By: Susan Jones

Female Koala at Gertrude Petty Place
Photo by Susan Jones

This afternoon about 4pm we stopped clearing weeds and sat down at Gertrude Petty Place for a cool drink and something to eat.

To my amazement, a female koala jumped to the ground from a sapling gum a few metres away and headed out onto the grass.  I squatted with the camera to take a shot, not realising that the Tallowwood gum I was hiding behind was the koala’s next destination!  It shot up the Tallowwood, only stopping once to look back disdainfully at me.

People sometimes forget that Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve is an enviromental park where visitors share the habitat with koalas, echidnas and many other species.

It is wonderful to see people enjoying the Summit and Federation Outlook tracks, particularly with the increasing sightings of koalas.  However, many people parking at Gertrude Petty Place then go walking dogs off-leash in our conservation reserve.

The presence of this  koala at Gertrude Petty Place today, is a very good reason why we should be encouraging dog owners to keep their animals on-leash in the Reserve.

Your dog wants to play off-leash? Visit Abbeville Street Park.

Advertisements

Showgrounds Precinct - click to enlarge

Mt Gravatt forms an inspiring backdrop for Showground events like last Sunday’s Green Heart Fair and the Showgrounds link our mountain heart with our community in a way unique in Brisbane and possibly the world.

The Mt Gravatt Precinct Landscape Plan aims to build those community links as an integral part of the environmental restoration of this important and diverse Australian bush habitat only 10 kilometres from Brisbane CBD.

Click here to download the plan: Mt Gravatt Showgrounds Precinct Landscape Plan – ver 3.0 email

The plan is based on our vision for the restoration of Mt Gravatt and complements the Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan.

Pollinator Links, a key part of the Landscape Plan, will link Mt Gravatt Reserve with Bulimba Creek via the Showgrounds and Jo’s Creek. Pollinator Links are an innovative approach to creating wildlife corridors through the fragmented urban landscape. These urban ecological corridors will allow pollinators such as Sugarbag Stingless, Leafcutter and Blue-banded bees (all recorded on Mt Gravatt) to move between fragmented habitats.  Birds like Grey Fantails and Golden Whistlers, butterflies like Orchard Swallowtails and Tailed Emperor will also utilise these pathways, thereby returning these species to our backyards.

While the environment is the key focus building and maintaining long-term financial and community commitment requires creation of shared value through identification of business opportunities and community benefits derived from habitat restoration. The Showgrounds – Mountain Link Track is one example of shared value creation – creating easier access to mountain walking tracks and opportunities for “King of the Mountain” type tourism events based at the Showgrounds.

Any feedback or ideas for business or community opportunities? Email Mt Gravatt Environment Group

Walking the Summit Track on Saturday I saw this extraordinary looking growth on the underside a branch high up in a Spotted Gum Corymbia citriodra.

Spotted Gums grow to 45m so this photo was taken at about x60 digital zoom on my Canon SX20. So viewing the photo later it looked like some sort of sculpture made of concrete and hung on a tree 30 or 40 metres in the air.

My excellent network of experts came to my rescue suggesting a wasp nest. Some more research on Google gave me the answer: Yellow Paper Wasp Ropalidia romandi . Links:  Queensland Museum Fact Sheet and Queensland Naturalists Club article.

I have photographed Yellow Paper Wasp for Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve however I did not realise that this tiny wasp: at 6-8mm it is the smallest of our local paper wasps, builds these huge paper nests. Up to 1 metre long these amazing sculptures are made up of multiple paper combs all wrapped in a paper skin.

I found this nest while researching our new self-guided Summit Track tail brochure. If you are walking the Summit track stop at Station 6 and look west-north-west for a large Spotted Gum then follow the trunk up to the branch growing out to the right. The nest looks like a concrete sculpture hanging under the branch.

You can see the Mt Gravatt Summit Track on MapMyWalk

Our new trail guide will be available early August ready for the Environmental & Photography Workshops. The guide will also be available online and copies available at a local BCC Library.

