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.

 

 

 

Team 1 July 2017

Griffith Mates Team

By: Michael Fox

Fifteen happy laughing Griffith Mates joined me on Saturday morning to prepare the site for the 2017 National Tree Day.

See Alan Moore’s “We love Bushcare!” photo series. 

The team members were so interested in everything, from the fruiting Thread-moss Orthodontium lineare to a Huntsman spider on an old pipe, that I thought they must all be environment students. However, they were

Thread-moss - Orthodontium lineare - 1 July 2017

Thread-moss Orthodontium lineare

actually studying everything from business to one special person doing her second Phd in linguistics! They just all love being out in the bush doing something useful.

 

 

 

Most Australians would not be keen on getting up close and personal with a Huntsman spider. Griffith Mates students come from all over the globe … Zimbabwe, Malaysia, China, Japan, etc. and they are fascinated all Australian animals.

 

 

Common Crow caterpillar - 1 July 2017

Common Crow Euploea core

I showed the team a Common Crow Euploea core butterfly caterpillar with its fascinating black curls. The caterpillar was feeding on a Parsonsia vine and I explained that butterfly caterpillars will only feed on a limited number of plant species. If we maintain and increase the diversity of native plants in bushland and in our backyards we can bring butterflies back to our urban habitat.

 

The next find was very strange hairy fungi with a colloid shape with hollow in the middle: Hairy Trumpet – Panus fasciatus. A new species to add to our Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve: over thirty fungi species found in the Reserve so far.

Hairy Trumpet 1 July 2017

Hairy Trumpet – Panus fasciatus

 

Plant signs

Installing interpretative signs

There was also work to do. Two teams went hunting for examples Tape Vine Stephania japonica and Slender Grape Cayratia clematidea and install interpretative signs to show Tree Day volunteers some of the plants that feed our native animals.

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Glass removal 1 July 2017

Site safety – removing broken glass

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Preparation also includes maximising site safety by removing broken glass. Not exciting work but very important.

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Visit Facebook to see Alan Moore’s “We love Bushcare!” photo series that captures the mood of joy and pride of our Griffith Mates student partners preparing for. 2017 National Tree Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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/

Join Griffith Mates for the Ochna Blitz Challenge!

Saturday 24 September 8am to 11am

Map

2016 National Tree Day planting

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Location: Junction of Geebung and Federation Tracks (behind green water reservoir)

We will do a walk through the National Tree Day planting and some light weeding then move onto the Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata.

The planting site is looking great with trees and vines planted in 2015 now flowering and producing seed. A Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcata is already hosting caterpillars of the Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras butterfly.

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The caterpillar is protected by “Kropotkin” ants – Small Meat Ant Iridomyrmex sp. The ants provide protection in return for sugary fluids secreted by caterpillar. Imperial Hairstreaks will only return to breed where both caterpillar food plants and the ants are present.
Kropotkin is a reference to Russian biologist Peter Kropotkin who proposed a concept of evolution based on “mutual aid” between species helping species from ants to higher mammals survive.

The combination of rain and clearing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis means the Ochna is thriving and it is covered in flowers and seeds. However, the rain also means must easier to pull our either by hand or Treepopper.

 

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

Small bird planting - sign - 13 July 2015

Planning a habitat haven

By: Michael Fox

Brisbane winters are just stunning … as long as you are in the sun and out of the westerly wind.

I spent time this morning laying out the site for our National Tree Day planting. Two sets of concentric circles will create both the protection for nesting and the food – insects, nectar and seeds, required by our small forest birds.

Our two habitat havens will each be 8 metres in diameter and based on the Habitat Network model – Creating a small bird habitat haven.

The Inner Sanctum planted with Coastal Banksia Banksia integrifolia, Prickly Pine Bursaria spinosa and Wonga Wonga Vine Pandorea pandorana to provide height and tangled habit that larger birds cannot get into making it safe for building nests.

How to plant tubestock

Planting guide for participants

The Protective Circle will be a thick planting of spiky plants like Creek Mat-rush Lomandra hystrix  and Saw Sedge Gahnia aspera. This habit will be attractive for lizards and butterflies while restricting access from feral cats and foxes.

The Shrub Circle will include a range of native herbs and vines with different flowering times and different colours to attract a range of insects. Love Flower Pseuderanthemum variable is a small herb with delicate flowers that Eastern Bearded Dragons Physignathus lesueurii like to eat and provides caterpillar food for a number of different butterflies.

The Eating Out planting of native grasses will provide year round food for seed eating birds like the Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis which will duck out of the safety of the Protective Circle to feed.

Thirty-three participants are registered for the National Tree Day planting so we may have a many as fifty at the event. To help us manage the work I have sourced an excellent “How to plant tubestock” guide from SOWN.

Turembold coming to grips with Lantana

By Susan Jones

As usual, Sheamus arrived first with his sleeves rolled up to work.  Next on the job were a team of Griffith University national and international students: Mardol, Mirandha, Tumenbold, Jonny, Emilia and Jaime.  An added bonus was the arrival of Peter a newcomer to Brisbane.

Today’s  volunteers took on the tedious task of removing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and everyone pulled their weight (and weeds) magnificently.

Huge compost pile of weeds - excellent work!

Emilia busied herself collecting and piling up the weeds as they were pulled. The end result was a  huge compost heap that will break down and eventually be spread as mulch.

Preparation of this area is now well underway for the second July ‘National Tree Day’ planting with volunteers from Mt Gravatt State High School.

Thanks to everyone who worked today – it was a great team effort!