By: Michael Fox

Koala 2 - Nathan onramp - 3 July 2017

Healthy young male Koala

“Let me know if I can help lobbying for Koala fencing or wildlife bridges. It breaks my heart to see the good work we have been doing undone so quickly.” Matt

I had just collected a healthy young male Koala dead beside the Mains Road on-ramp to the Pacific Motorway. Fox Gully Bushcare neighbour Miranda had emailed to let me know she had seen a Koala beside to road as she drove to work.

Sadly this young Koala was dead when I arrived so all I could do was collect him and call the RSPCA  Animal Ambulance: 1300 ANIMAL

 

Map - Koala - young male hit by car 3 July 2017

Koala dead beside on-ramp

Matt’s frustration reflects the number of Koala that have been killed trying to cross the Motorway from Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Limited wildlife fencing around the Griffith Bus Station and no fence at all on one side of the Mains Road on-ramp (red line) means nothing separates the traffic from the trees on which Koalas are feeding.

At least three joey Koalas were born in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve in 2016 however I think we lost one of those joeys today.

 

I have previously discussed the possibility of wildlife fencing with Griffith researcher, Cathryn Dexter: co-author of the 2013 Koala Retrofit Works Program report for Main Roads. Cathryn explained some of the many issues in designing and maintaining effective Koala fencing. Also considering we have had a Koala killed on Klumpp Road and a number of car strikes on Creek Road, effective Koala protection in our urban environment will require significant commitment to building wildlife crossings to connect fragmented bushland habitats.

Back to Matt’s question about how to help with lobbying. Create and certify your own Pollinator Link® garden: Water, Food and Shelter for wildlife.

One person or one family may not have a lot of influence, however, every individual Pollinator Link® garden registered contributes to achieving our goal of 30,000 Brisbane gardens by 2022.

The support of 30,000 Brisbane households will give us the influence at local and state government levels to push for more wildlife fencing and road crossings.

You can become a Pollinator Link® Hero by getting ten family, friends or neighbours to create Certified Pollinator Link® gardens and help bring a bit of Australian bush back to Brisbane backyard.

Target 30,000 by 2022

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Brush-turkey mound - 27 Dec 2015

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A special Christmas with a Brush-turkey Alectura lathami chick hatched from mound built in the Fox Gully wildlife corridor. The male turkey has been scratching together mulch, and some plants to build a mound to impress his two girlfriends. He obviously did a good job as we now have at least one new chick in the gully.

Brush-turkeys are a challenge for gardeners however they are part of our bush habitat.

(l-r) Len Kann, Michael Fox, Laurie Deacon

(l-r) Len Kann, Michael Fox, Laurie Deacon

By: Michael Fox

I joined our President – Laurie Deacon and Len Kann at Mt Gravatt Bowls Club on Saturday to celebrate Queensland Day and join Ian Walker MP, Cr Krista Adams and other community members acknowledging some of the special volunteers who keep our sports teams operating or provide  support for the most vulnerable people in our community.

Southside Sport & Community Club every year provide generous support for community groups with the Community Grants Scheme. Mt Gravatt Environment Group has received a grant that will allow us to purchase specialised equipment for our bush restoration teams. We now have seven teams restoring bushland sites around the mountain and building a Pollinator Link garden at Mt Gravatt SHS.

Southside’s generous support has already allowed us to purchase a chipper for recycling weed trees and GoPro camera used to monitor nesting boxes installed at Fox Gully Bushcare site.

 

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November 2011

By: Michael Fox

2011 Our first Community Gully Day, two years ago, saw the removal of six cubic metres of rubbish, poisonous Yellow Oleander Thevetia peruviana and Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia, stabilised the banks with logs leaving the ground bare and storm water pipes a visual blight.

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November 2012

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2012 Between Gully Days restoration work continues with regular Tuesday Bushcare events. Mirandha, Griffith University Bushcare Club, feeds Chinese Elm branches into out chipper.

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August 2013

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Coin-spot Treeferns Cyathea cooperi are thriving, bush foods like Native Mulberry Pipturus argenteus will growing and the storm water pipes are disappearing under branches creating ideal habitat for lizards and improving visual amenity.

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Living mulch - 11 Aug 2013

Living Mulch reducing erosion and creating mico-habitat

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2013 8am The team getting to work, Scott, Barry, Carol, Don and Marshal in background, with Matt and myself delivering hollow logs for habitat.

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November 2012

Note the amazing mico-habitat created by the Living Mulch of native grasses – Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima, and self-sown herbs like Native Hawksbeard Youngia japonica.

Even without the tree cover this area was several degrees cooler than the area just a little down the gully.

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Marshal Carol Scott removing weeds - 11 Aug 2013

Clearing weed regrowth

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A huge change from November 2012 when the gully was still bare.

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Madeira Vine tuba - 5 Mar 13

Madeira Vine tuba removed from gully

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8:30am Scott, Carol and Marshal have been busy clearing Mother-in-law’s Tongue Sansevieria trifasciata and Madeira Vine regrowth.

