Team 1 July 2017

Griffith Mates Bushcare Team

By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates partners were back today, again led by Sienna Harris, Griffith University Ecological Science student.

 

Rainbow Lorikeet - 22 July 2017 low res

Rainbow Lorikeet checking nest hollow

 

 

 

Koala scratches - 22 July 2017 low res

Koala scratches

 

Just before the Team arrived I spotted a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus checking out a tree hollow as a potential nest sight.

International students are always interested in our wildlife and they loved the bright coloured Rainbows. Rainbow Lorikeets are thought to mate for life (like most parrots) pairs preen and nibble each other during rest periods.

 

I was also able to point out a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita high in the top branches of a eucalypt. It was high up but hard to miss because of its loud screech.

We also looked at Koala scratches on a Queensland Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis.

 

 

 

Lantana Busters at work - 22 July 2017 low res

Lantana Buster Team

 

 

Lantana Buster - 22 July 2017 low res

Weeding is fun

 

 

We then split into two groups:

  • Sienna leading the Lantana Busters
  • I went with the Log Team.

The Lantana Busters worked on clearing the invasive Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses by rolling it up into swales across the slope retain water and reduce erosion by slowing water flow.

Pulling weeds may not sound exciting but there are always lots of smiles.

Hand saw team - 22 July 2017 low res

We can use a hand saw!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Griffith Mates always love to learn new skills, like using a hand saw …

Ochna buster - 22 July 2017 low res

Look at me! I pulled this out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… and pulling deep rooted Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata with the specialist TreePopper bushcare weeding tool.

The Treepopper allows almost anyone to pull difficult weeds by clamping jaws around the trunk then using the leverage of the long handle to slowly pull the deep roots without breaking.

 

Burtons Legless Lizard (Lialis burtonis) - 22 July 2017 cropped

Burtons Legless Lizard Lialis burtonis

 

 

 

 

 

Even finding what she thought was a snake did not spook one of the Lantana Busters. Everyone gathered around, even the log moving team, to inspect what Sienna identified as a Legless Lizard. The lizard was very cooperative and hardly moved while dozens of photos recorded our unusual wildlife.

 

 

How do we move that - 22 July 2017 low res

Mmm … a bit heavy for one of us to lift

The Log Team were also learning new skills.

Brains over brawn - 22 July 2017

Cross beams allow a team lift

This team are all from China and studying microbiology at Griffith University. So they loved the challenge of learning the power of applying more brains and less brawn. None of the team had used ropes before. However, they caught on fast, using a branch as a lever lift the log to get the rope underneath before learning to tie a knot that would not slip.

 

Brains win over brawn. Using two hardwood cross beams a log too heavy for one person can be carried by a team of six. Still hard work and slow going but achievable.

Team Success - 22 July 2017 low res

Team success!

 

 

 

 

The log is in place across the slope and nestled into the mulch so it will not move.

And they were very proud of themselves.

Well done team!

We finished up with a short guided walk inspecting the 2016, 2015 and 2014 National Tree Day planting and explaining the role of nest boxes providing shelter for Squirrel Gliders, Rainbow Lorikeets and Kookaburras.

 

 

 

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By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates partners returned in March to continue their work clearing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses. The Mates started clearing the Lantana in September 2015 and they were very happy to see the native grasses, sedges and vines returning where the weeds had been cleared.

I love having Griffith Mates onsite … there is always a lot of discussion and laughter. This time  put the team to work on clearing Lantana regrowth. This is real get on your hands and knees detail work … not as exciting as the mass clearing done at past events so I was not sure how these young people would go. I should not have worried, as always the Mates amazed me with their commitment and the quality of their work.

Lantan Buster Blues Bros 25 Mar 2017

Blues Brothers at work

The Mates even take having fun to whole new levels. These two were bouncing off each other so much I had to introduce them to the Blues Brothers movie.

Lantana Buster Teacher in Action - 25 Mar 2017

A born teacher at work

I have rarely seen someone take such simple pleasure in teaching new skill … in this case how to remove Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata with the Treepopper.

Lantana Buster Team - 25 Mar 2016

Seventeen Mates, forty hours Lantana Busting. Thank you Griffith Mates.

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

sophie-jocelyn-ryan-and-noel-24-sept-2016

Griffith Mates Sophie, Jocelyn and Ryan with Noel

 

Our Griffith Mates partners have again provided valuable for restoration of our Fox Gully Bushcare site. At the last event for 2016 we first checked what species can now be found in the Small Bird Habitat.

