Koala - Fox Gully - 8 March 2014 - 7-01am

Koala with brown pelt? That is different.

By: Michael Fox

Saturday morning I was preparing to lead a guided walk for students from Griffith University and QIBT when my wife, Jude, calls to tell me there is a Koala in the tree behind our house. This is exciting because I can always find a tree with scratches to show people but if I can lead these students to a Koala in the wild right beside their university campus, that will be something special.

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Griffith and QIBT student explorers

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Rainbow Lorikeets

Laurie Deacon and I are joined by ten enthusiastic participants from all over the world – Europe, China, Japan, as well as country Victoria, all keen to explore Mt Gravatt walking tracks.

Acacia Way from Mt Gravatt Campus leads along the ridge that acts as the watershed between Ekibin/Norman Creek catchment and Mimosa/Bulimba Creek catchment passing a tree with a nest hollow being used by a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus.

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Koala Phascolarctos cinereus

I was able to introduce our visitors to bush food – Native Raspberry Rubus moluccanus, unfortunately not in fruit at the moment, and Settlers Flax Gymnostachys anceps with tough fibers used by aborigines to make fishing lines.

Joining the Geebung Track we continued onto the Fox Gully Bushcare site where I explained the nestbox project that is providing breeding habitat for Squirrel Gliders Petaurus norfolcensis and Kookaburras Dacelo novaeguineae.

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Mountain explorers powering up the hill

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Our friendly Koala has moved high up into the branches, however, it was still a special opportunity to show visitors one of these amazing animals in the wild, not in a zoo, just 15 minutes from the city and right beside their campus.

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Re-energised our team powered on to Mt Gravatt Lookout for a break before returning to campus.

I was particularly pleased to photograph a Spangled Drongo on the way back. We had the Spangled Drongo on our species list but no photograph.

QIBT and Griffith students are invited to join us in our bush restoration work.See Griffith Mates for events. 

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Mt Gravatt Lookout

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Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus

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.

Cr Krista Adams presenting Grant cheque

By: Michael Fox

An outstanding morning tea served in the Carson Room, Mt Gravatt Bowls Club, and politicians handing out grant cheques, no wonder everyone had a smile on their face. I can definitely recommend the morning tea if you are looking for a venue.

As part of their community focus Southside Sport & Community Club gives about $500,000 in grants each year. On behalf of Mt Gravatt Environment Group I received a grant cheque from Cr Krista Adams. The grant will be used to purchase specialised digital camera, iPad and nine metre aluminum pole to allow us to monitor nest boxes installed in wildlife corridors.

Pale-headed Rosella inspecting new Men’s Shed nest box

The nest boxes are made to our specifications by Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed and installed 6 to 8 metres in trees so checking to see who is occupying a box is a challenge. Monitoring is important to ensure they have not been occupied by feral species such as Indian Myna Acridotheres tristis and also provide research data on species restoration and movement through wildlife corridors.

Sharing our table were other grant recipients Wayne & Jennifer on behalf of Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C), Maree – Xavier Children’s Support Network and Hanna – Mt Gravatt West C&K Childcare Centre.

By Melindi Robertson

Mt Gravatt Kindergarten is collecting specially marked Pauls Collecta Caps from milk bottle containers (2 litre and above) for a fund raising project to provide new homes for gliders.

As the land next door to the kindergarten was cleared for the new unit development on Shire Rd (going up to the Mt Gravatt Lookout); Brushtail Possums Trichosurus vulpecula, birds and possibly gliders lost their trees and therefore hollows for nesting in, and we found dead possum joeys in the playground most likely as a result of territorial disputes as their habitat suddenly shrank.

We have been collecting the milk caps since last year, to purchase and install nesting Boxes from Hollow Log Homes.  Kindergarten families are donating their caps, but if anyone else from the  local community would like to donate theirs to our association, we would be very grateful.

The entrance to the kindergarten is next to 23 Gosford St, Mt Gravatt.

With thanks from Melindi Robertson & Sue Lewin (CoDirectors)

Editor’s Note:

Melindi told me about the fund raising project when I joined a nestbox monitoring trip organised by Queensland Glider Network

Mt Gravatt Kindergarten is a valued Mountain neighbour sharing a boundary with our Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare site.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group is proud to promote this fundraising initiative which aims to restore vital nest hollows for wildlife. Most trees of Mt Gravatt Reserve are relatively young having suffered from farming and tree felling. Nest hollows typically start forming once trees are 100 years old so there is s critical shortage of hollows within the habitat.

Thanks to cartoonist and naturalist Edd Cross for the glider drawing.

Michael Fox

Mt Gravatt Environment Group partnered with Bulimba Creek Catchment Co-ordinating Committee (B4C) to engage Griffith University students at the Green Market.

Our aim is to engage students in active participation with our restoration work. Griffith Uni has a large proportion of international students and our restoration activities represent a unique opportunity for these students to experience the real Australian bush. Interestingly our display at the OWeek Markets in February drew as much or more interest from business and engineeing students as it did from environment students. One approach we are trying is to promote bushcare  as recreaction, much like going on a picnic.

Our links with Griffith University start with Mimosa Creek which has its headwaters in the university grounds and forms a key wildlife corridor linking the Mountain with Toohey Forest and Bulimba Creek.

Daryl, Hannah and I shared the display last Tuesday, handing out information on bushcare events and maps showing how to find Fox Gully Bushcare site.

The new Summit Track self-guided walk brochure was very popular: take the inter-campus bus to Mt Gravatt Campus and go walking.

The prototype nest box made by the Men’s Shed also attracted interest. The Men’s Shed is working with us to develop nest boxes we can install in the wildlife corridors where there are a very limited number of suitable nest hollows left for gliders, Lorrikeets, owls and Kookaburras.