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

Gertrude Petty picnic area 8 March, Ann, Sarah, Liz and Mike

………….(l-r) Ann, Sarah, Liz & myself

I was honoured to lead an enthusiastic group of YHA Bushwalkers Queensland – variety YHA Bushies. The Bushies were interested in everything from plants and animals to the geology of the mountain.

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Starting from Gertrude Petty Place we visited two Stingless Native Bee Trigona carbonaria hives then followed the Federation Track to Federation Lookout.

View from Federation lookout, 8 March

…………View from Federation Lookout

The Federation Lookout faces east with views to Mt Petrie, Mt Cotton and Stradbroke Island in the distance.

The track downhill from the Lookout shows the amount of quartz found on the mountain. There were some attempts to find gold but nothing came of it.

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Pink Planthoppers - 8 Mar 2016 low res

…………..Pink Planthopper Colgar sp

The next stage of the Federation Track, from the junction with the Scribbly Gum Track, took us past a number of Scribbly Gums Eucalyptus racemosa. The characteristic scribbles on the bark are created by caterpillars of the tiny Scribbly Gum moth.

We also found a new addition for our fauna species list. This cute Pink Planthopper Colgar sp. stayed still long enough for a photograph.

Galas cleaning nest hollow - 8 Mar 2016

…………..Galahs cleaning nest hollow

Just above use a pair of Galahs Eolophus roseicapillus were cleaning out a nest hollow where a branch has broken off the tree.

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At the top of Federation Track we inspected the small forest bird planting and one of the new interpretative signs. Small Forest Bird sign

Sarah and Liz are members of the West End Greening Group – restoring the habitat at the end of Dauphin Terrace, Highgate Hill. So they were particularly interested in the signs and our methodology for creating the small bird habitat.

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Bitter Bark Petalostigma pubescens 8 Mar 2016 low res

Quinine Bush/Bitter Bark Petalostigma pubescens

A break for tea and chocolate cake. I am told the Bushies consider cake an important resource for any walk in the bush.

We inspected the work eradicating Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus

I also showed them the Wonga Wonga Vine Pandorea pandorana and Quinine Bush/Bitter Bark Petalostigma pubescens.

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Mt Gravatt Walk 8 March (2)

……….Basket Fern Drynaria rigidula

On to the main Fox Gully Bushcare site we talked about the nest boxes and the resident Squirrel Glider family.

The Bushies were very impressed with the way Basket Fern Drynaria rigidula is recovering with the removal of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia.

It was a real pleasure to show the Bushies Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

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.

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.

By: Michael Fox

Alan & Stacy with glider box

Alan & Stacy Franks of Hollow Log Homes visited Fox Gully Bushcare today to install ten new nest boxes to provide breeding habitat.

Up to July 1893 Mt Gravatt and surrounds were designated as a railway timber reserve. Kate Flink, BCC Habitat Brisbane, worked with us to research availability of nest hollows within the Fox Gully site reflects this history with only a

Pardalote

limited number of trees older than 100 years and only a very small number of tree hollows suited for nest sites.

Smaller bird species like Scaly-breasted Lorikeets and Pardalotes are particularly impacted as they are out-competed for the limited nest sites. Nest boxes can be used to help restore the balance in the habitat.

Nest box for Boobook and Barn Owls

BCC Habitat Brisbane have contracted Hollow Log Homes to install nest boxes for Boobook and Barn Owls, Kookaburras, Pardalotes, Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Rainbow Lorikeets/Pale-headed Rosellas as well as boxes for Sugar & Squirrel Gliders.

See one year update – Christmas in Fox Gully

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.