Our BCC Habitat Brisbane team have been active upgrading the Federation Track which goes from Gertrude Petty Place via Federation Lookout onwards to the Summit.

You can also join from easement at 55 Granby Street.

The Track traverses some of the most beautiful  parts of the mountain passing spectacular Scribbly Gums Eucalyptus racemosa: koala food trees.

The characteristic scribble on the bark is created by lava of the Scribbly Gum moth. The moth lays its eggs in the bark. The lava hatches out, mines the bark in a zigzag pattern then emerges to form a grey ridged cocoon under bark at the base of the tree or in leaf litter. “A Guide to Australian Moths” Zborowski & Edwards.

The track crosses gullies populated with Coin-spot Treeferns Cyathea cooperi.

From the Granby Street sign the track climbs through the seam of quartz that bisects the mountain.

Not as pretty as the fern filled gully this part of the track presents excellent opportunities for some creative Ansel Adams style black & white photography: like this gnarled log surrounded by quartz.

Continue on to the Summit for a superb coffee at Echidna Magic.

Hope to meet you on the track soon.

Mike

 

Female Orange Spider Wasp – Priocnemis bicolor, with a Huntsman spider which it has just paralysed.

The male dies shortly after mating and the female prepares a nest in the ground to be stocked with food for the larva when the egg hatch.

The wasp had to drag its prey over one metre to the newly dug nest.  The debris is still beside hole.

The spider is dragged down into the nest.

Finally the dirt is put back into the nest and the tamped down. Note the debris is now cleared from around the hole.

Thanks to Sue Jones for this amazing sequence of photos.

Click on photo to see larger image.

Who or what is digging in your backyard?

It may suprise you.

Mike

Geutrude Petty Place Buscare site is alive with butterflies at the moment.  The work Sue and the team have done removing weeds and planting native grasses and shrubs is really paying off with the rain we have been getting this summer. With the weeds removed natural regeneration means a large number of different native grasses and sedges have returned a critical success factor for bringing back the butterflies.

I photographed two new butterflies this morning which have not previously been recorded on Mt Gravatt.

A Spotted Sedge-skipper – Hesperilla ornata posed on some native Barbed Wire grass. Saw Sedge which is indigenous to the Reserve, is the laval food plant for the Spotted Sedge-skipper. With natural regeneration bringing back the native sedges we can expect to see more of these beautiful butterflies on Mt Gravatt in the future. This is particularly important because these butterflies are classed as “uncommon” in Braby’s Butterflies of Australia.

I also found this male White-banded Plane – Phaedyma shepherdi.

At 55mm these are quite a large butterfly for Brisbane. The patterns on the wings identify this specimen as a male.

I also found Splendid Ochre – Trapezites symmomus and Small Dusky-blue – Candalides erinus butterflies.

Mike

Join us for Clean Up Australia Day at the Summit of Mt Gravatt – Saturday 7th March – anytime between 8am and 10am – sign out with the MEG Team here –  www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au/Mt+Gravatt+Summit

Mt Gravatt Environment Group is working with BCC Habitat Brisbane and the Echidna Magic Kiosk to plan the development and restoration of one of Brisbane’s iconic outlooks.

Clean Up Australia Day is a great opportunity to visit this amazing location where just ten minutes from the CBD you may see a Koala snoozing in a tree or simply be surrounded by the magic of bird song as you work beside some amazing individuals, pinic with the family or share the Echidna Magic with a coffee on the deck with Brisbane’s greatest outlook.

Do you want a CD copy of Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve?

Sign up today so I know how many copies to bring – www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au/Mt+Gravatt+Summit

Michael J Fox

I added a special bush tucker plant to our Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve today – Austromyrtus dulcis Midgen, Midyim Berry.

I am honoured to be given these bush tucker berries by my MEG collegue Sue. We have French visitors coming for dinner and we are planning an Aussie food experience: Kangaroo steak on the barbie followed by Pavlova topped with Midyim Berries.

Midyim Berries are growing in our Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare site. If you want to grow these in your own backyard the B4C Nursery has plants available.

