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 Foximg272

Aldi have bought back their excellent, and at $129 excellent value, Maginon wildlife cameras. If you want one be quick because they will sell out fast.

We have been using two of an older version of these cameras for a couple of years now with excellent results. This new one is of course better with higher resolution video and sound recording. Sound recording would be great at the moment when we are capturing video of the very shy Noisy Pitta living in Firefly Gully. Marshal can hear its call but our camera does not handle sound.

The only issue we have found with these cameras is the intensity of the infrared leds used for video. I have fixed this with masking tape covering two thirds of the leds to reduce the intensity and make the camera less noticeable to our Squirrel Gliders.

See some samples:

Noisy Pitta – day time in colour

Koala at night

Squirrel Gliders at night

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

Hon. Kate Jones, Minister for Environment and Resource Management joined us today at the Summit of Mt Gravatt to share our vision for restoration of this special part of our community.

L-R Hon. Kate Jones, Helen Schwencke, Michael Fox, Hon. Phil Reeves

Phil Reeves, local member and Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Sport joined myself and butterfly expert Helen Schwencke of Earthling Enterprises, hosted our Environment Minister.

Like most visitors Minister Jones was blown away by the beauty of the mountain which recalled her days of walking the eastern slopes of Mt Cootha as a child.

Our discussion covered everything from public toilets at the Summit, to habitat consolidation and wildlife corridors linking the Reserve with Mimosa Creek Precinct and Roly Chapman Reserve. The Minister asked about Koala sightings: Fox Gully and Rover Street Bushcare sites, also behind houses in Mountain Street. Also discussed were the species diversity with Echidnas and two hundred and fifty-four native plant species, as well as, the need for nest boxes to support Squirrel & Sugar Gliders in a forest with only a small proportion trees over one hundred years old.

The reality of flood recovery priorities means that government funds, for bushland restoration in the Reserve, will be limited in the short-term. However, Mt Gravatt Environment Group is currently revising our five-year Strategic Plan, so it was encouraging and valuable to be able to brief the Minister on our vision and plans for the Mountain habitat. The Minister was particularly impressed with our efforts to build relationships with Griffith University and corporate sponsors like ANZ Bank, which will help with some short-term projects.

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