Griffith Mates participated in the 2015 National Tree Day planting of the Small Bird Habitat so it was great to be able to show the increase in species diversity in just one year.

painted-pine-moth-orgyia-australis-25-sept-2016

Painted Pine Moth Orgyia australis caterpillar

The Small Bird Habitat is an initiative to create the specialised habitat our small forest birds like Variegated Fair Wrens Malurus lamberti. These small insect eating birds are valuable partners in controlling pests in our backyards. Building an effective habitat requires attracting a diverse range of insect species to provide food.

Finding several Painted Pine Moth Orgyia australis caterpillars on site is a good excellent start.

 

 

lydia-lichen-moth-asura-lydia-sbh-close-24-sept-2016

Lydia Lichen Moth Astura lydia

We inspected the Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras butterfly caterpillars on Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcata. I explained that the caterpillars are protected by “Kropotkin” ants – Small Meat Ant Iridomyrmex sp.

We also found a Lydia Lichen Moth Asura lydia with its curious eyelash like antlers.

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sickle-leaved-wattle-acacia-falcata-seeds-24-sept-2016

Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcata

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Other excellent signs of habitat building progress was finding seed on Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcataNative Sarsaparilla Hardenbergia violacea and Kangaroo Grass Themeda triandra which will provide food for seed eating birds.

ochna-blitz-24-sept-2016

Ochna Blitz

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After inspecting the Small Bird Habitat progress we moved onto our Ochna Blitz. Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata is a deep rooted invasive garden plant with attractive red and green berries that are eaten by birds then spread into our bush habitat. The objective is to start breaking the weed cycle by collecting, bagging and dumping the seeds then poisoning the plant. Eradicating or at least reducing Ochna in the Reserve will take years but systematic clearing of smaller areas will progressively reduce the spread.

We look forward to partnering with Griffith Mates again in 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

https://megoutlook.org/2016/04/24/griffith-mates-lantana-busters/

Amanda McArthur 2 - 26 Sept 2016

Amanda launched her attack on Ochna

By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates friends returned for Fox Gully Bushcare last Saturday.

The job for the day was attacking our three most invasive weeds.

Amanda launched her attack on the Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata. Ochna is a garden escapee that spreads when birds eat the bright coloured berries then fly into the bush, then spreads quickly as the shrubs get established.

Ochna is a particularly difficult weed to remove because of the deep tap-root.  The Treepopper is the ideal weapon attack these woody weeds and you get a great sense of satisfaction as you pull these weeds out roots and all, and no poison needed.

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Emmanuel - 26 Sept 2015

Emmanuel attacks Asparagus Fern

Emmanuel launched his attack on another garden escapee – Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus – again spread by birds eating the red fruit.

Emmanuel used a Cyclone 2 Prong Hoe to remove the Asparagus Fern before trimming off the leaves and roots and collecting the crown for removal off-site. The crown is the brain of the Asparagus Fern, so removal means the plant will not regrow.

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Tomorrow - 26 Sept 2015

Tomorrow identifies Basket Fern from her visit to Cairns

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It is a real pleasure to share the forest with our international visitors. I was particularly impressed when Tomorrow identified Basket Fern Drynaria rigidula.

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Emmanuel and Tomorrow - team - 26 Sept 2015

Emmanuel and Tomorrow team up against Ochna

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Emmanuel and Tomorrow teamed up to tackle the Ochna.

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Emmanuel and Tomorrow - 26 Sept 2015

WOW! That is a big Ochna root

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With Tomorrow digging using the 2 Prong Hoe and Emmanuel on the Treepopper the team managed to pull out the largest Ochna trunk I have seen.

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Lantana team - 26 Sept 2015

Lantana team (l-r) Sienna, Amanda, Ho Yi and Sau To

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Sienna, Amanda, Ho Yi and Sau To attacked the Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses again a garden escapee spread by birds eating the purple fruit.

The Lantana team cleared a large area of weed, raking it into swales to compost, control water runoff and reduce spread of weed seed.

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Stick Case Moth - 26 Sept 2015

Stick Case Moth Clania lewinii

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A successful morning for all. Amanda filled her five specimen containers with a bush cockroach, butterfly and other insects for her university collection.

We also added Stick Case Moth Clania lewinii to our species list for the Reserve.