Do you have any other bushtucker ideas we can use with our French foodies?

Mike

Koala photographed in Fox Gully October 2009

MEG is working with BCC Habitat Brisbane, First Contact, Mt Gravatt District Historical Society, Cr Krista Adams and other  local stakeholders to plan the restoration of Mt Gravatt Outlook to maximise the experience for visitors.

The focus for MEG is engaging visitors, both local and tourists, with a powerful environmental, cultural/historical experience through development of the distant city and river vistas while experincing the colours and scents of our local wildflowers, calls of King Parrots, the flash of colour as Imperial Hairstreaks cluster in the Acacias and the buzz of discovering a Koala asleep in a Tallowwood.

Our research of local plants and wildlife – Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve by Sue Jones & Michael Fox, combined with our bush restoration experience allows us to see huge potential in thoughtful development of the Scenic Outlook with the objectives of:

  • developing habitat to attact and support the complex community of Koalas, Sugar Gliders, birds, butterflies and insects;
  • reducing the spread of weeds through-out the Reserve and the wider Bulimba Creek catchment by effective bush restoration at the Outlook;
  • reducing ongoing BCC maintenance costs by use of best practice bushcare techniques; and
  • improving public safety by reducing risk of injury on steep slopes.

The following is an extract from Mike’s comments on the Mt Gravatt Outlook Reserve Draft Land Management Plan June 2008.

Scenic Amenity

  • Scenic amenity is an important component of the ongoing community and tourism value of the Outlook. With the development of the kiosk/café at the Summit Mt Gravatt will easily rival Mt Coot-tha as a visitor attraction. The unique indigenous cultural aspects combined with similar views and the excellent track network which, unlike Mt Coot-tha, will be directly accessible from the kiosk/café – a significant issue for tourists.
  • The only explicit management guidelines provided, appear to be the arrows marked on the Significant Viewpoint Plan (Appendix Six). Another very important aspect of visual amenity is the actual vegetation adjoining the Summit. Currently this area is over grown with unsightly weeds. See Attachment C.
  • Long term enhancement of scenic amenity would be strengthened and maintenance costs reduced by:
    • Inclusion on the site map of specific areas where vegetation height is managed to allow views of CBD and mountains.
    • Specification of those areas as conservation buffer zones to be restored with suitable low growth plants indigenous to the Reserve. Plants for consideration include Smilax Australis (Barbed Wire Vine/Wait-awhile) and Bursaria spinosa (Prickly pine) which have attractive flowers, provide rare habitat for smaller native birds and as the names suggest discourage undesirable incursion by visitors.
    • Provide priority status for ongoing budget decisions by classifying these buffer zones as Recreational facilities ie. maintaining attractive visual amenity and attracting our beautiful native birds and butterflies into close proximity with visitors.
    • Provision of well restored buffer zones will also provide significant protection for the core conservation areas of bushland by dramatically reducing the edge effect of development.

Mt Gravatt Reserve is a unique island of Queensland bushland ten minutes from Brisbane CBD and home to Koalas, Echidnas, twenty seven different types of butterfly and dozens of birds.

The Reserve is Queensland State Governement land held in trust by the Brisbane City Council which in partnership with the community manages recreation, conservaiton of biodiversity, scenic amenity, heritage and social values of the site.

The amazing biodiversity of Mt Gravatt Reserve can be appreciated by considering in 66 hectares 245 native plant species have been identified which is equal to 10% of the total plant diversity in the 32 million hectares of England, Scotland and Wales.

Mount Gravatt Environment Group (MEG) is an umbrella group for four active groups of BCC Habitat Brisbane Bushcare volunteers restoring different parts of this bushland. Restoration activities range from removal of weeds/rubbish and planting of indiginous plant species  to researching and mapping of plant and animal species, community education and consultation with BCC land management teams.

MEG supports bushcare groups restoring:

  • Gertude Petty Place
  • Rover Street
  • Fox Gully
  • Roly Chapman Reserve