“I get a real feeling of achievement when I find a new bird species on the mountain.” Sue Jones

Golden Whistler - Pachycephala pectoralis

Sue and I walked the Summit Track yesterday morning to prepare the new self-guided trail brochure. Morning is always a great time to see birds on the mountain. We were looking around to spot the Pardalote we could hear calling when we spotted this spectacular yellow, black and white bird.

Fortunately I was able to get one quick photo before he moved, so we were able to identify this as a male Golden Whistler which has not been listed in any of the species lists for Mt Gravatt Reserve. We now have forty-six bird species identified in the Reserve.

Like Sue, I love walking in the Reserve. There is always something new to find in this amazing bit of bushland only ten minutes from the city. As well as the Pardalote and the Golden Whistler, we saw a Grey Fantail and several Firetails. Unfortunately even Sue’s excellent bird imitations could not tempt the Firetails close enough for a photo, however, it did have me looking around until I realised it was Sue calling.

If you would like more information on these birds and their calls, follow the links to Birds in Backyards:

Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis – listen to call

Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus – listen to call

Grey Fantail
Rhipidura fuliginosa listen to call

Firetail or Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis listen to call

Follow Us on Twitter

Thanks to Bill and Alison Semple we have photographic evidence that echidnas are still active on the Mountain.

Alison photographed this prickly character foraging for food last week. Bill and Alison were walking on the mountain when they were made this special find.

Echidnas Tachyglossus aculeatus is one the few ground dwelling mammals found in the Reserve. Commonly called Spiny Anteater, for obvious reasons, dig into ants nests and termite mounds using their long tongue to search out dinner. Like the platypus these fascinating mammals lay eggs like reptiles then nurture their young in a pouch feeding them on mother’s milk. It never ceases to amaze me that we can find special animals like this only ten minutes from Brisbane CBD.

Our BCC Habitat Brisbane team have been active upgrading the Federation Track which goes from Gertrude Petty Place via Federation Lookout onwards to the Summit.

You can also join from easement at 55 Granby Street.

The Track traverses some of the most beautiful  parts of the mountain passing spectacular Scribbly Gums Eucalyptus racemosa: koala food trees.

The characteristic scribble on the bark is created by lava of the Scribbly Gum moth. The moth lays its eggs in the bark. The lava hatches out, mines the bark in a zigzag pattern then emerges to form a grey ridged cocoon under bark at the base of the tree or in leaf litter. “A Guide to Australian Moths” Zborowski & Edwards.

The track crosses gullies populated with Coin-spot Treeferns Cyathea cooperi.

From the Granby Street sign the track climbs through the seam of quartz that bisects the mountain.

Not as pretty as the fern filled gully this part of the track presents excellent opportunities for some creative Ansel Adams style black & white photography: like this gnarled log surrounded by quartz.

Continue on to the Summit for a superb coffee at Echidna Magic.

Hope to meet you on the track soon.

Mike

 

Mt Gravatt Reserve is a unique island of Queensland bushland ten minutes from Brisbane CBD and home to Koalas, Echidnas, twenty seven different types of butterfly and dozens of birds.

The Reserve is Queensland State Governement land held in trust by the Brisbane City Council which in partnership with the community manages recreation, conservaiton of biodiversity, scenic amenity, heritage and social values of the site.

The amazing biodiversity of Mt Gravatt Reserve can be appreciated by considering in 66 hectares 245 native plant species have been identified which is equal to 10% of the total plant diversity in the 32 million hectares of England, Scotland and Wales.

Mount Gravatt Environment Group (MEG) is an umbrella group for four active groups of BCC Habitat Brisbane Bushcare volunteers restoring different parts of this bushland. Restoration activities range from removal of weeds/rubbish and planting of indiginous plant species  to researching and mapping of plant and animal species, community education and consultation with BCC land management teams.

MEG supports bushcare groups restoring:

  • Gertude Petty Place
  • Rover Street
  • Fox Gully
  • Roly Chapman Reserve