The shape and construction materials of a case moth’s portable home allow identification of the moth species. Stick Case Moths build their case moth bags using sticks of similar length. Similar bags are built the Faggot Case Moth Clania ignobilis with one or two longer sticks.

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Ants - 26 Sept 2015

Meeting the locals – Golden-tailed Spiny Ant nest

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How better to finish the day?

I showed how turning over a couple of rocks could expose a whole new world.

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Golden-tailed Spiny Ant - 22 July 2014 - Alan Moore - close

Golden-tailed Spiny Ant up close

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The Golden-tailed Spiny Ant Polyrhachis ammon really are spiny. Click on photo to enlarge.

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Ochna removed with Tree Popper

By: Michael Fox

Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata is one of the most difficult woody weeds to remove or even poison.

One of our key Bushcare tools, the Tree Popper is an ideal weapon to attack Ochna and no poison required.

Ochna bushes commonly have extraordinarily deep tap roots out of proportion to the size of the bush. This Ochna removed at Fox Gully Bushcare is an excellent example – a thick 60cm tap root hidden under a tiny bush.

The Tree Popper is an excellent tool for Bushcare work however best results are obviously achieved when the ground is soft after rain.

By: Susan Jones

MacGregor Lions Bushcare Team

“Sue! I need you to bring 20 pair of gardening gloves”.  Newly appointed MacGregor Lions Vice President, Shan Ju Lin, had tapped into her many contacts within the Australian/Taiwanese community, organising volunteers from all over Brisbane to assist Lions with their Roly Chapman Reserve Gardens

Another tub of weeds removed

Project July working bee.   Amongst them were young Taiwanese tourists whom we hope will take home happy memories of their Australian bush experience.

Juvenile Grey Butchebird

Garden bed #3 was cleared of many garden escapes and weeds that had been dispersed as seed by birds and animals.  One large pile of mulch was then spread in the bed to improve soil quality and minimise weed regrowth.   A family of Grey Butcherbirds Cracticus torquatus sat close by and swooped each time an insect, spider or frog was uncovered: it was a gourmet smorgasbord that the birds relished!

Garden bed #4 was a tangled

Native trees being released from strangling grip of Devil’s Ivy

undergrowth of Cobblers Pegs Bidens pilosa, Mother-in-law Tongue Sanseveria trifasciata, Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata, Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia, Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis, as well as, Devil’s Ivy Epipremnum aureumthat was slowly smothering native gums.  With so many willing volunteers the garden quickly re-emerged and the weed heap grew to enormous proportions.  A Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus peregrinus was disturbed from its sleep in a gum above and immediately a family of Noisy Miners Manorina melanophrys circled the unfortunate creature, announcing its presence with their shrill shrieks.

Thank you to our great volunteer team!  We enjoyed your company and appreciated the hard work you put in to move this MacGregor Lions’ project forward.  We would love to see you back next month!

At our next working bee on 4th August we will finish mulching Garden bed # 3, remove the last of the Devil’s Ivy and weed roots in garden bed #4 and then lay down mulch.     These two beds will then be ready for replanting with bird, butterfly and bee-attracting natives!

Join the MacGregor Lions team restoring birds, butterflies, bees and frogs to this special environment:

Next working bee – Saturday 4th August – 8am to 10am

Meet at garden #4 (from Hoad Street end of pathway).

For details email – Macgregor.Lions.Secretary@gmail.com

Removing weeds with Tree Popper

By Susan Jones

Last Saturday, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) brought a corporate group of twelve young volunteers to assist Mt Gravatt Environment Group with weed removal at the entrance to the Summit Track.   Their main targets for the day were Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata.

Group leader, Fabian was interested in trying out our Tree Popper on the Mickey Mouse Plants, as he had not seen one of these used before.  The tool is placed around the main stem of the ground at ground level, the pincers are closed firmly and the tool levered towards the user.  With very little effort the weed emerges from the ground with its deep tap-root intact.

Whilst the blokes were grappling with Mickey Mouse Plants, the girls were rolling up Creeping Lantana like a carpet.  After shaking off the dirt, the ‘carpet’ was laid out to dry.  Once the materials has dried out, it will be returned  to the earth as mulch.

Rolling up Creeping Lantana

Thanks to Conservation Volunteers Australia  and the volunteers for a great day’s work!

Conservation Volunteers organise groups of local volunteers, often corporate groups, as well as volunteers from around Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the world.