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Matt and I install habitat log

Matt Russ Shawn placing logs 2 - 11 Aug 2013

Matt, Russ and Shawn positioning logs

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Eradicating Madeira Vine in the gully is a long term project. The most effective removal approach for this fast growing invasive weed is simply digging out and immediately bagging the tubers. Madeira produced hundreds of tubers along the vine. Those tubers are viable for a long time and sprout like potatoes when they land in a suitable environment. The size of these tubers mean that using poison is often not an effective particularly in a vulnerable water course.

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9am Matt and I install one of the hollow logs donated by Scott at Tree Bracers (eco-friendly) Tree Removal Specialists.  Scott contacted me asking if we could use the logs as he did not want to simply chip this valuable habitat resource. Roger Medland and I collected the logs in Rogers ute.

Marshal splitting logs - 16 Jul 2013

Marshal splitting logs for stablising banks

Hollow logs are valuable habitat for wildlife and installing these logs will provide Possums and Gliders safe escape from Foxes and cats.

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9:30am Matt, Russ and Shawn are positioning logs on the bank further down the gully. Logs reduce erosion, allow mulch and leaves to collect retaining water and keeping weeds down. Restoration work is also much faster and safer as the logs create a working platform for removing weeds and planting grasses, vines and trees.

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The logs were recycled from a tree removed after the January storms. Dale from Climb n Grind returned to safely remove the tree leaving the trunk cut to useful lengths. Marshal and I then used a chainsaw and steel wedges to split the logs into manageable quarters ready for the Gully Day.

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Len Kann with Stingless Bee hive

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10:30am Time for a break. Genevieve has organised a sausage sizzle, coffee, tea, cake and fruit … mmmm.

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Teddy Bear and Blue Banded native bees

While we eat, native bee expert and Mt Gravatt Environment Group member, Len Kann shares his passion for this fascinating wildlife we can bring to our backyards to pollinate our Queensland Nut trees and vegetables.

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Stingless bee hive (low) - 11 Aug 2013

Inside the hive – Stingless Bees

Len explained that there are over 2,000 native bee species in Australia with many providing farmers with unique pollination services not provided by European Honey bees.

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Rebecca planting

Len has put together a bee presentation box using one of his own empty hive boxes, specimen boxes with Blue Banded and Teddy Bear bees that we have collected in the Reserve, and excellent macro photos taken by member Alan Moore.

Len has generously provided one of his Stingless Bee hives on secondment in the gully and for his talk he bought along a hive he could open to let us see inside. For an ex-beekeeper like me it was fascinating to see the very different structure for storing honey and pollen, and, yes, it is nice not to collect the dozen of stings I received when robbing my European bee hives.

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11am Rebecca is back to work planting the bank behind her property.

I am proud to live in a community that can come together on a long term project like this. Currently the owners of twenty properties are committed to restoration of their backyards as a wildlife corridor down Fox Gully and importantly work together to eradicate Madeira Vine.

We had twenty people participate in the 2013 Community Gully Day including people like Marshal and Carol who live beside Firefly Gully, Nancy who has propagated most of the Lomandras in the gully and Len who shared his passion for native bees.

Three hundred grasses, herbs, vines, shrubs and trees have been planted this year. Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN) generously gifted $400 worth of plants with other plants and resources purchased with over $200 in tax deductible donations from neighbours.

By: Mike Fox

Neighbours pitch in to clear up

A 20 metre Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis creates a lot of green waste to be chipped and cleared from the gully. Neighbours Rebecca, Didier, Don and Clair pitched in to clear up the huge pile of branches.

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Miranda, Griffith Uni Environment Law student

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A big clean-up needs a big chipper. Miranda loved using our Greenfield’s 8.5hp Piecemaker that virtually sucks the branches into the blades for chipping. Thanks to Southside Sport & Recreation Club who provided the grant for purchasing the chipper.

The Piecemaker is proving its value saving over $2,000 on the cost of removing the Chinese Elm, a benefit for our whole community, in particular restoration of Mt Gravatt Environmental Reserve.

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Miranda, Annette and Marshal hard at work

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The clean up is well on the way with Marshal and Annette (property owner) in background preparing branches for chipping and Miranda operating the machine.
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Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae

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Even the local wildlife is joining in the clean up. This Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae is hunting for worms and spiders among the leaf litter. The Kookaburras are really enjoying the restoration work as more worms, insects and spiders are thriving among the planting, mulching and logs.

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Northern Jumping Spider Mopsus mormon

It is inspiring to find the variety of wildlife returning to the gully. This beautiful Northern (Green) Jumping Spider Mopsus mormonwas hunting for flies, moths or grasshoppers for lunch. Creating habitat for wildlife means we have natural pest control and over time we will hopefully tempt some of the beautiful insectivorous birds out the forest. Birds like the Striated Pardalots Pardalotus striatus and the beautiful Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsiss not only add sound and beauty to our backyards, they also hunt insects like mosquitos on our behalf.

Striped Marsh Frog eggs

Another amazing find was these eggs of the Striped Marshfrog Limnodyynastes peroni in one of semi-permanent rock pools created by the return of the permanent spring.

Striped Marsh Frogs are a native ground dwelling frog with a distinctive “toc …. toc …. toc” call. To listen scroll to Calling on the Frogs of Australia web page and click “Hear it now.”

