2013

Chris, CVA supervisor (orange vest), explaining best-practice weed removal

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The CVA supervisors are very professional, delivering their team, ensuring they have all the necessary safety equipment then providing practical support and guidance. Chris is reinventing his career as a recent mature age graduate from Queensland University, so he combines strong environmental knowledge with practical work experience. Here he is explaining our best-practice procedure for clearing Fishbone – tear off and bin the roots then the leaves are composted on-site.

Internet Generation meet Australian bush

Gen Y meet Australian bush

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I often hear people comment that young people today a don’t have the same commitment we Baby Boomers demonstrate. So it is a real pleasure to have the opportunity to work with individuals like the young Korean girl not only on a working holiday in Australia bur also volunteering to restore our Conservation Reserve.

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Camphor Laurel and Chinese Elm removed

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The CVA teams made a major contribution progressing our restoration of Zone 13. Clearing the Fishbone Fern so the native grasses and ferns return to the gully.

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Bags of Fishbone roots ready for removal

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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.