By: Michael Fox

Thanks to our local Southern Star team for the great coverage of our 2015 National Tree Day.

Are you in the news?

Southern Star

By: Michael Fox

Koala and Joey - Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Koala and Joey – Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Just this week the Southern Star reported that Koalas are fighting back and printed our map of sightings in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Then on Friday night Matt Hill heard a scratching noise in the trees behind his deck. Thinking it was probably a possum he investigated with with torch picking up the glint of four eyes in the trees. He was delighted to find a Koala mum with her Joey comfortably nestled in her arms while she munched on leaves.

Koala sightings Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Koala sightings Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Matt and his family have been active supporters of our Fox Gully Bushcare restoration work and has been controlling weed trees, like Camphor Laurel, on his gully property. So, in December, he was proud to show me what looked like Koala scratches on a tree restored to the habitat only five years ago. This was an exciting find and now with this weeks photos we have confirmation that Koalas are not only active in the wildlife corridor but also breeding successfully. We also received another report this week of a Koala sighted high in a tree beside the footpath to the Griffith University Bus Station.

Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus pereginus

Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus pereginus

Restoration of this key wildlife corridor is now supported by seventeen property owners whose backyards include the gully and community members committed to restoring habitat for Koalas, birds, butterflies, frogs and native bees.

Restoration of the of the wildlife corridor is having a positive effect as shown by the number of Koala sighting as well as increasing other wildlife. At the top end of the gully, Roger and Margaret have a family of Ringtail Possums Pseudocheirus pereginus living in the top of staghorn ferns. Just before Christmas a mother with two babies on her back was sighted and Friday Margaret called to say the father had been disturbed from his staghorn nest when Roger was hosing.

Note his spiky hair and spiky attitude as he cleans water off his coat.

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Common Ringtail Possum – not that common

Please be patient with these cute creatures if they eat some of your fruit. During the 1950’s Common Ringtail Possum populations severely declined in numbers. Currently populations seem to have recovered but they are at risk of attack by cats loose at night.

Unlike Brushtail Possums Trichosurus vulpecula, Ringtails tend to avoid house ceilings, preferring to nest in trees or the tops of staghorns, so they are not considered pests in suburban areas.
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Reference: Animal Diversity Web (ADW) is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology at the University of Michigan

By: Michael Fox

Southern Star - January 16, 2013

Southern Star – January 16, 2013

We host international students at times and today we received a note from the Japanese student who will be living with us during February. One thing she was very clear about: “I want to see a Koala.” With latest sighting, reported this week, of a Koala in a tree beside the footpath leading to Griffith University Bus Station there is an increasing chance that she will see a Koala on the way to university.

It really is fun to watch international students/visitors when they see a Koala just sitting (usually sleeping) in a tree or an Echidna walking across the track … and not a zoo keeper in sight. The most amazing experience though was watching Jian, an international student from Shanghai, when he came face to face with a Koala right on our back deck.

Southern Star - January 16, 2013

Southern Star – January 16, 2013

You can get involved with bush restoration,  reporting any Koala sightings on Koala Tracker or simply slowing down and reporting sick or injured wildlife to 1300 ANIMAL 24/7.

The Southern Star interview with Adrian Schrinner and Natalie Forrest is very valuable in building community awareness. However, it is not only out at Gumdale and Chandler that we need to be increasing careful if we want to have Koalas living in our backyards. We have had one Koala killed on Klumpp Road and another rescued on Creek Road after a car strike.

Read Harry Brampton’s Southern Star story online or forward the link to your overseas friends.

By: Michael Fox

As reported in last week’s Southern Star, positive action by Brisbane City Council teams has reduced or stopped illegal downhill mountain biking in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

I inspected the tracks on over the last two Sundays and I could not see any

Southern Star – Letters – 22 August 12

evidence of bike activity.  Walking from the top with the Council Ranger we noted that the track is now covered with mulch and log barriers were in place.

When I checked the tracks from the bottom the biker bridge has been removed and I could not see any signs of recent bike activity.

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Barrier sawn-off beside No Bike sign

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However, I did find further evidence of past vandalism. A barrier had been neatly sawn-off and torn away from the post to allow bikes to exit to the road right near Gertrude Petty Place. This had been done so neatly that I walked past this before without noticing. It was only when I found the sawn section thrown into the grass that I realised what had been done.

Sawn-off and torn away to allow bike access

The barrier has sawn-off some time ago and this has been a well used mountain bike track coming out right beside a Council sign showing that mounting biking is illegal.

Council officers will repair the barrier to help ongoing management of this vandalism.

Report illegal mountain biking to the BCC Call Centre – 07 3403 8888

By: Michael Fox

Our community speaks out against destructive mountain biking on Mt Gravatt:

Southern Star – 1 August 2012

Local Councilor Krista Adams has reconfirmed the Council’s long standing commitment to keeping Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve free of mountain bike riding.

Letter of support – Whites Hill-Pine Mountain Community Group Inc.

BCC Local Area Services are providing strong on ground action – closing illegal tracks, mulching damaged areas and increasing their presence in the Reserve to catch riders still ignoring our community’s laws. Riders, who apparently could not see multiple signs saying “No Motor Bikes No Mountain Bikes”, have now been told very clearly that off road riding is illegal and subject to $500 fines.

We have also received emails and letters of support by community members and groups heartened by our action and the support we have received from Council.

We are proud of our community

Track exit beside No Mountain Bikes sign

and appreciate the recognition of our work however we know from past experience that illegal mountain bikers will be back fast if we, as a community, don’t stay alert.

As recently as Wednesday last week, National Tree Day, I found fresh bike tracks on in the area just down hill of the water reservoir. I was walking those tracks to document the erosion and tree root damage caused by mountain bikes.

New mountain bike bridge

These were not just tracks cleared through the bush, I even found a what looked like a fairly new timber bridge.

Mountain bike activity in that area has caused erosion up to half a metre deep in places and extensive root damage to mature Koala food trees.

What action can you take?

Illegal mountain biking can be reported to the BCC Call Centre 24/7 on 07 3403 8888

Please be careful about approaching riders by yourself. These riders are already acting illegally and we have had a number of reports recently of community members being subjected to aggressive and violent verbal abuse.

Track erosion

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Roots damaged and under mined by erosion

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Congratulations to Sue Jones who organised Sunday’s Clean Up Australia Day in Mt Gravatt Reserve.

Left to Right - Sandra, Jian, Nancy and Sue

The team arrived early to prepare for sign-on and safety briefing.

Clean Up results were excellent:

  • 31 volunteers
  • 35 bags of rubbish (white)
  • 20 bags of recyclables (yellow)
  • Most unusual item found:
    • a full suitcase of clothing!

Michael from BCC Local Area Services also provided excellent support: ferrying ute loads of filled bags back to the Summit. I was little surprised to see an office chair go up on one load. Dumping of rubbish and garden waste is still one of the three big threats to Mt Gravatt Reserve. However, there was general agreement that the new gate at the Shire Road entry has made a big improvement. On Sunday we had a skip provided thanks to Clean Up sponsor Veolia.

The MEG Summit Clean Up was certainly the place to be on Sunday morning. Cr Krista Adams and Ian Walker the new LNP candidate for Mansfield Ward, and Ian’s wife Heather all joined the clean up. An official Clean Up Australia team to see the clean up on one of Brisbane’s iconic sites and the Southern Star was there: so be sure to read this week’s paper.

We had representatives from China and USA joining in to help Clean Up Australia along with members of a walking group, who love the Reserve.

At the end it was a real pleasure to be able to sit in the sun sharing a coffee from the Echidna Magic Kiosk.