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Red Cedar

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With the Chinese Elm down and the chipping finished we can now plant nine advanced Red Cedars donated by Dave and Liz, Roly Chapman Bushcare. Red Cedars (common name for a number of Toona species) are an attractive fast growing native that will help restore the gully habitat and privacy for the neighbours.

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Arrowleaf Violet

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The planting done on the Community Gully Day in August is now starting to create a presence in the gully.

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Arrowleaf Violet in seed

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Particularly pleasing was finding that the Arrowleaf Violet Viola betonicifolia has set seed. This pretty violet is the only caterpillar food plant for the endangered Laced Fritillary butterfly Argyreus hyperbius inconstans. Now that this Violet has set seed it will spread quickly in the gully.

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Splendid Ochre Trapezites simmomus

The Love Flower Pseuderanthemum variabile, caterpillar food for Australian Leafwing butterfly Doleschallia bisaltide, Waxflower Vine Hoya australis and Coinspot Treeferns Cyathea cooperi are all growing. The Creek Mat-rush Lomandra hystrix are thriving even with the dry weather. These Lomandara are caterpillar food for the Splendid Ochre Trapezites simmomus and Brown Ochre Trapezites iacchus butterflies as well as providing valuable erosion control in the gully.

Clean up complete in time for storms

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Finally finished clearing the branches, raking the loose leaves and putting logs in place ready for the storms expected over the weekend.

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Hollow log habitat for lizards and frogs

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Final touches … hollow logs will create safe habitat for lizards and frogs.

Click to view presentation

By: Michael Fox

The Pollinator Link concept was well received at the BCC Habitat Brisbane Citywide Meeting this week. This was an important test of feasibility as the audience included experienced BCC Habitat Offices with university qualifications in environmental science, Robert “Bob the Beeman” Luttrel and bushcare members who know the

on-ground reality of restoring our urban bushland habitats.

Backyards, parks and even unit block balconies represent habitat opportunities for our native flora and fauna. Examples include Garden for Wildlife Alice Springs, The Wildlife Trusts in UK and the National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife in USA.

The Pollinator Link concept takes this a step further to focus on linking patches of bushland habitat in our urban environment.

Pollinator Link – Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve to Bulimba Creek

I developed the concept when I was struggling with the issue of creating a wildlife corridor linking Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve with Bulimba Creek via Mt Gravatt Showgrounds. The on ground reality is that any effective link through the Showgrounds would hit a wall of houses and backyards. Being able to fly, our pollinators’ – birds, butterflies and bees plus moths, insects, flying foxes, micr0-bats, capacity to cross man-made barriers like roads and fences means they have potential to make an important contribution to ecological biodiversity. My inspiration for the Pollinator Link model came from the Pollinator Pathway in Seattle and the High Line in New York.

Patch-matrix-corridor mosaic – Wellers Hill

As I researched the concept and looked for examples of potential Pollinator Link locations I realised that in some areas like Wellers Hill where there are a number of isolated patches of bushland we could go beyond linking and actually consolidate habitat within urban spaces with a little a 10% of properties engaged. Pollinator Links have potential to create urban pollinator “patch-matrix-corridor mosaic”* habitat by interconnecting patches of bushland with wildlife friendly backyards. (* Habitat Fragmentation and Landscape Change Lindenmayer & Fischer (2006))

The Pollinator Link concept passed the feasibility test now we move to implementation stage:

How would you like to be involved?

  • Identify sites to be linked.
  • Join the 2013 Pollinator Link Week

Landscape Plan

By Michael Fox

Sue Jones and I joined Mt Gravatt Girl Guides for World Environment Day last Tuesday night, to plant our first Pollinator Link garden. (Pollinator Link is a trademark of Mt Gravatt Environment Group)

Planting Team in action

Guide Leader, Lizi Dyrsdale, approached us at the 2 Millionth Tree planting in February with the idea of partnering in an environmental project. The project has become a real community effort with a grant from the Lord Mayor’s Suburban Initiative Fund supported by Cr

Watering Team

Krista Adams, raised gardens beds designed and constructed by Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed, Western Landscape Supplies providing a discount on garden soil and mature Grass Trees Xanthorrhoea johnsonii contributed by Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) (relocated from road development site with DERM approval).

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Sue (left) and the team planting butterfly vines

On Tuesday night a team of Girl Guides, parents and friends planted, watered, dug out weeds and removed rubbish.

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Sue Jones worked with one team planting butterfly vines – Running Postman Kennedia rubicunda – caterpillar food plant for Long-tailed Pea-blue, and Waxflower Vine Hoya australis – caterpillar food for Common Crow butterflies.

The Team … dirty gloves and all



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We finished the night with a proud and happy team.

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Oval Woodland Cockroach

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The local wildlife also appreciated our efforts. Our Australian bushland cockroaches are not the home invaders we commonly see. Species like this Oval  Woodland Cockroach live in leaf litter and do a valuable composting job.

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Ringtail Possum

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And a final inspection by this handsome Ringtail Possum.

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Pollinator Link plants were sourced from B4C Native Plant Nursery at Carindale.